When doing so, you can choose to file under one of three different applications:
- TEAS Plus
- TEAS Reduced Fee (RF)
- TEAS Regular
While historically you could also choose to file these applications through the mail, this is no longer the case.
For this reason (and others we’ll outline below), the TEAS Plus is often the recommended choice for first-time applicants.
What’s the Difference Between the Forms?
Put simply, the TEAS Plus form has stricter requirements for filing when compared to the other two forms.
As a tradeoff, this form is also the cheapest and most streamlined solution for filing a new trademark.
However, to quickly summarize each form:
- TEAS Plus ($225 per trademark class) – The Plus form is the least expensive form by far, but also carries several additional requirements for filing. Notably, you’ll have to accurately select your goods/services listing, communicate exclusively through your email and the online TEAS system, and provide additional information on your application form.
- TEAS Reduced Fee ($275 per trademark class) – The RF form is a cheaper version of the Regular form. You should only use this form if (1) you are willing to communicate exclusively through your email and the online TEAS system, BUT (2) you don’t want to (or can’t) select your goods/services listing, or you don’t have the information needed to complete the required fields in the Plus form.
- TEAS Regular ($400 per trademark class) – You should only use the Regular form if (1) you are not willing to communicate via email with the USPTO about your application, and don’t want to file online, (2) the ID Manual does not contain an accurate listing for your good or service, OR (3) you do not have the information needed to complete the required fields in the Plus form.
With the October 5th change noted above, the TEAS Regular form is now even more redundant than it was before this change.
You should only use the Regular form in very specific circumstances which fall outside the boundaries of the other two forms.
TEAS Plus vs. TEAS RF: Which Should I Use?
The answer to this question is actually pretty simple:
When deciding which form to use, you should default to the TEAS Plus form. Then, if you fail to meet one of the requirements for this form, you should choose the TEAS RF. If for some reason you are not eligible for that form, you should speak with a trademark attorney.
We’ll provide a bit more information below, but this is the gist of the situation.
What are the benefits of the TEAS Plus application?
The TEAS Plus application is preferred by most trademark applicants, trademark attorneys, and the USPTO itself.
Put another way, you’ll have to provide more information up front, but your overall process will be much quicker, cheaper, and easier.
What about the TEAS RF application?
While the Plus form is the preferred application, there are also a few benefits to the RF application.
Specifically, for a $50 higher filing fee, you can gain the following benefits:
- You don’t have to select your goods/services listing from the Trademark Identification Manual. This means you can simply submit a description of your product or service to the USPTO, who will then place you in the appropriate classification(s). This can help you have a more accurate listing if you sell a unique product or service. However, for normal products, the benefits from this fact are minimal.
- You don’t have to file additional statements alongside your application. However, this is often a double-edged sword. Many of these statements apply to cases where the USPTO will request the information anyway. For this reason, the USPTO may still send you an Office Action with a request for additional information.
For these reasons, filing a Plus application is still the recommended method in ~95% of cases.
The federal trademark application and registration process may seem complicated, but this is mostly because the USPTO has to account for the wide variety of possible trademarks.
When it’s possible to trademark motions, sounds, and even colors, the Trademark office has to provide several different ways for applicants to register their trademarks effectively.
For this reason, if you’re looking to file a basic, vanilla trademark, the TEAS Plus application is probably the right choice in your situation.
However, you should always check the materials on the USPTO website (and maybe even speak with an attorney) before making any final decisions in your case.
If you have a more complex trademark matter, or if your mark doesn’t fit nicely in the requirements for the Plus application listed on the USPTO website, you should speak with an attorney about your options.