Many of our clients want to know how much a trademark registration costs and how long the process takes. The cost and timeframe vary depending on several factors. I've summarized some of the main ones below.
Basic estimate: Estimated legal fees are $1200-$1800 per application, but this assumes that the application does not come up against any substantial issues when the U.S. Trademark Office examines it. This legal fee includes responding to any non-substantive refusal letters that the Trademark Office may issue. The Trademark Office requires its own application filing fees (and for filing certain other documents, as applicable) – normally $275 per classification (“class”) of goods/services listed in the application. This is an additional cost outside of fees for legal services. A single application can contain multiple classes of goods/services.
Other countries: If you want to apply in any other countries, the expense depends on which ones. One factor is whether foreign attorneys have to be hired (for example, in non-English-speaking countries). The various jurisdictions have their own filing fees.
Search fees: If you want to conduct a search to look for potential obstacles (i.e., pre-existing users of the intended trademark), the fees would depend on which geographical areas the search will cover. For a U.S. search, you would expect between $200 and $500 per search, as well as an hour or two of attorney time to review and evaluate the search results. For an international search, it varies widely. Foreign counsel may need to be hired for searches in many other countries, due to language and other considerations. Because international searches can get very expensive, this is normally handled by prioritizing markets of interest.
Timeframe: The entire process for a U.S. application generally takes around a year from application to registration. The main reasons for the long time window are Trademark Office backlog and the length of time that the Trademark Office allows for responding to letters that they issue. Once the application is on file, though, the public (including would-be infringers) are on notice of your claim of ownership to the mark. I n other words, just having an application on file can often serve as a deterrent to those considering adoption of a similar brand.
Responding to potential issues: Sometimes things do not go smoothly with the Trademark Office. It depends on what the Trademark Office requires. They have lawyers that examine each application and indicate whether any modifications are required or whether they are refusing to register it for whatever reason. For example, if the Trademark Office issues a substantive refusal letter, your costs can increase if you want to respond to it. Choosing not to respond will cause the application to become abandoned. Some refusals can be addressed fairly easily and quickly (such as small modifications to the description of services). Conversely, “substantive refusals,” such as a refusal based on a perceived conflict with another mark, can require several hours of attorney time to craft arguments. Due to the amount of attorney time involved in trying to overcome substantive refusals, costs can increase by over $1000 or more in that case. Applicants have a full 6 months to respond to PTO refusal letters, so you would have time to consider your options if one was issued. Procedures vary outside the U.S.
DISCLAIMER: This article is prepared by lawyers, so of course there is a disclaimer. The above is not legal advice and is presented for information purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed until you formally engage us as your attorneys in writing.