Trademark Process and Cost
Our standard costs and process for trademark registration services is below:
Estimate of Trademark Costs
The trademark costs are generally broken into three tiers:
- our costs to handle the matter (search, file and prosecute the application);
- the PTO filing fees; and
- the T&T or other third party search reports if they are ordered.
1. Our services. For our services, we generally estimate the trademark cost to be $1,300 – 1,600 per trademark (one class) which includes our limited search to see if the mark is available and analysis (U.S. PTO records and Google) and if the mark is clear, the preparation and filing of the application, and any non substantive office action (i.e. goods and services description, disclaimers). This amount assumes the search and prosecution will go smoothly without multiple alternative searches. If there are issues in the search or the PTO issues substantive office actions (e.g. on confusion or descriptiveness), the cost can increase. We assess the process as we go and will discuss any additional costs if they arise. If we receive a PTO office action, we will not take any action without first giving you an estimate of the costs and obtaining your approval. We work in phases such that if a roadblock is discovered early (for example, if we immediately find a problematic existing mark), we will stop and let you know and you can terminate the effort early to limit the costs. Of course this is also where, if the mark is changed and we have to re-search the new modified mark, costs can increase. We do our best to keep you informed as we go. The filing can be done relatively quickly.
2. Comprehensive Full Search Report: Our services above include a limited search which is sufficient if you intend to do business regionally; however, if you intend to launch your service nationwide, franchise, or incur significant marketing expenses, we generally recommend a full comprehensive search report. This is a search conducted by an outside service (we typically recommend services such as Thomson CompuMark) – it is very comprehensive in that it searches federal, state and detailed common law use. We then review this report and provide an analysis to you. Outside services charge around $750-850 per trademark for a T&T report on a U.S. word mark within the PTO, all state databases and common law. But be aware this service increases prices regularly so they can be more. If you have a design mark (logo), their cost increases; thus, please advise if your mark consists of a logo and we will provide these costs. Again, this cost is an outside third party cost is incurred only if you decide to proceed with the full comprehensive outside search.
3. PTO Filing Fees. Once you determine that you are ready to go forward with a trademark application, we will prepare and file the application. The Patent and Trademark Office has filing fees as well – either $225 or 275 per class per application. Our fee assumes a single application n a single class – additional classes or applications incur additional filing fees.
Once the application is filed, it is often not possible to estimate the amount of time we will need to spend on it. Many applications go right through with no rejections by the PTO, and some receive several rejections (for example, if we provided warnings about conflicting marks). If we receive a substantive refusal, such as a likelihood of confusion with another mark or a “merely descriptive” rejection, this can take several hours of paralegal and attorney time to craft arguments to overcome the rejections (a standard office action response on a substantive refusal is not included in our estimated fees above can increase costs by over $1,000 per office action response). Of course, we will not do any work without your express authorization. Regarding the timeframe, please note that it generally takes about 10–12 months from filing the application to go through each step at the U.S. PTO and receive a certificate of registration. However, the date of filing your application is important as the filing will act to deter a subsequently filed application for a similar mark.
The process for a trademark usually follows this course:
- You give us the MARK and the proposed identification of the goods and services.
- We conduct a literal search on the USPTO, and some light Google searching and we prepare a report to you on the availability of the mark. If you have nationwide use and authorize a T&T (discussed below), we order a T&T Report and review the results, and then we report back to you on availability.
- If you decide to proceed, then it depends if the mark is “in use” or whether you merely have an intent to use the mark. If the mark is “in use”, we need the information listed below. If the mark is not in use, we do not need that below information, other than the graphic version of the mark if it is stylized, and the description of the goods and services
If the mark is in use, we need:
- the date (m/d/y) you first made any use of the mark (in its current form)
- the company that owns the mark and its full name, state of formation, address, phone, fax and email. If an individual owns the mark, we need that person’s name, address, phone, fax and email, as well as confirmation that they’re a US citizen.
- the date (m/d/y) you first sold your goods or services to a potential out-of-state buyer using the mark.
- If the mark is a logo or design mark (and not just words), we need a “picture” of the mark in electronic, format (we can accept AI, EPS, GIF, JPG, PNG, PSD and PDF). If the mark is not claiming color, the mark must be line art (black & white); if you are claiming color, then the color mark is OK. We will resize the image file, however, please provide the master image not less than 300 dpi, and not less than 300 pixels in height or width. Note that the symbol “TM” cannot appear on the drawing page. We can manipulate the file if need be to remove this.
- If the mark is for a product, we need product packaging or labeling or an instructional pamphlet bearing the mark. You can provide this in electronic, JPG format, as well if you wish (i.e. a picture of the box/packaging).
- If the mark is for a service, we need advertising materials which describe the services and bear the mark. You can provide this in electronic, JPG format, as well if you wish. If your services and the mark are represented on your website, you can just give us the address and I can get this “specimen” myself. Acceptable specimens may include newspaper and magazine advertisements, brochures, billboards, handbills, direct-mail leaflets, menus (for restaurants), and the like. However, printer’s proofs for advertisements, publicity releases to news media, or printed articles resulting from such releases, are not accepted because they do not show use of the mark by the applicant in the sale or advertising of the services. Business documents such as letterhead and invoices may be acceptable service mark specimens if they show the mark and refer to the relevant service.