If you’re starting a business, the name you choose is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. You may even want to protect the name with a trademark, especially if you come up with something really clever. So, how much does it cost to get trademark protection?
Applying for a federal trademark costs at least $250 per class, up to $500 per class. The initial application typically costs either $250 or $350 for each class of goods or services unless you file using a paper application, which costs $750. Trademarking through your state typically costs $50-$100.
- How Much Does a Trademark Cost?
- What Does a Trademark Cover?
- Owning a Trademark Versus Registering a Trademark
- What are Trademark Classes?
- How Much Does it Cost to Maintain Your Trademark?
- How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Trademark Lawyer?
- Other Costs to Consider When Trademarking a Name
- How Long Does the Trademark Process Take?
- The Bottom Line
How Much Does a Trademark Cost?
You can trademark a name for well under $1,000, making it a worthy investment to protect one of your most valuable assets. Most people pay between $250 and $750 to file with the United States Patent Trademark Office (USPTO) themselves.
Trademark Application Fee
|TEAS Plus||$250 per trademark class|
|TEAS Standard||$350 per trademark class|
Another option is to trademark through your state, which is much less expensive and can be done for under $100 in most cases. However, doing so only offers limited protections, and most people opt for federal trademark protection.
To be able to use the coveted Ⓡ symbol, you’ll need to file for a federal trademark through the USPTO. However, if you only run a very small business and plan to operate only in a single state, you may not need federal trademark protection.
Of course, you may end up paying more if you go through a third-party service or attorney’s office to do the work for you. Or, if your trademark application is denied, you may need to pay additional fees to work through the process.
Plus, the fees may vary depending on the level of protection you want for your name and the number of classes you choose to apply for.
Trademarking a business name is relatively inexpensive, especially compared to other startup costs. Still, it can be an invaluable investment in your business, keeping your competitors and others from using your business’s name for their own benefit.
What Does a Trademark Cover?
Trademark protection can cover any name, logo, symbol, phrase, or slogan that you attach to your business, given that the name, logo, or slogan serves to distinguish your business’s goods and services from other companies.
A trademark is not the same thing as a copyright or patent, though those are also means of protecting intellectual and creative properties. In some cases, copyright may offer the level of protection you’re looking for.
Copyright protects “original works of authorship,” so if you were to write a song or jingle for your business, or a background story, for example, you may want to protect that creative property with copyright.
On the other hand, a patent gives a business or individual the sole right to sell, manufacture, use, or make a product.
When you submit your application for a trademark, you’ll pay an application fee per trademark class. This is an important step because your name or other creative property will only be protected within the trademark class you applied for.
According to the USPTO, a trademark can do the following
- Identify the source of your goods or services
- Provide legal protection for your brand
- Help protect against counterfeiting and fraud
Owning a Trademark Versus Registering a Trademark
When you use your trademark with the goods or services you provide, you become the trademark owner. However, the rights associated with your trademark are limited to the immediate area where your business operates.
For national rights and stronger protection, you’ll have to register your trademark with the USPTO. This is the only way to have a nationally recognized right to your business’s name, slogan, or logo.
What are Trademark Classes?
The USPTO distinguishes 45 different trademark classes. There are 34 classes for goods and 11 for services, and it’s not always obvious what types of businesses are included within each class. So, it’s important to have a good understanding of what type of protection you want before you start the process.
The reason that trademark classes exist is so that similar businesses are protected from competing businesses offering the same types of goods and services.
Some of the classes may overlap with others, causing the need to file for trademarks in multiple classes. For example, paint brushes fall under Class 16 (paper and printed material products), while painting falls under Class 2 (paint). So, if you’re a retailer that sells both items, you may want to file for protection under both classes.
Here are the classes according to the USPTO:
Goods (Products) Classes
|Class No.||Product Class Name||Examples|
|1||Chemical||Chemicals, unprocessed plastics, adhesives|
|2||Paint||Paints, varnishes, lacquers, colorants|
|3||Cosmetics & Cleaning||Soaps, perfumery, essential oils, laundry|
|4||Lubricant & Fuel||Dust absorbing, candles & wicks, lubricants|
|5||Pharmaceutical||Prescriptions, food for babies, disinfectants, fungicides|
|6||Metal||Common metals & alloys, safes, nonelectric cables|
|7||Machinery||Motors/engines, incubators for eggs, machines & machine tools|
|8||Hand Tool||Cutlery, side arms, razors|
|9||Computer and Software, Scientific||Scientific, nautical, optical, weighing, recording, automatic vending machines, cash registers|
|10||Medical Instrument||Surgical, medical, dental tools, artificial limbs|
|11||Environmental Control Instrument||Lighting, heating, cooling, cooking products|
|12||Vehicles & Products for locomotion||Vehicles, apparatus for locomotion by land, air, or water|
|13||Firearm||Guns, ammunition, explosives, fireworks|
|14||Jewelry||Precious metals, precious stones, chronometric instruments|
|15||Musical Instrument||All musical instruments|
|16||Paper & Printed Material||Paper, photographs, stationery, instructional materials, paint brushes, artists’ materials|
|17||Rubber||Gum, asbestos, flexible pipes, packing materials|
|18||Leather (not clothing)||Animal skins, hides, umbrellas, whips|
|19||Non-metallic Building Material||Asphalt, pitch, monuments|
|20||Furniture||Furniture, mirrors, picture frames, things made from cork, reed, cane, wicker|
|21||Houseware & Glass||Household or kitchen utensils, containers, glassware|
|22||Ropes, Cordage, and Fiber||String, nets, sails, sacks and bags, padding and stuffing materials|
|23||Yarns and Threads||For textile use|
|24||Fabrics and Textile||Beds and table covers|
|25||Clothing and Apparel||Clothing, headgear, footwear|
|26||Lace, Ribbons, Embroidery, and Fancy Goods||Lace, ribbons and braid, buttons, hooks and eyes, pins and needles, artificial flowers|
|27||Floor Covering||Carpets, rugs, mats, linoleum|
|28||Toys and Sporting Goods||Games, sporting articles, decorations for Christmas trees|
|29||Meat and Processed Food||Meat, fish, jellies, jams, milk, eggs|
|30||Staple Food Products||Coffee, sugar, tea, flour, honey, mustard, salt, spices|
|31||Natural Agricultural||Fresh fruits and veggies, seeds, live animals|
|32||Light Beverage||Beers, waters, juices|
|33||Wines and Spirits||Alcoholic beverages (not beer)|
|34||Smoker’s Products||Tobacco, matches|
- Class 35: Advertising, Business, and Retail Services
- Class 36: Insurance and Financial Services
- Class 37: Construction and Repair Services
- Class 38: Communication Services
- Class 39: Transportation and Storage Services
- Class 40: Treatment and Processing of Materials Services
- Class 41: Education and Entertainment Services
- Class 42: Computer and Software Services and Scientific Services
- Class 43: Restaurant and Hotel Services
- Class 44: Medical and Beauty Services and Agricultural Services
- Class 45: Personal, Legal, and Social Services
How Much Does it Cost to Maintain Your Trademark?
Registering a trademark is not a one-time process. You’ll have to maintain your trademark by going through a renewal process and showing that you’re still using the trademark in connection with your business. The documents you file cost different amounts based on the number of classes in your initial registration.
For example, after ten years you’ll have to file a declaration of use and/or excusable nonuse and an application for renewal of your trademark. The filing fee for these documents is $525 for each class you initially filed under. So, if you filed under two classes of goods or services, it would cost $1,050 to renew your trademark.
These types of fillings are required at regular intervals throughout the lifetime of your trademark, so you should plan for the ongoing cost to maintain it as part of your budget.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Trademark Lawyer?
Hiring a trademark lawyer may cost anywhere from $500 and $3,000 on average. The cost will ultimately depend on where you live and the going rate for legal services as well as the complexity of your case.
There are also some online services that will do the work for you for a fee, and these typically cost over $1,000 for the filing fees and trademark search to ensure there are no conflicts with your name, logo, or slogan.
Still, you don’t need to hire a lawyer to go through the trademark process, but it can make it much easier and take some of the burdens off you.
Other Costs to Consider When Trademarking a Name
When you file an application for a trademark, you’ll also need to submit a drawing of the trademark so that the office knows exactly what you’re trying to protect. There are specific requirements for the drawing, so you’ll want to ensure you submit it correctly.
Depending on the type of drawing you submit (standard character drawing versus special form drawing), you may want to have it professionally prepared by a graphic designer. This can certainly add to your trademarking cost, but it may be well worth it to have a complete rendering to submit with your trademark application.
Another potential cost to consider is if the application is rejected or if someone files an opposition against your request. Depending on the complexity of your case, you may end up needing to seek advice from an attorney, which could end up costing you more money throughout the process.
If you find that your trademark is being violated, it could cost money to hire an attorney to enforce it. It’s your responsibility as the trademark owner to enforce the trademark rights. So, that means you’ll need to monitor whether your trademark is being used (or misused) and respond appropriately if you believe it’s being violated.
All of these things can cost you time, money, and resources, so you should consider them fully whenever you move forward with the trademark application process.
How Long Does the Trademark Process Take?
Depending on your application and the outcome, it could take months to years for you to register your trademark. However, in most cases, the process takes 12 to 18 months.
When you submit your application for a trademark, it will be closely reviewed and compared to other existing trademarks. In many cases, the first application is rejected and the applicant must make amendments and refile their documents.
This is a normal part of the trademarking process, so you shouldn’t worry if your initial request is denied. Follow the instructions and stay with it, and you should eventually have your trademark request granted.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of how you file for your trademark registration, you should expect to pay a minimum of $225 to apply. That amount will be higher if you are going to apply for multiple trademark classes. Of course, you could obtain a trademark through your state for a cheaper fee, but the protection would be much less significant.
The only way to have nationwide trademark recognition and protection for your business name, logo, slogan, phrase, or other creative property is to file through the United States Patent Trademark Office (USPTO).
Once you’ve successfully completed their requirements and your trademark is approved, you’ll be able to display the Ⓡ symbol after your trademarked name. This lets everyone know that the name is registered to you and they may not use it within the same business class.
Because there’s nothing more important than your name when it comes to your business, there’s really no price you can put on the trademark process. If someone opposes your trademark request or the USPTO denies it for some reason, there could be additional work for you to do. In those cases, it may be worth it for you to consult with an attorney or other legal service specializing in trademarks and patents to assist you with the process.