Technology startups who wish to protect their brand name, slogan, or logo often include filing costs as among the primary considerations that drive their federal trademark application drafting and filing strategy. Unlike patents which can costs $5,000 to $15,000 to issue, trademark filing costs are generally more affordable for technology entrepreneurs to manage and budget for. In the United State Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), three different options are available for new application filings, and each carry a separate filing fee and legal advantages and disadvantages. The type of Federal Trademark Registration application used typically does not impact substantive trademark rights, they only concern the process by which the application is prosecuted.
Three Types of Federal Trademark Application Forms and Filing Fees
The United States Patent and Trademark Office offers applicants three separate options for drafting and filing a federal application: TEAS Plus, TEAS Reduced Fee (TEAS RF), and TEAS Regular.
TEAS Plus is the least expensive and most streamlined application. TEAS RF, does not require filing a complete initial application, but the applicant must agree to conduct correspondence electronically. In exchange for completing all fields in the form marked with a red asterisk, selecting the listing of goods and services from the ID Manual, and agreeing to conduct correspondence electronically, federal trademark applicants receive a heavily reduced filing fee. With TEAS RF, applicants do not have to file a complete initial application, but must agree to conduct correspondence electronically. In exchange, applicants receive a moderately reduced filing fee. And finally, a TEAS Regular application does not require completion of an initial application before filing and correspondence need not be conducted electronically.
The filing fees are as follows:
TEAS: $225 per class of goods/services
TEAS RF: $275 per class of goods/services
TEAS Regular: $400 per class of goods/services
The Best Federal Trademark Filing Strategy for Entrepreneurs and Tech Startups
Most technology startup entrepreneurs prefer using online services to hard copy correspondence for almost all matters, including trademark filing and registration in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This preference for electronic transmissions combined with the lower government filing fee typically makes the TEAS application the most attractive option for federal trademark filing strategy and protection. The main drawback of the TEAS option is that the goods/services listings must be selected from the USPTO Trademark Identification (ID) Manual, however, with consultation from an experienced trademark attorney versed in technology startup business models, using the USPTO Trademark Identification (ID) Manual may actually serve as an advantage because it provides clarity in the description of goods and services, and and potentially avoiding delays due ambiguity or misclassifications.
Budget allocation is an important consideration for any business, particularly technology startups with limited funding and runway. For tech entrepreneurs seeking to protect their brand name, logo, or slogan in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), balancing filing fees with best practices to maximize the scope of protection on a unique name or design is critical if companies want to save on costs and gain the broadest exclusive rights to their name. Because the type of trademark application used to protect the brand name does not impact substantive trademark rights, using the TEAS application can provide substantial savings to tech startups and entrepreneurs, provided the business model is clearly articulated and accurately matches the description of goods and services listed under the trademark.
Author: David N. Sharifi, Esq. is a Los Angeles based intellectual property attorney and technology startup consultant with focuses in entertainment law, emerging technologies, federal trademark registration, and the “Internet of Things”. David has been recognized as one of the Top 30 Most Influential Attorneys in Digital Media and E-Commerce Law by the Los Angeles Business Journal. Office: Ph: 310-751-0181; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The content above is a discussion of legal issues and general information; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be used as such without seeking professional legal counsel. Reading the content above does not create an attorney-client relationship. All trademarks are the property of L.A. Tech & Media Law Firm or their respective owners. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.