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Friday May 29, 2015

Reduced Trademark Filing and Renewal Fees

Guest Blog by Mary Boney Denison, Commissioner for Trademarks
 
The USPTO is dedicated to serving the public in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. In January 2015 we implemented reduced trademark application and renewal fees. Lower fees lessen the burden for entrepreneurs and small businesses to obtain the crucial trademark protection they need to grow their businesses, while increased electronic processing enhances the USPTO’s efficiency of examination.

An important part of the USPTO’s mission is to optimize trademark quality and timeliness.  Our Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) allows easy electronic filing by applicants. Since January 17, a new reduced trademark application filing fee option, TEAS Reduced Fee (TEAS RF), has been available to the public. This new filing option promotes electronic communication and application processing while giving applicants more flexibility in identifying their goods and services. With the TEAS RF option, applicants pay a reduced fee if they agree to two-way electronic communication throughout the process. This option has proven to be popular with the majority of trademark filers. In addition to introducing TEAS RF, we’ve also reduced the TEAS Plus initial application fee and reduced the fee to renew a trademark registration electronically. Visit the Trademarks page of the USPTO website for specific information on the reduced fees.   

Prior to January 17, the electronic trademark application options consisted of a TEAS “regular” application and a lower-cost TEAS Plus application with stricter filing requirements, introduced to encourage end-to-end electronic processing of applications. While these options did increase the number of applicants submitting initial applications electronically, approximately 20 percent of applicants were still filing subsequent documents on paper. We conducted outreach to determine what specifically discouraged filers from filing electronically. I personally called many of the firms which did not, or rarely file completely electronically in order to get an idea of what we could do to encourage end-to-end electronic filing. The feedback we received led us to add the TEAS RF option and reduce the TEAS Plus fee and trademark registration fee.

Since introducing the reduced fees in January, TEAS “regular” applications have dropped while TEAS RF filings have increased. The increase in online filing is beneficial to the USPTO’s workflow processes, data collection, and file management, while supporting our objective of end-to-end electronic processing of applications. We will continue to engage with the public to identify ways to streamline our processes, lessen the financial burden on applicants, and efficiently process trademark applications.

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