In this blog, we will discuss how much does a trademark cost as well as your options for registering your trademark.
Registering the name, logo or slogan that you create as a federal trademark is a great way to protect your ownership interest. In our How to Make Money with Trademarks Series, we have discussed the process of Applying for a Trademark and Ways to Make Money with your trademark once you have it registered.
At this point, you may be asking, how much does a trademark cost? Meaning how much can you expect to invest in order to own the name, slogan or logo that you created. Well, the answer to this question is it depends on how you go about applying.
3 Ways to Register Your Trademark
Option #1: Do it yourself.
This may be the most obvious way. You can go online to the federal government’s website and file your own application. If you do, it will only cost you $225-$275 per international class (do you even know what that means?) Not to be disparaging – but people measure cost in dollars but do not factor in the value of your time. How many hours will it take you to complete the process? I’m an attorney and I still remember the first time I tried to navigate it. My mentor at the time told me to expect for it to take a few weeks to get my first application done. It’s not an intuitive system and there are many ways for you to unexpectedly make a costly mistake. If you do, your application may be rejected and you have to pay the filing fee all over again! No refunds. Again, if you view the process and are willing to invest the time, our series outlines many of the important things you’ll want to keep in mind. However, of the many services I do advise clients to do themselves – the federal trademark process is not one of them.
Option #2: Online Companies.
You can use a company online. These are the companies that advertise only $169 plus filing fee (typically $275) for a total of $444. However, there are three (3) reasons I do not recommend online companies:
- They cannot give you legal advice. This is usually a computer guided process that can only input your responses since they are not attorneys and are not allowed to provide legal advice. What does this mean? That if you make a decision based on what you think is best for your trademark, but it may not be the best legal decision for you, you will be stuck with your decision. Let me give an example. If you are registering the name of your business and you get to the ownership section of the application. Do you let the business own the name? Should you own the name yourself as an individual? Should you co-own it with your spouse or a business partner? The answer depends on your legal situation. We advise our clients on which ownership structure minimizes their tax liability, legal liability and would be most profitable for them and/or their business all the time. That is a benefit to having an actual lawyer guide you through the process.
- They do a minimal name search. These services will typically only check the federal register to see if someone else already has legal rights to your name, logo or slogan. However, the federal register is just one of many places to search for individuals that already own your name. Most states have their own state register that you need to search. States also have corporate registers with business names. If a company already uses the name you have as a business, they likely already have ownership rights to the name (some exceptions apply). You also want to search common law listings for people that did not formally register their trademark but are still using it in commerce, which means they’ve already acquired rights to it.
- They cannot legally represent you after the application as been filed. This is by far the biggest benefit. I’ll explain what this means in the next option.
Option #3: Hire a Trademark Attorney.
Notice I said hire a “trademark” attorney. This is an attorney that has significant experience handling trademark applications. This is the option I always recommend when it comes to legally protecting your brand. A trademark attorney will typically cost you anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 to register your trademark. As of the date of this publication, my firm currently charges a flat fee of $2,275 to register trademarks. The different in price largely has to do with our service. To begin, we have a 100% success rate (Disclaimer: Past results do not determine future outcomes). And we work with clients one-on-one to submit a trademark application that maximizes their legal rights. Our process consists of the following steps:
- Search of the federal trademark database. We will identify any existing applicants or opposition to your mark including pending registrations. This step is critical in determining our strategy to protect your mark moving forward. We will also analyze the strength of the mark and propose ways to improve it if needed.
- Strategic One-on-One Trademark Consultation. We will schedule a meeting to discuss the various filing options and make recommendations regarding the registration of your mark (e.g., protecting the words themselves, logo, colors, selecting the supplemental v. principal registry, etc.). We will also evaluate over 40 international classes before deciding the best classification for your trademark. We will provide a structured plan to expand the trademark protection of your mark as your business grows and expands into new markets and industries.
- Developing Quality Specimen. We will provide digitalization, adjustment and compilation of specimens using state-of-the-art technology in compliance with the USPTO requirements. This prevents having to file subsequent applications with the USPTO and pay additional filing fees due to submissions that do not meet their strict specifications.
- Application. We will file your federal trademark application with the USPTO.
- On-going Representation. This step is critical! Many people do not realize that after they have submitted their federal trademark application to the government, the government willl assign it’s own examining attorney to review the file. This attorney will often submit “Office Actions” which are official legal correspondences requiring the submission of additional evidence, specimen, disclaimers, etc. in order to proceed with the review process. If these Office Actions are not responded to in a timely fashion, and with responses that meet the criteria of the statute, in many cases the application will be rejected and the applicant will have to start all over again. Our service includes us representing you as it relates to the examining attorney throughout the review application process until a determination is made.
I hope this gives you a better understanding of how much it costs to get a trademark. If we can assist you in anyway, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.