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Protect Your Business and Brand with a Trademark

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Protect Your Business and Brand with a Trademark

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What are the initial registration fees?

The USPTO requires that all trademark registration applications be submitted electronically. Trademark filings are done via the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) system.  

Within TEAS, there are two filing options: TEAS Standard and TEAS Plus. There are several key differences between these two options. TEAS Standard has a higher filing fee per class than TEAS Plus ($350 for the former vs. $250 for the latter). The TEAS Standard option allows you to use a free-form class description for goods and services, whereas TEAS Plus limits your class description to a pre-approved USPTO list. Finally, TEAS Plus includes a deficiency penalty of $100 if certain criteria are not met.

If you use your trademark or service mark for multiple classes, multiply the USPTO fee by the number of classes in which you plan to register to get the total USPTO fees. These costs are generally only incurred once – at the moment of filing the application. Additional costs, however, can be incurred for submitting a statement of use, changing the filing basis, post-registration maintenance filings, or other amendments. These fees are separate from what you may have to pay for legal help as well.

What are Statement of Use fees?

Once the application is filed, additional costs depend on your use of the trademark. If you initially filed with an intent to use the trademark in the future, and your initial application gets the all-clear that no one else has submitted or registered a similar trademark, you can expect to receive a Notice of Allowance (NOA). This triggers a six-month period to file a Statement of Use (SOU) that declares that you’ve actually begun to use your trademarked term for the goods and services in your application. 

You are also required to submit an example (called a specimen) along with the SOU. The USPTO fee for the SOU is $100 per class. You have six months from the issue date of the NOA to submit the specimen, or request an extension. You can ask for a six-month extension to file an SOU. Each extension request is $125 per class, and you may request up to five such extensions. Also note that when submitting an extension request, you are required to attest that you have a bona fide intent to use the mark in the future.

Are they fees owed after registration?

After you register your trademark, it is important to submit a number of maintenance filings to the USPTO at certain intervals to keep the registration alive. The filings are usually due between the fifth and sixth year after registration, then between the ninth and tenth year, and then every 10 years thereafter. The filings generally require an attestation that the mark is still in use for all the goods or services in the application. If the scope of use has changed, you may modify or delete the products or services that are no longer used with the mark.

Importantly, after five years of continuous use of your mark after registration, you can submit a declaration of incontestability, which is an important milestone to strengthen your trademark rights. Incontestability is conclusive evidence of your ownership of the mark and your exclusive right to use it for the goods or services in the application. Incontestability is a key deterrent in many infringement proceedings and makes challenging a trademark much more difficult.  

The fees for submitting post-registration maintenance filings can change, so it’s best to consult the USPTO fee schedule for a current list of fees. Some of the filings can be combined to save resources and USPTO review time. For example, the incontestability filing can be combined with the fifth year filing.

Even with filing and maintenance fees, registering a trademark is often worthwhile. If you have more questions about registering your business’s trademark, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable legal advice. If you need tax help, Rocket Lawyer now offers tax services with Rocket Tax™. Don't do your taxes™ – Let us do them for you.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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