As a small businessman, your physical assets—such as your equipment, inventory, and any buildings you own—might be your top focus. Intellectual property, on the other hand, is a less physical asset that can be quite valuable to a small corporation. Trademark protection is available for your company name, slogan, and logo, as well as anything else that distinguishes your goods or services from those of others in a commercial environment.
Registering a trademark has various advantages for your company, including the ability to prohibit competitors from utilizing your assets. Trademark registration, on the other hand, can be time-consuming and costly. Here, we’ll go over the main stages of the process and the accompanying charges so you can figure out how much it costs to trademark a company name. We’ll also look for ways to cut costs when it comes to trademark registration.
An overview of the trademark registration process
In commerce, a trademark is a term, phrase, logo, or symbol that differentiates one company’s goods or services from those of another. Copyrights and patents, which protect various sorts of intellectual property assets, are not the same as trademarks. The company name McDonald’s®, as well as the advertising tagline “I’m lovin’ it,” are examples of trademarks.
There are two levels of trademark registration in the United States: state and federal. At the state level, trademarking your business name is simple and affordable, but it provides only limited legal protection. However, registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is more difficult and expensive, but it provides far more legal protection.
By registering your trademark with the federal government, you can restrict others from using it across the country. You’ll also have the ability to print ® next to your trademarked materials, signaling to everyone that you own the trademark.
How much does it cost to register a name as a trademark?
The cost of trademarking a business name starts at $225 and goes up to $600 for each trademark class. This is the fee for filing a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System is the simplest and least expensive way to register your trademark (TEAS). It’s important to keep in mind that you can only register one trademark per application.
There are several types* of trademark applications, each with its own set of costs:
- TEAS Plus: $225 per trademark class.
- TEAS RF: $275 per trademark class.
- TEAS Regular: $400 per trademark class.
[*NOTE: Due to a USPTO regulation change, the paper application, which cost $600 per trademark class, is no longer an option as of Feb. 15, 2020.]
TEAS Plus is the cheapest application process, but you must meet additional standards to use it. You must choose from a list of pre-approved trademark classes provided by the USPTO. You must also pay the per-class filing fee in advance and agree to communicate with the USPTO solely through email and the online TEAS system.
TEAS RF is similar; however, you don’t have to pick your goods and services ahead of time. If your trademark does not fit well into one of the current categories, you can propose a bespoke class of goods or services.
Finally, TEAS Regular, the most expensive application, is for applicants who want specialized classes and the opportunity of receiving paper correspondence from the USPTO lawyers reviewing their application.
Keep in mind that USPTO fees fluctuate from time to time, so double-check before registering a trademark.
The cost of trademarking a company name is an additional expense.
The expenses shown above are for a basic trademark application and assume you won’t need legal help. Additional reasons that will raise the cost of trademarking a company name include:
Choosing multiple trademark classes
You must choose the class or classes of products and services to which your brand relates before filing your trademark application. Only the category or categories of goods or services that you identify in your application are protected by trademarks. The skincare company “Dove” owns a trademark in the toiletry category, whereas the chocolate brand “Dove” owns a trademark in the confections and chocolate category.
The above-mentioned application fees will double for each additional trademark class you select. The USPTO currently recognizes 45 different trademark classes.
In most circumstances, you’ll be required to submit a trademark drawing with your application. This could be a basic line drawing or a more complex rendering, but it must comply with the USPTO’s trademark drawing standards.
There are two sorts of drawings:
- Standard character drawing: A standard character drawing depicts only text and is not linked to a certain font, style, or color. An example is the word “Nike” in plain text.
- Special form drawing: A stylized form drawing depicts a logo, design, or symbol of a specific font, size, style, or color. An example is the Nike logo.
In general, each application can only have one drawing. If you wish to protect both the content and the logo of your company, you’ll have to fill out two different applications, which will increase your costs.
Character drawings are basic and inexpensive, but particular form drawings may necessitate the services of a graphic designer or artist. In such circumstances, expect to pay between $250 and $750, or perhaps more, depending on the trademark’s intricacy.
Allegation of use
The majority of business owners who file for a trademark are already utilizing it in their firm. However, if you intend to utilize your trademark in commerce in the future, you can file a trademark application. If you file a trademark with the plan to use it, you’ll need to submit an additional form once you start using it.
This form, known as the Statement of Use or Amendment to Allege Use, must be submitted within six months following the USPTO’s approval of your first application. The fee for submitting this form online is $100 per category of goods or services.
International trademark registration
International trademark registration is strongly suggested if you utilize your trademark on a website, social media, online advertising, or other locations on the internet. For a filing cost of $100 per trademark class, you can file for international trademark registration online through TEAS.
International trademark registration protects your mark throughout the 80 nations that have signed the Madrid Protocol, of which the United States is one. Each foreign country you name in your international trademark application will analyze your application and decide whether or not to authorize it based on its trademark laws.
Costs to maintain your trademark
It might cost anywhere from $550 to $1,250 to keep your trademark up to date. A trademark application is not a one-and-done procedure. Maintain your trademark by demonstrating that your company is still using it in connection with the classes you selected in your initial application.
The following are the trademark filings you’ll need to submit regularly, along with the filing fees for each:
- Between the fifth and sixth year after registration: File a Section 8 affidavit, commonly known as a Declaration of Use and/or Excusable Non-use. You’ll use this form to demonstrate that you’re still doing business under your trademark. The filing fee for online submission is $125 per class.
- Between the ninth and 10th year after registration: File a Declaration of Use and/or Excusable non-use, as well as a Renewal Application. Because a trademark expires after ten years, you’ll need to apply for renewal together with the Declaration of Use form. After that, you’ll have to resubmit these forms every ninth and tenth year. The filing fee for each class is $425.
- (Optional) Declaration of Incontestability: This form, also known as a Section 15 affidavit, strengthens your trademark rights and prevents common legal challenges to your trademark. The use of this form is subject to various limitations. For example, to file for incontestability, you must have used your trademark for at least five years. The filing fee for online submission is $200.
You’ll receive email reminders from the USPTO before these deadlines if you provided an email address and authorized email communication in your original trademark application.