How Much Does a Trademark Cost?
For U.S. trademarks, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the place to go to register your trademark or service mark and protect it from being used by someone else. Figuring out the costs can be a little overwhelming, so here are the basics.
Costs Before You Apply for a Trademark
Your first cost for a trademark application is for doing a thorough search of other trademarks that have been applied for and registered. You can do the search at no cost by using the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).
You might also want to hire an attorney to do the search for you, to make sure you aren’t missing a mark that might be too close to yours. This cost varies on whether you want to search internationally or locally, and it can be upto several thousand dollars.
Trademark Applications - Classes of Goods and Services
The first variable in trademark costs is the number of objects or types of services you want to trademark. You must file a separate trademark application for every class. A class is a type of product or service where your trademark appears. For example, if you have your trademark on t-shirts, mugs, and pens, you must file three trademark applications.
All the trademark application costs in this article are per class of product or service. Remember to figure your costs based on the number of classes. Here’s a list of current classes.
Three Levels of Trademark Application Costs
The USPTO has three levels of costs for trademark applications: TEAS Regular, TEAS Plus, and TEAS RF.
The regular TEAS application is the “basic” application. The cost of an initial application is $400. You only need to submit minimum information, and submitting a complete application will speed up processing time.
TEAS Reduced Fee (RF) is a moderate option. You don’t have to file a complete initial application, and you must agree to communicate electronically. The cost of an initial application is $275.
TEAS Plus is the least expensive and streamlined application. You must file a complete application, pay all filing fees at the time of filing, agree to file certain documents electronically, and receive all communications via email. Another benefit to the TEAS Plus application is faster service. The cost of an initial application is $225.
This article from the USPTO explains the details of the requirements for the three types of applications.
Save by Filing Electronically
For the various trademark filings, for the initial application and continuing reports, the best and least expensive method is to use the USPTO Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). You can use the TEAS system for all filings and payments. Once you file your initial application, you are registered in the TEAS system, and you can use it for other documents and fee payments.
Additional Trademark Application Costs
Drawing Costs. You must submit a “clear drawing” of the mark (the logo or name/logo combination) that meets specific requirements. A trademark design might cost anywhere from $500 to several thousand dollars.
International Trademark Registration. Since many trademarks are on the internet, it’s difficult to just register in the U.S. You can register your trademark internationally through a separate application to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), through the U.S. trademark office. The cost for an initial Madrid Protocol application, per class, is $100 if filed electronically and $200 if paper-filed.
Statement of Use Fee. If you file your trademark application before using it, you need to file a declaration later when you begin using it. The cost of filing this declaration is $100 electronically or $200 by paper.
If you use a trademark or service mark before it’s registered, you’ll need to use the ™ or ℠ designations. When your registration has been approved, you can use the ® designation.
Continuing Cost of Maintaining a Trademark
Trademarks can’t just be “set it and forget it.” To continue your trademark protection, you must maintain it and report your maintenance activities. The USPTO calls this process “keeping your trademark alive.” There is a cost to these reports, and a separate filing must be made for every class of goods or services in the registration.
Required deadlines for filing trademark maintenance documents
Between the 5th and 6th year after registration You must file a Section 8 declaration between the 5th and 6th year after registration. This document is your sworn statement that you are using the trademark, with an example of how it’s being used. The filing fee is $125 for filing electronically using the TEAS system, or $225 if filed on paper.
Every ten years after registration You must file a Combined Section 8 and 9 declaration. The Section 8 declaration is the same as above, with an application for renewal (Section 9). The filing fee is $425 if you file electronically using the TEAS system, or $725 if you file on paper.
If you want even more protection for your trademark over time, you can file a Declaration of Incontestibility Your filing of this declaration keeps others from challenging your use of the mark or to argue that the mark should not have been registered. There are some restrictions and requirements for using this filing. The filing fee is $200 if you file electronically using TEAC or $300 if you file on paper.
Costs of Using a Trademark Attorney
The trademark process can be tricky, and a trademark can be rejected for a variety of reasons. If you are really serious about getting your logo or business name trademarked, you should consider paying for an attorney to work through the process. According to UpCounsel, a flat fee for a trademark attorney might range from $300 to $1000 per application.
These are just the basic costs for trademark applications. There are other costs for expedited service, renewal, late fees, and others. Here’s a complete list of USPTO trademark fees.