How Much Does It Cost To Trademark A Business Name In 2023?
Many pieces of a business should be protected against intellectual property theft and infringements including the business name. Intellectual property protection means that the inventor, designer, developer, or author of an idea has legal protection against other people wrongfully usurping or otherwise profiting off of the idea, invention, or creation.
Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are protections against these kinds of infringements. With a patent, copyright, or trademark protection, a business owner can determine in court that they are the owner of a creation and that profits from the creation should only go to them/their business.
This article will explain trademark rights, what makes up common law trademark rights and federal trademark indicators, and how, as the trademark owner, you can protect your creation.
How Much Does It Cost To Trademark A Business Name?
- Search Fees: The typical cost is between $500 and $1,000 for a basic trademark search.
- U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Filing Fees: The TEAS Plus filing is $250 per class of goods or services. The TEAS Standard fee is $350 per class of goods or services.
- Trademark Renewal Costs: The cost to continue or renew a trademark with the patent and trademark office is $525 per class. One class, even with multiple goods, would be $525. However, two classes would cost $1,050 for renewal because these are also paid per class.
- Additional Costs: foreign registration fees, the trademark attorney filing fee for a trademark lawyer, etc.
How Much To Trademark A Name For Small Business?
There are several basic filing fees and costs associated with federal trademark protection. The trademark cost includes the trademark search, the initial trademark application forms, and cost; the filing cost also depends on how many classes, goods, or services are included with the trademark application and any additional fees for the application. Other costs include legal fees. Filing in more than one class is more expensive than filing in a single class. These additional costs will be determined by the type of business, including services and goods offered, and any maintenance fees that are associated with the filing, including trademark fees to extend or continue the trademark. Applications are reviewed by an examining attorney.
Trademark search fees are determined by the trademark attorney who is searching. These legal fees can be expensive. The typical cost is between $500 and $1,000 for a basic trademark search but can be more. This includes not only the search but also the attorney’s report on the findings. For some offices, a search will be a flat fee rather than tiered filing fees, but some legal fees will depend on the amount of time to complete.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Filing Fees
The cost to trademark from the United States Patent and Trademark Office has two filing tiers: Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) Plus and TEAS Standard. Each tier can include filing for a single class or multiple and the cost is dependent, per class. The TEAS Plus filing is $250 per class of goods or services. The TEAS Standard fee is $350 per class of goods or services. If you have two goods in two classes, the cost would be $350 per class or $700 for TEAS Standard; however, if you have two goods but only one class, the cost would be $350. You pay the higher amount only if you have multiple classes of goods or services. As long as the goods or services are in the same class, you only pay the initial fee.
Trademark Renewal Costs
The cost to continue or renew a trademark with the patent and trademark office is $525 per class. One class, even with multiple goods, would be $525. However, two classes would cost $1,050 for renewal because these are also paid per class.
There can be additional trademark costs along with the government filing fees from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Trademark classes can include foreign registration fees, and can also include the trademark attorney filing fee for a trademark lawyer, etc.
Cheapest Way To Trademark A Name For Small Business
If you can’t afford the cost of the trademark, the cheapest way to get a mark is to begin using it as part of your business. You could include the mark on logos, slogans, and advertisements and use it always when referring to the business. However, this may not protect you at the federal level. In this case, to protect against someone else’s trademark filing, you could choose to do the filing yourself, undertaking all aspects of the research including the trademark search, filing, and appeals process so that you don’t incur law office fees.
What Is A Trademark?
Many things can be a trademark for goods like computer software or a service like plumbing repair. Any word or phrase that is unique to a business, symbol or design, or combination of words or phrases with symbols and design elements can become trademarked to represent a small business, invention, or other entity. Once a trademark is filed it cannot be used by competitors or any entity other than the original filer. If another entity tries to use the trademark for profit, that use can result in legal prosecution including fines and even jail time if the offense is deemed large enough.
One of the most well-known marks is the Mcdonald’s “M”, also known as the Golden Arches. This trademark is synonymous with the fast food industry and the McDonald’s brand. If a business called Mcdonald’s Law Service tried to use the Golden Arches as part of its logo, that would be an example of trademark infringement. Most businesses choose legal representation, despite high attorney fees, because trademark filings are complicated from the fee schedule, cost per class of goods, federal level marks, state-level trademark, and trademark office USPTO fees. Some will choose a paper application instead of an online application, but that doesn’t affect the total cost. Additional fee costs can hugely impact the final cost. The USPTO grants the trademark and the USPTO recognizes marks filed in a state, at the federal level, and even foreign applications for most businesses.
Types Of Trademark Applications
There are several types of registered trademarks, and all can be filed through either a paper application or online. The application fees are the same no matter the type of filing. Types of marks include the generic mark, the descriptive mark, the suggestive mark, the fanciful mark, and the arbitrary mark. An example of a generic mark is something very generic: “The Grocery Store”, for example. This is not descriptive of a specific store and could harm other grocery stores so a federal court would not grant this trademark application. A descriptive mark goes further than the generic because it includes some kind of descriptor that is specific to that business, allowing the consumer to recognize it and identify it with the brand filing. The McDonald’s Golden Arches is one such example. A suggestive mark is a mark that suggests qualities of the actual product or service. An example of a suggestive trademark is the Microsoft logo, which is recognizable by most people but doesn’t describe the products on offer. A fanciful mark is unique to that business, such as the Nike “swoosh” or the Adidas stripes. An arbitrary mark is a mark that looks like one thing but doesn’t represent that thing – like Apple’s Apple with the bite out of it. We all know that indicates a tech company, not an apple orchard.
One final type of mark is the service mark. This is similar to the above marks, but instead of representing a product or a service, only represents a service. An example of this would be an electrician or electric company that uses a broken lightbulb as part of its logo. This would identify the type of service – fixing your electric service – that the company offers.
A trademark is filed as a state registration, for use within a specific state region, or at the federal level, for use throughout the country.
Considering A Federal Trademark Registration Service?
The trademark registration process can be confusing as trademark laws can be different between states, regions, and countries. There are several ways to trademark a business name, and many online services will help you file the trademark application. These businesses will supervise the trademark process for small business entities, help to determine if the same business name or similar names need further differentiation, and may help you if legal trouble arises.
Top 2 Trademark Registration Process Services
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Incfile is a business filing company offering access to LLC filings; they are a legal service provider. Their pricing structure is cheaper than competitors, starting at $299 including the filing fee. However, their plans do not include live chat support, which may be a problem depending on the type of services needed.
Rocket Lawyer is a legal service provider with the trademark application process one such service. Their plans for marks start at $99 for nonmembers or $499 per year for comprehensive services. In addition, they offer one-to-one lawyer contacts, LLC and corporation filings, and other legal services. If you believe you will need additional legal services or assistance, they may be the best choice, however, their price structure may be too high for new business owners. Some services require you to pay additional fees.
You do not have to have a trademark to run a business, however, this type of intellectual protection can protect you and your business from competitors. The filing prevents a competitor from using your logo, business name, slogan, and other IP for their profit. If possible, trademarking your IP can help to protect you in the case of legal issues, can help you build your business, and may help you differentiate your business from competitors.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Any word or phrase that is unique to a business, symbol or design, or combination of words or phrases with symbols and design elements can become trademarked to represent a small business, invention, or other entity. This type of mark offers federal protection to the owner against other businesses or people using the mark for profit. Between the fifth and sixth year, an owner will typically file a Declaration of Use stating that the mark is still being used. The Trademark Official Gazette is published by the USPTO weekly and includes information about newly registered marks.
The owner of a registered trademark is the person or entity that filed the trademark application. The application will include the personal details of the owner. After you register a trademark, you’ll pursue a defense in a trademark trial or office action. In many cases trademarking is a form of border protection in that within a certain state, region, or country, no other entity can use the same mark to represent a business.
A mark can be filed in only a few days, but the entire process may take a month or longer to be finalized. You will pay an application fee, have a filing deadline, and work with a trademark attorney to ensure the trademark application is accurate. If denied, there is an appeal board. You can represent yourself, but will want to research all aspects to ensure you understand all aspects of the application process; the Trademark ID manual may help understand nonexclusive and exclusive rights, federal registration date deadlines, federal government filing fee, what the proposed mark will represent and how marks in the same trademark class or with the same business name can be differentiated.
The cost of international trademark registration typically ranges from $3,000 to $5,000, depending on the country or region where you file. There is also a yearly maintenance fee of around $500.
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- U.S. Copyright Office (2023). What is Copyright? | U.S. Copyright Office. [online] Copyright.gov. Available at: https://www.copyright.gov/what-is-copyright/.
- Uspto.gov. (2021). Strong trademarks. [online] Available at: https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/basics/strong-trademarks.