The Cost of Owning a Trademark
The cost of obtaining a trademark varies. (See discussion on the step-by-step process to obtaining a trademark.) Generally, it will cost between $1,000 to $2,000 for each trademark application you submit. This is why it is important to get the application right the first time.
Trademark Cost Variation
The difference in cost of a trademark application related to the number of classes of goods and services for which you apply. For example, if you apply for ten classes of goods and services, then you should budget for about $5,000. If you only apply for one class, then your budget can be closer to $1,000 or $1,500.
So the fewer classes of goods and services you apply for, the less the cost will be.
How to Reduce Trademark Cost
There are two key secrets you can use to reduce the cost of your trademark filing expenses.
First Secret: Determining Your Classes:
The first secret is to determine the classes of goods and services you want to offer the marketplace. It may not be necessary for you to apply for five or ten category of classes. You will see a massive difference in cost if you can weed out any irrelevant classes of goods and services. So if you can keep this number lower, then you will reduce the cost of your trademark application with the USPTO.
Second Secret: File a Complete Application
Another way to lower the cost of the USPTO trademark application is to fill out the complete trademark application up front. There are different types of trademark registration applications. The 1(a) application is otherwise known as the complete application. Whereas, the 1(b) application is the intent to use application. If you fill out the 1(b) first then you will still need to eventually fill out a 1(a) application and therefore you are paying for two different applications on the same trademark.
You will see that both of the foregoing secrets have something in common. Both involve having a more complete plan in place for your trademark prior to going through the trademark application process. In short, the best way to reduce trademark costs is to have a solid plan for your mark in place.
One Easy Way to Reduce Cost of Your Trademark
It is a common understanding that attorneys are expensive. While it is true that the expertise and education of an expert attorney is expensive, in many ways you can actually reduce your overall time, cost and headache by hiring a trademark lawyer to navigate the trademark registration process. As seen above, most of the extra and unintended cost of trademark application is not having a proper understanding of the process or a complete plan in place. A trademark attorney will be sure your plan is complete prior to filing your application, thereby reducing your costs.
People think that a good way to reduce the cost of their trademark application is to do it on their own rather than hiring a lawyer. However, it is common for people to put together an incomplete application or an insufficient application, which will ultimately result in a rejected application. This will only cost more money to get it fixed.
How a Trademark Attorney Can Help You Specifically Reduce Trademark Costs
Clearing a Proposed Mark
A trademark must be unique to your company or its products or services. If the mark you want to protect is too generic, it will probably be rejected. A trademark lawyer will be able to conduct a proper trademark search to determine if the mark is viable. Trademark lawyers are familiar with USPTO’s database to conduct searches, in addition to knowing other records and databases to consult as well.
As we have seen, filing the paperwork to register a trademark costs money so it helps to ensure that your mark is viable before the application process. Having a trademark lawyer on your side at this initial stage is advised.
Preparing the Trademark Application
Once you and your attorney have decided the proposed mark is clear, you next have to apply to register your new trademark.
The trademark application can be complicated. Filing the paperwork improperly could result in the trademark being denied, which in addition to the money spent on the initial application, will cost you more to appeal or refile. Also, the longer the delay in registering your mark, the higher the risk that a competitor may apply for and obtain the trademark. Thus, hiring a trademark lawyer for this stage is essential.
Monitoring the Trademark
After your trademark application is approved, the trademark holder is responsible for monitoring the use of the mark. A trademark lawyer will be able to best monitor your mark and make sure it is not being improperly used and therefore protect it.
The misuse of your trademark by another organization can have devastating consequences to your business,; profits and reputation. Additionally, if it becomes well known that businesses are getting away with using your trademark and without legal consequences, more businesses may jump on the bandwagon. Any sign of weakness may be held against you.
How to Choose a Trademark Attorney
A trademark lawyer will have a background in intellectual property (IP) law. In fact, some IP attorneys even specialize in trademark applications (as opposed to patents or copyrights, which are different forms of protected intellectual property).
Here are 4 ways you can find your trademark lawyer:
- Ask for references from family, friends or colleagues.
- Search the internet. Avvo is specifically a good platform to find attorneys. There are many others.
- Contact your state bar or county bar association (Orange County Bar Association) to ask for references.
- Contact your local legal aid society for references.
Once you have found an attorney who sounds promising, you should conduct research to determine the number of trademark applications he or she has filed before the USPTO. In doing this research you can also get a better idea of what kinds of businesses this lawyer works with to ensure a better fit for you and your company.
You might also want to consider whether the lawyer has any professional publications. You may especially want to see articles that show how that individual is an expert in trademark law. By looking at published articles, you can also see if the lawyer has a specific background in your type of business.
Attorneys may provide this information on their company website’s biography page, Avvo, or similar attorney profiles. Attorneys generally want to market themselves and will readily include such information.