(496) DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
United States Patent and Trademark Office
Docket No. PTO-T-2012-0029
Notice of Inquiry Regarding Adjustment of Fees for Trademark Applications
AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce
ACTIONS: Notice of Inquiry.
SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO" or
"Office") is considering adjusting trademark application filing fees so as
to promote efficiency for the USPTO and customers by incentivizing complete
electronic communication. The USPTO invites the public to submit comments
regarding such possible adjustments.
DATES: Written comments must be received on or before [60 days from the
date of publication in the Federal Register].
ADDRESSES: The USPTO prefers that comments be submitted via electronic
mail message to TMFRNotices@uspto.gov. Written comments may also be
submitted by mail to Commissioner for Trademarks, P.O. Box 1451, Alexandria,
VA 22313-1451, attention Cynthia C. Lynch; by hand delivery to the
Trademark Assistance Center, Concourse Level, James Madison Building-East
Wing, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia, attention Cynthia C. Lynch;
or by electronic mail message via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. See the
Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site (http://www.regulations.gov) for
additional instructions on providing comments via the Federal eRulemaking
Portal. All comments submitted directly to the Office or provided on the
Federal eRulemaking Portal should include the docket number
(PTO-T-2012-0029). The comments will be available for public inspection on
the USPTO's Web site at http://www.uspto.gov, and will also be available at
the Office of the Commissioner for Trademarks, Madison East, Tenth Floor,
600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia. Because comments will be made
available for public inspection, information that is not desired to be made
public, such as an address or phone number, should not be included.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia C. Lynch, Office of the Deputy
Commissioner for Trademark Examination Policy, at (571) 272-8742.
The USPTO is providing the public, including user groups, with an
opportunity to comment on possible adjustments to trademark application
fees. In particular, the USPTO is considering adjusting filing fees to
incentivize complete electronic communications by reducing the TEAS Plus
filing fee and by providing a discount on applications filed using the
regular TEAS application form, if the applicant authorizes email
communication and agrees to file all responses and other documents
electronically during the prosecution of the application. The USPTO is
also contemplating increasing the fee for paper applications to more
accurately reflect the higher cost of processing such filings.
1. Fees for filing an application for registration of a trademark are
currently set at:
$375 per class for filing by a paper application;
$325 per class for filing electronically using TEAS;
$275 per class for filing electronically using TEAS Plus (additional
requirements apply, including authorizing e-mail communication from the
USPTO, agreeing to file all subsequent documents electronically, and
selecting goods/services from a pre-approved entry in the U.S. Acceptable
Identification of Goods and Services Manual).
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Given the objective to increase end-to-end electronic processing of
trademark applications, the significantly higher cost of processing paper
applications, and the ability of the USPTO to offer some fee reductions,
what fee amounts would you consider reasonable for the three existing
methods of filing?
2. How much of a discount do you consider appropriate for the proposed
TEAS application fee discount if the applicant authorizes email
communnication and agrees to file all responses and other documents
electronically during the prosecution of the application?
3. If you generally file trademark applications using TEAS, but not TEAS
Plus, how much of a proposed discount would motivate you to authorize
e-mail communication and agree to file all responses and other documents
electronically during the prosecution of a trademark application?
4. If the TEAS Plus fee were reduced and remained the lowest fee, and
the discount TEAS option were also offered, what would be the impact on the
TEAS Plus filing level - i.e. would you be more likely to choose TEAS Plus
as the lowest fee, or to select the discount TEAS option with its less
5. The cost of processing paper filed applications is substantially
higher than electronically filed applications. If you generally file paper
trademark applications, would you continue to do so even if the paper
application fee were to increase, and why?
6. What advantages and disadvantages do you see in a fee structure that
includes the TEAS application fee discount and a significantly higher fee
for paper-filed applications?
While the USPTO welcomes and values all comments from the public in
response to this notice, these comments do not bind the USPTO to any
further actions related to the comments. Persons submitting written
comments should note that the USPTO will not provide "comment and response"
analysis, since notice and opportunity for public comment are not required
for this notice under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) or any other law.
Once the USPTO receives comments, the USPTO will decide whether to
propose a change in the fees. If the USPTO decides to propose a fee
change, the Office will provide an opportunity for public comment in a
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The USPTO would intend to use the
procedures set forth in Section 10 of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act
("AIA") for these possible fee changes. Leahy-Smith America Invents Act,
Pub. L. No. 112-29, § 10, 125 Stat. 284, 316-17 (2011). Those Section 10
procedures include: providing any proposed fee to the Trademark Public
Advisory Committee ("TPAC") prior to issuing a Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking; providing at least 30 days for TPAC to deliberate, consider,
and comment on such proposal; holding a public hearing relating to such
proposal; and making available a written report from TPAC setting forth
their comments, advice, and recommendations, which the USPTO shall consider
before setting or adjusting fees. See AIA § 10(d).
August 10, 2012 DAVID J. KAPPOS
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and
Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office
[1382 TMOG 255]