TMIN News 19: Fees


Part 19 of Trademark Information Network Series

Published on Oct 10, 2017

This video gives an overview of the most common filing fees required to apply for and maintain a federal trademark registration.  Your initial fee depends on (1) your application filing form, (2) your filing basis, and (3) the number of international classes in your application. Watch this video to understand how your fee is calculated and how you might save hundreds of dollars when filing.


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TRADEMARK INFORMATION NETWORK
BREAKING NEWS

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MARK TRADEMAN, TMIN NEWS ANCHOR:
Hello everyone and welcome to another Trademark Information Network Special Report. Today's topic: fees. Because, like any good businessperson, you want to know, "What's it gonna cost me."

Before we dig into the actual numbers, however, there are four main factors to discuss that affect how much your overall application costs: how many trademarks you want to try to register; how many classes of goods and services you include in your application; what type of online application form you use; and your filing basis. Each factor plays a role in your overall cost, so let's go through them, one by one.

First, how many trademarks do you want to try to register?

Remember: registration is not guaranteed. And: you may only file one mark per application. The USPTO considers every variation of a trademark to be a separate trademark. Separate trademarks require separate applications, each with their own filing fee.

For example, let's say your mark is "T.MARKEY" and you're interested in protecting the name alone, the name in a stylized font, the name with a cartoon character design, and just the cartoon character alone.

Registering each of these four trademarks, although conceptually related, would require four separate applications and, therefore, a total of four filing fees. So, if your budget does not allow you to register all four, you may wish to submit a single application for a version of the trademark that gives you the broadest protection over the life of your trademark, such as the Standard Character Mark version.

For more information on this topic, be sure to watch the "Drawing Issues" news broadcast, available on USPTO.gov/TMvideos.

Second, how many appropriate classes of goods and services are you including in your application?

Remember, trademarks are used to indicate the source of particular goods and services. And, although an application may only display one mark, it can cover a broad range of goods and services falling in a multitude of International Classes.

So, in your application, identify the goods and services with which you are either using or have a bona fide intent to use your mark. Each good or service is classified in a corresponding International Class. The number of International Classes in your application determines your filing fee.

For example, if you want to register your trademark for computer game software (which is in Class 9) and t-shirts (which are in Class 25), you must pay a filing fee that covers both classes. That is, the fee will be the base fee, times two.

For more information about goods and services and International Classes, be sure to watch the "Goods and Services" news broadcast, also available on USPTO.gov/TMvideos.

Third, which online application form do you want to use?

As you can see, the USPTO offers three different electronic forms: TEAS Plus, TEAS RF, and TEAS Regular. Each form has different filing requirements, but, if your application is successful, can result in the same thing: a federal trademark registration.

The USPTO, however, encourages applicants to use the TEAS Plus filing option, as it provides the least expensive and most streamlined approach.

For more information about the differences between the TEAS application forms, be sure to watch the TEAS Nuts and Bolts: TEAS Plus vs. TEAS RF vs. TEAS Regular comparison video, available on USPTO.gov/TMvideos.

Fourth, what is your filing basis?

As you might remember, trademark rights are acquired through use. You cannot federally register your trademark until you are actually using it in commerce with the goods and services identified in your application.

If you are already using your mark in interstate commerce with the goods and services listed in your application, your filing basis is Section 1(a) Use-in-Commerce. With this basis, you probably won't have to pay any additional processing fees.

If you are not yet using your mark in commerce, but have a bona fide intent to do so within the next 3-4 years, your filing basis is Section 1(b) Intent-to-Use. With this basis, you will have to pay additional fees and submit additional forms. Specifically, you will have to convert your Intent-to-Use application to a use-based application by filing a Statement of Use.

And, if you are not ready to file a Statement of Use when it is due, you will have to file one or more Requests for Extension of Time to file a Statement of Use to get up to five available six month extensions. The USPTO requires a processing fee for each of these filings.

For more information about filing bases, be sure to watch the TMIN: Filing Basis broadcast.

For more information about the Statement of Use, be sure to watch the TMIN: Statement of Use broadcast. Both are available on USPTO.gov/TMvideos.

And those are the four factors to take into account when determining how much your application might cost: the number of trademarks, the number of classes, which online application form you use, and your filing basis.

Now that we have those factors in hand, we can determine what your application filing fee might be. We can also discuss the other fees you may need to pay during the application process, as well as those fees you'll need to submit after your mark registers, to keep your registration alive.

As we discussed, and as you can see in the previously mentioned TEAS Nuts and Bolts comparison video, the USPTO provides three online filing options for the initial application, each with a different filing fee per International Class. TEAS Plus costs $225 per class. TEAS RF costs $275 per class. TEAS Regular costs $400 per class.

Both TEAS Plus and TEAS RF have additional requirements beyond the TEAS Regular minimum filing requirements. If you fail to meet those additional requirements, you must pay an additional filing fee of $125 per International Class and the USPTO will transform your application into a TEAS Regular application. You might also have to submit additional documents and pay additional fees before your application is eligible to proceed to registration.

And those are the initial application filing fees.

But remember: your filing basis also affects what fees are due. If your basis is Section 1(b) Intent-to-Use and you are filing electronically, your Statement of Use will cost $100 per class and any Requests for Extension of Time to file the Statement of Use will cost $125 per class.

Once your mark is registered, you won't have to pay any more application fees, but you will need to pay other fees when filing the registration-related documents required to keep your registration alive.

Between the 5th and 6th years after registration, you must file a Section 8 Affidavit of Continued Use ($125 per class when filed online).

Between the 9th and 10th years after registration, you must file a combined Section 8 Affidavit of Continued Use and Section 9 Request for Renewal ($425 per class when filed online). This combined filing is due every 10 years after registration.

For more information about these post-registration maintenance documents, be sure to watch the TMIN: Post-Registration Issues news broadcast, available on USPTO.gov/TMvideos.

To help make sense of all of these numbers, let's compare some common application scenarios. For simplicity, we'll assume all filings are made electronically.

For example, a Section 1(a) single class TEAS Plus application would cost $225 to file and prosecute.

A Section 1(b) single class TEAS Plus application would cost a minimum of $325 to file and prosecute, as you would have to pay to file both the application and the Statement of Use.

The same application could cost a maximum of $950 if you end up needing to file all five Statement of Use Extension Requests at $125 apiece.

Comparing a TEAS Plus application to a TEAS Regular application shows an even more dramatic difference in filing fees.

A Section 1(a) single class TEAS Regular application would cost a minimum of $400.

A Section 1(b) single class TEAS Regular application would initially cost a minimum of $500 to file and prosecute, but could potentially cost $1125, if all five Statement of Use extension requests are filed.

If each application contains goods and services in two International Classes, the costs double. The Section 1(a) TEAS Plus application would cost $450 and the Section 1(b) TEAS Regular application could cost as much as $2250.

As you can see, "how much it's gonna cost you" depends on many factors: the number of marks you want to register, the number of International Classes in each application, your chosen online application form, and your filing basis.

For more information about filing fees, be sure to check out the USPTO's Trademark Fee Information page, which also includes details on available methods of payment.

Remember: registration is not guaranteed. A USPTO examining attorney reviews every application and not all legal problems in an application are fixable. Your filing fee pays for that review, as well as document processing. As such, except in very rare cases, there are no refunds.

Trademark fees are subject to change, but don't worry. The Trademark Information Network will keep you up-to-date on any changes at the Office, so you can stay focused on using your brand to build your business.

Feel free to replay this video at any time and keep an eye out for more of these broadcasts throughout the website.

I'm Mark Trademan, Trademark Information Network.

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