At face value, trademarks aren’t prohibitively expensive.
The real cost of a trademark often comes from the elements surrounding the registration itself, such as attorney fees, trademark search report costs, and potential infringement lawsuits should something go wrong in the application process.
In general, you should expect to pay somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000 for a basic vanilla trademark (attorney fees included).
This cost will rise if you are applying for multiple trademark classes.
In this article, we’ll broadly explore the common costs associated with federal trademark registration.
What is a Federal Trademark?
A federal trademark is a brand name, symbol, logo, or phrase that identifies and distinguishes a specific service, product, or company from its competition.
Registering your marketing materials as trademarks can protect your brand from infringement, while also granting you preference in infringement lawsuits.
However, as with all business matters, you should carefully consider the costs and benefits of registering a trademark before you submit your application.
Should you hire an attorney? Which application should you use? How many trademark classes should you register under?
The answers to each of these questions can vary based on a number of factors.
However, all include several costs and fees that you should look out for.
What costs can I expect?
The costs surrounding trademark registration can generally be broken down into three areas:
We’ll outline each in more detail below.
However, bear in mind that the exact costs of your specific registration will vary on a case-by-case basis.
This article merely lists the general costs you should expect during the process.
USPTO Trademark Processing Fees
When you file your trademark application with the USPTO, you’ll have to pay several specific fees depending on the nature of your case.
For this reason, we highly recommend that you browse through the USPTO’s materials on trademark registration fees.
In general, however, these processing fees can be broken down into the initial trademark application costs and other associated fees.
Initial Trademark Application Costs
The USPTO offers three separate application forms for individuals seeking trademark registration:
- TEAS Plus – $225 per trademark class
- TEAS Reduced Fee (“TEAS RF”) – $275 per trademark class
- TEAS Regular – $400 per trademark class
However, most filers choose the TEAS Plus application for its low cost and ease-of-use (despite the stricter filing requirements).
When calculating the cost of your trademark application, you should multiply the above-referenced application fee by the number of classes you’re filing under.
For example, if I wanted to register my mark under Class 18 (leather goods) and Class 25 (clothing), and I wanted to use the TEAS Plus form, my total initial cost would be $225 (Class 18) + $225 (Class 25) = $225 x 2 trademark classes = $450.
Statement of Use
When you file your trademark application, you’ll have to include various materials which prove that you’re using your mark “in commerce.”
This is referred to as a “statement of use.”
If you file these materials at the same time as your initial trademark application, you don’t have to pay an additional fee.
However, if you are instead filing under an “intent to use” application, you’ll have to pay a fee of $125.
Requesting an Extension
If you need to request an extension on your statement of use or amendment to allege use, you’ll have to pay an additional charge of $125 per trademark class.
If the USPTO decides that you’ve abandoned your trademark at any point during this process, you’ll have to pay an additional fee of $100 to re-open your application.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney?
Given that you can complete the entire trademark application process online, you may be wondering if you need to consult an attorney in the first place.
To be perfectly clear, you don’t have to hire an attorney during the trademark application process.
It’s simply recommended for most filers due to the many costs, risks, and laws involved in the process.
Credible trademark attorneys can provide additional value through trademark search reports and compliance with trademark best practices.
They can also provide additional services should another business infringe on your mark in the future.
In fact, one of the most important reasons to hire an attorney when you file is to help you avoid trademark opposition proceedings, or any potential claim of trademark infringement.
Typically, federal trademark registration costs are cheaper if you hire an attorney at the beginning of the process, rather than in the middle when a problem arises.
However, technically savvy business owners with experience in dealing with government bureaucracy can certainly still file on their own.
The Trademark Search Report
As noted above, one of the main benefits to hiring a trademark attorney is that you will (usually) receive a thorough trademark search report for your mark.
Fixing a Rejected Trademark
Fixing an already problematic trademark is both expensive and complicated.
Your only options will be extremely pricey, since you’ll either:
- Have to abandon your original mark altogether and refile from scratch, thus losing all the money and progress you’ve already put into it; OR
- Pay the hourly fee for an attorney to fix the problem, which can get expensive quickly.
Hiring a trademark attorney and doing a good job when you first register can help you avoid these extra costs.
So, how much will an attorney cost?
Trademark attorney fees can vary widely, but you should expect to pay anywhere from $700 to $1000 for the entire application process.
This cost will usually include the trademark search report, the TEAS plus fee, and any relevant attorney fee.
Other Costs and Fees to Look Out For
You should also take certain post-registration fees into account when calculating your trademark’s total cost.
Maintenance and Trademark Renewal
If you do not do so in a timely manner, you could face fines and, ultimately, the cancellation of your mark.
Filing a Section 8 declaration, also called a “Declaration/Affidavit of Use,” after five years of registration is mandatory.
This Section 8 declaration has a filing fee of $125, plus an additional fee of $100 per added class of goods or services.
Similarly, you’ll have to file a joint Section 15 application to renew your trademark after nine years of federal registration.
You can bundle this application with a Section 9 Declaration of Incontestability for a total fee of $325, plus $200 per additional trademark class.
Filing an international application under the Madrid Protocol has some additional costs.
These costs are often country-specific, so it can be hard to pin down an exact cost here.
However, you can use the WIPO registration fee calculator to estimate your expected cost.
Filing a basic, vanilla trademark without an attorney doesn’t cost a lot of money.
In fact, the actual processing fees only cost a few hundred dollars.
However, the trademark registration process comes with many hidden pitfalls that can raise the cost of your total application.
For this reason, it is highly recommended that you budget a little higher to do things correctly on your first try.
Often, this means hiring a trademark attorney to do the legwork for you.
Filing for a trademark with the help of an attorney may raise the cost, however, the increase in security and thoroughness will often lower the overall cost in the long run.
Regardless, as mentioned above, you should try to budget somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000 for a basic vanilla trademark that meets the needs of your business, while also setting your business up for success in the future.