Washington - The U.S. Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking public comment on the possibility of adjusting trademark application fees, so as to lower the fees for all applicants willing to file and communicate electronically with the USPTO. The efficiencies achieved by trademark electronic filing and communications have put the USPTO in a position to potentially reduce the overall collection of trademark application fees, and the Office wishes to adjust the fees in a way that further promotes efficiency both for users and the USPTO. A Notice of Inquiry has been published in the Federal Register.
The USPTO is considering encouraging complete electronic communications by reducing the TEAS Plus filing fee, which currently stands at $275 per class. TEAS Plus is the least expensive application option, and requires electronic communication as well as a complete application and pre-approved identification of goods/services upon filing.
The Office also is considering providing a discount on applications filed using the regular TEAS form, which is $325 per class, assuming the applicant agrees to continue filing and communicating electronically throughout the process. Parties wishing to use TEAS without totally electronic communication would continue to pay the current per class fee of $325. Comments are also being sought on the possibility of increasing fees on applications based on paper, currently only 1% of trademark applications, given that these applications are more costly and burdensome for the USPTO to process.
While 99% of applicants file under TEAS or TEAS Plus, only 76% of applications remain fully electronic throughout the entire process. To increase efficiency, the USPTO is looking to incentivize end-to-end electronic processing.
The USPTO wishes to learn what rates users believe would be appropriate for the existing methods of filing trademark applications-TEAS, TEAS Plus, and paper-as well as what new level of discount would encourage a TEAS applicant to authorize e-mail communication and file all responses and other documents electronically throughout the application. The Office also seeks to learn to what extent fee changes would encourage use of TEAS Plus as opposed to a discounted TEAS application with less burdensome requirements. All comments are welcome on these and other questions.
Should the USPTO decide to propose a change in fees, the Office will provide further opportunity for public comment with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
The Federal Register publication--Notice of Inquiry Regarding Adjustment of Fees for Trademark Applications-can be found at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-08-16/html/2012-20127.htm. The USPTO prefers comments be submitted via electronic mail message to TMFRNotices@uspto.gov. Responses are due by Oct. 15, 2012.
For non-press inquiries, contact Cynthia C. Lynch, Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Examination Policy, at 571-272-8742.
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