o determine the cost of a trademark is a difficult task. There are many factors in estimating cost, such as whether or not you register it yourself, use a lawyer, or use a legal service. It also depends on the number of marks you want to register. If you want to trademark your business name and logo, according to the USPTO, that would require two different applications. The following paragraphs will estimate the potential cost of registering a single trademark, identify the three different ways you can register, and warn you of any additional application fees. Keep in mind that the application process is difficult and you should want only the best people on your team. Industry insiders highly recommend using a lawyer. This will cost you, but don't worry — when your startup sells for millions, your investment in trademarking will be totally worth it. Remember: you are trying to create something big. Always keep that in mind while you are hustling.
Estimates & calculations
The calculations treat these estimates as if you were filing for a single class OR mark.
Initial Application Fees:
You pay $225 to $400 up front for the application through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). You’ll pay this no matter which way you go about filing. If you file a paper application, it costs around $600.
You should expect additional fees to maintain your trademark. These are fees that you will pay in the future to renew and maintain your trademark(s):
- For continued use of your trademark: $100 after 5 years
- To renew your trademark: $500 after 9 years
Registering your trademark yourself (DIY edition) - $825 to $1000
This option is NOT recommended, but it’s cheap. If you can do this successfully, then go for it. May the odds be ever in your favor. According to Upcounsel, over half of all trademark applications are rejected. So, if you are strapped for cash and this is all you can afford (and you are brave enough) then, by all means, go for it!
- $225 to $400 for application fees (without additional fees)
- $225 to $400 for application fees + $600 for additional fees = $825 to $1000
Before you go about doing the application yourself, consider the resources mentioned in the trademark attorney and Pro-bono services (free) section below:
Using a legal service - $925 to $1400
As mentioned, your initial application fees cost around $225 to $400. Using a legal service can be inexpensive compared to using a trademark attorney. However, this is also not highly recommended. The service would run you about $100 to $500 on top of any initial application and additional fees. They have the acumen to get your application to the finish line. They will help with:
- Surface level issues,
- Filling out your application,
- Your diagram and the drawing of your logo,
- The trademark search through the USPTO's database, and
- Time saving filling out the application (compared to if you were to do it yourself).
Some reasons not to use a legal service would be that their search may not be as thorough. They don't have the tools that licensed attorneys use, so you may run into some obstacles. One of the main reasons trademark applications are rejected is that they are not distinctive enough. Using a legal service, you run the risk of your trademark not standing out and receiving a rejection.
- $100 to $400 for legal service + $225 to $400 for application fees = $325 to $800 (without additional fees)
- $100 to $400 for legal service + $225 to $400 for application fees + $600 additional fees = $925 to $1400
Using a trademark attorney - $1725 to $2400
This is the most recommended option.
The application is difficult and confusing, especially for the average person. The trademark attorney profession entails helping hustlers establish their trademarks. You are going to need an experienced lawyer to help you. It is common for the trademark to not be distinct enough to distinguish itself from others in the USPTO database. You can search through the Database of Registered Trademarks and the legal services can as well. However, trademark attorneys are experienced with searching the database and know just what to look for:
- They have access to software that is more sophisticated than the USPTO's search engine.
- They will be there to help you gauge where you want to take your business. If you want to take it to the state, federal, or foreign stage, they are equipped to help you.
- They are there to give you honest feedback on your approach.
Using a lawyer, you have a great chance of registering your trademark successfully. A trademark application is not simple; it is a long legal procedure that includes a lot of jargon. Should the application have any complications, your attorney will be there to fix them. If you get a rejection or an office action (a form sent out when there is a problem with your application), your lawyer will be prepared to respond. They will be there with you every step of the way. Now let's get into costs. Depending on what you need, this could cost anywhere between five hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. Typically, it costs anywhere from $1500 to $2000 to hire a good trademark attorney. It also depends on what you need. So, if you want to take your trademark internationally, that is where the “tens of thousands” quote comes from. If you are doing a federal nationwide trademark, typically, the cost is around $1500 to $2000. Also, should your application be rejected or you receive an office action, your attorney would bill more hours to remedy the situation.
- $1500 to $2000 lawyer + $225 to $400 application fees + $600 additional fees = $2325 to $3000
- $1500 to $2000 lawyer + $225 to $400 application fees = $1725 to $2400
Pro bono services - free!
There are lawyers willing to do pro bono work. Also, the USPTO offers a service in which law students enrolled in a clinic program allows them to practice intellectual property law. So, don't fret if you can't afford it. You are a hustler; you know how to make it. The International Trademark Association also has a resource center that can connect people to pro bono services. Hiring a trademark attorney can save you a lot of time and energy. If you file the application on your own, you run the risk of getting a rejection letter, which would ultimately waste your time. And time is money. The legal service can get you to the finish line, but you run the risk of your mark not being distinctive enough. A trademark attorney will be there for you in ways that a legal service will not. It is also a known, industry-wide fact that hiring an attorney is the best option to continue your small business journey. It is pricey, but view it as an investment. In the long run, when your business is up and running and turning over huge profits, you will not regret it.