Trademark Lawyer Cost: Everything You Need To KnowTrademark Law ResourcesTypes of TrademarksHow To Register A TrademarkTrademark Search
A trademark lawyer costs around $1,000-$2,000 for the general trademark process, but disputes could cost the client an additional $300-$400/hour.16 min read
Updated June 24, 2020:
How Much Does a Trademark Lawyer Cost?
A trademark lawyer costs around $1,000 to $2,000 for the general trademark process, but disputes could cost the client an additional $300 $400 an hour.
Some of the trademark lawyer costs you may see include:
- Filing fees for the trademark application.
- Government costs charged by the USPTO.
- Flat-fee trademark lawyer costs.
- Trademark attorney fees.
- Maintenance costs.
Types of Costs
Registering a federal trademark in the United States includes several costs. First, a business owner pays fees to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (the "USPTO"). These fees are sometimes called "costs" or "official fees." Second, a client might pay fees to a trademark attorney. This trademark attorney manages the process of registering a trademark. The attorney makes sure you avoid mistakes that could affect the usefulness of the trademark.
There are different types of costs involved in registering a trademark. The federal government sets some of these costs. They are the fixed costs that will apply anytime you file a trademark application.
There are also relevant costs. Relevant costs are those that differ based on possible alternatives. These relevant costs are important to your decision on how to acquire your trademark. The most common relevant costs are involved with your decision on whether to hire a trademark attorney to handle the process for you.
The USPTO charges a fee to file a new trademark application. The cost for filing the trademark application depends on how you file the application and how many classes of goods or services you include in the application. The USPTO has a specific list of goods and services divided into 45 different classes.
The fee is $225 for every class you include from this list of 45 classes. The $225 fee applies if you choose your goods and services from this preset list. The fee also applies if you file the application electronically. If you file an application for a good or a service not included on this list of 45 classes, it could cost more. If you choose your own text or explanation, then the increased application fee is $275. Most trademark applications include a single class from the list of 45 classes.
For example, let's say you want to register a trademark for jewelry and clothing. The list includes jewelry as Class 14. The list includes clothing as Class 25. The USPTO trademark application fee would be $550. You pay this fee directly to the USPTO when you file your application. Be sure to choose your classes carefully in the application. After filing the application, it is possible to cut classes from the application. However, the USPTO will not issue a refund of any filing fees paid.
Statement of Use Fee
In addition to the application fees, it's possible that a business owner must pay a Statement of Use fee. You can file a trademark application in two ways. First, it is possible to file a trademark application because you have already used the mark to sell goods or services. Second, it is possible that you plan to sell the goods or services in the future. If you haven't yet sold the goods or services, then you will need a Statement of Use.
A Statement of Use is a declaration from the business owner that swears he or she has started to use his or her trademark in the business. This Statement of Use is filed at the end of the application process. You file the Statement of Use about seven to nine months after filing the first application. The USPTO will tell an applicant when the Statement of Use is due. There is a fee to file the Statement of Use. The fee is $100 for each class of goods in the original application.
Trademark Lawyer Flat Fees
In addition to the fees paid to the government for the application and Statement of Use, attorney fees are an extra cost. Some attorneys can file a trademark application for you for a flat fee. This flat fee might fall between $300 and $1000 per application.
The flat fee includes the cost for the attorney to prepare the application, too. If you want to file an application for multiple classes though, the flat fee might be more. It's important to understand the services the attorney will offer for the flat fee. Make sure the attorney:
- Prepares the form.
- Reviews the application thoroughly.
- Files the form for you.
Some attorneys will just fill in the forms, but there is more to it than that.
If your trademark lawyer cost includes a flat fee, it is important to understand what services the flat fee includes. Here is a list of actions that a trademark lawyer might need to do:
- Filing the trademark application with the USPTO.
- A basic federal trademark search of the federal trademark database.
- A comprehensive federal trademark search.
- Digitization and compilation of your trademark specimens and designs.
- Email delivery of your trademark application.
- An electronic copy of your trademark application.
- Any required cease and desist letters.
- Transfer and Assignment Agreement, which enables a trademark owner to transfer the rights and the ownership.
Although some attorneys charge their trademark lawyer cost with a flat fee, others might charge more. These attorneys charge for the time spent reviewing any questions you have. Alternatively, they might charge for:
- Advising on your trademark strategy.
- Reporting on the status of your trademark application.
- Reviewing the registration certificate.
These charges can cost more because they are not on a flat fee. Overall, a trademark registration can cost over $2,500. However, these trademark lawyer costs are important. There is ample work that still needs to occur after a trademark application is filed.
Before even filing a trademark application, it is important to conduct a thorough trademark search. This search might show trademark registrations for products that are like yours. These products might be using similar logos or branding. This similarity might make it difficult for you to use your trademark. Some flat-fee arrangements will include a simple trademark search. However, your trademark lawyer can conduct a more comprehensive search.
Are There Costs After I File?
A flat fee arrangement might not include services the lawyer performs after he or she files the application. For instance, in the event your application is not accepted, further action will be required to resolve the refusal. After the review is complete, the Trademark Examiner (also known as the Examining Attorney) might issue an official letter refusing your application. This letter is called an Office Action.
Sometimes it's easy to overcome this first refusal. But sometimes, it is more difficult to overcome this hurdle. It is possible a lawyer needs to conduct legal research. It is also possible an attorney will need to prepare formal legal arguments.
If an attorney helps to respond to the Office Action, the attorney might charge between $200 and $2,000 to prepare the response. The cost depends on the time and effort required to prepare the response. The USPTO does not charge any more fees when a business owner responds to an Office Action. Most business owners expect to receive at least one Office Action, possibly more. The attorney must file the response within six months. If the Examining Attorney is not happy with the response, the lawyer must prepare another letter to reply to the concerns.
Trademark Maintenance Costs
After the registering the trademark, businesses will also have some costs to maintain the trademark registration and to avoid cancellation. Five years after registering the trademark, you will need to file a Declaration of Continued Use. This Declaration proves to the USPTO that you are still using the trademark in your business. The Declaration will include a sample to show how the mark is used on the goods. The USPTO charges $100 per class of good or service for filing the Declaration of Continued Use.
Then, nine years after trademark registration, you must renew your trademark. To renew your trademark, you must file an Application for Renewal. The USPTO charges $500 per class of good or service for filing the Application for Renewal.
In addition to registering a trademark with the USPTO, it is also possible to register a trademark in each state. Registering a trademark with the USPTO is more difficult than registering it in a state. A state registration is cheaper, too. However, registering a trademark with a state is also less useful. It is usually better for business owners to receive a federal trademark registration. There are more costs that will apply if a business owner seeks to secure international trademark protection under the Madrid Protocols.
Summary of Trademark Costs
Trademark costs will vary depending on how you file it.
How Much Does a Trademark Cost When You File It Yourself?
If you file a trademark yourself, you can expect to spend anywhere from $225 to $400. There's a free trademark search tool you can use to help you with this. The cost will differ depending on the application requirements and whether you fill out a paper or electronic application. There's an application fee for a trademark in one class.
How Much Does a Trademark Cost When You Use an Online Legal Service?
If you file using an online legal service, the fee will be about $500. They'll perform a trademark search and review your trademark specimen. They'll also prepare and submit your application and send in a digital copy of the application. Depending on how extensive the trademark search is, the cost may be affected.
How Much Does a Trademark Cost When You Hire a Lawyer?
When you file a trademark using a lawyer, the fee can be anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000. You'll get personalized feedback on your trademark that you're registering, and they can perform a detailed search including internet, web domains, and state level. They'll also prepare and submit your application, as well as respond to any complications that arise during this application process from the USPTO. Any issues that come up during the application process and how extensive the trademark search is will greatly affect your total cost.
What Are the Basic Fees When Involved in USPTO Trademark Registration?
Depending on what form you file, the USPTO will charge $225, $275, or $400. You can file through the Trademark Electronic Application System, or TEAS, as well as through the mail with a paper application. TEAS Plus is the cheapest option and requires you to file electronically. There are extra requirements for the requirement such as:
- Additional statements
The middle option is TEAS Reduced Fee, which is filed online but has fewer requirements than TEAS Plus. TEAS Regular is the most expensive option and doesn't have any extra requirements; you can file it on paper. You should know that the trademark fees are for one class and a single trademark.
What Are the Filing Conditions Required to Qualify for a Teas Plus Trademark Application?
To qualify for a TEAS Plus trademark application, you need to meet certain filing conditions by including the following with the application:
- Give the owner's name, email, and address.
- Let the Trademark Office communicate with you through email.
- Describe your services or goods in a way that is in line with the USPTO's Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual.
- Have an authorization form that's signed if your mark has a living person's name.
- State if the trademark has a design of the trademark. List if there are one or more terms that aren't in English in your trademark and translate them.
This isn't an exhaustive list, which means there can be other reasons you would be disqualified from obtaining TEAS Plus Application status. To figure out if you qualify for it, you should connect with an attorney before you file the trademark. In case you try to file the application based on the TEAS Plus Application and the examiner says you haven't met the filing requirements, you can later pay $50 to amend the application to the regular TEAS one.
You should note that this will cause a further delay in the application, and you'll need to have a timely response in paying the extra fee to the Office Action before your application gets approved.
How Much Is the Resubmission Fee?
There is a $125 resubmission fee for two of the three USPTO application forms if an application is incomplete or incorrect. This is another reason using a lawyer will save you money, as he or she will fill it out correctly the first time.
Why Is a Trademark Lawyer Important?
- A trademark lawyer already knows the entire process and what the Examining Attorney looks at for trademark approval.
- Over 50 percent of trademark filings each year are rejected, normally due to improper filing or incomplete applications.
- On average, it takes between one and three years to complete a trademark application and to receive registration.
If more work is needed outside of the general trademark application filing process, expect to pay between $300 to $400 an hour for continued help. Even though this might seem expensive, trademark attorneys can offer an invaluable service.
A trademark lawyer can conduct an extensive trademark search. This search will go beyond a basic search to make sure your trademark doesn't infringe on other trademarks. A trademark lawyer will conduct a comprehensive search to include federal, state, and common law trademarks, often using professional software. These searches work to find any potential issues that could arise in your trademark filing.
A trademark lawyer can tell the strength and uniqueness of your trademark. They can offer a quality trademark assessment. They can suggest changes to help make your trademark stronger. They can offer advice on how to use your name or logo in a way that won't prevent you from receiving your trademark. These trademark attorney consultations can answer any questions you have about the process for registration. Also, if the trademark search uncovers a problem with your mark, many attorneys will offer a second, complimentary search on a different trademark.
A trademark lawyer can also conduct all the prep work ahead of time to ensure your trademark application is successful. The filing of an application is an important part. However, the words of the applications and the format are more important. If your application is not prepared correctly and worded appropriately, the application might be rejected. A good trademark lawyer will know how to present your trademark to ensure it has a good chance of acceptance and registration. An experienced trademark attorney can prepare your application for your review and approval, avoiding any potential issues with the registration process.
Reasons to Consider Not Using a Trademark Lawyer
There are three main ways to file a trademark:
- You can do it yourself.
- You can use an online filing website.
- You can hire a trademark lawyer.
Although hiring a trademark attorney is recommended based on his or her experience, it's also possible you could save money in the long run.
If you decide to file your trademark application yourself, this is the cheapest option. You can go to the USPTO website and fill out the online form. The application could cost as little as $225.
It's also possible to use an online filing website to file your trademark application. Even their most comprehensive option will include a basic trademark search. Moreover, their service ensures you fill out the forms correctly.
What Are the Reasons Not to Use an Online Legal Service?
You may not want to use a legal service online for several reasons. They might charge you to do a comprehensive search, but this indicates they won't do a thorough search in the first place. It can be more advantageous to use a lawyer in this case. You also can't get the same feedback and advice from an online legal service that you'd get from a lawyer. This is a big reason that trademark registrations get denied, as they're not distinctive enough.
Statistics show that almost half of the trademark applications are rejected. This means you'll need a lawyer to help you fix any issues or complications, which would be easier if you just began with a lawyer. It will save you time as well.
Reasons to Consider Using a Trademark Lawyer
A trademark is one of the most important assets to your business. Properly registering a trademark is a complex process that takes ample time. This is particularly true if you go the do-it-yourself option without a qualified trademark lawyer.
The process of filing a trademark application with the USPTO sounds simple enough. Like many government agencies, the USPTO offers the forms and instructions right on their website. However, the process and forms are very complicated. The forms are filled with legal jargon. Even the USPTO application recommends that you hire an attorney to help you.
The USPTO has a guidebook to help business owners file applications. But it is long and complicated, with 19 sections. Each section is about four to five pages long. There are many cross references. It can be a mess to figure out.
Even after filing, every trademark application must pass a complicated review process that federal government employees conduct. It's important to know what these employees look for in an application.
These filing websites cannot give legal advice or counsel on how to file a proper trademark registration. In today's world, many business owners make a mistake by depending on the internet, instead of an attorney, to give important legal advice. Many business owners find that in trying to save money on some trademark lawyer costs, it will cost them more in the long term in both time and money. There is no substitute for hiring a qualified trademark lawyer to help with your registration.
What Could Happen When You Do Use a Trademark Lawyer?
Four factors affect your trademark lawyer cost:
- The lawyer's hourly rate.
- The number of hours it takes the lawyer to file the application.
- The cost for secondary services, including performing a trademark search.
- The USPTO's required fees.
It's possible to come up with an estimate for your trademark lawyer cost by looking at the lawyer's hourly rate, his or her estimate on how many hours the project will take, and the estimated filing fees. If you want to control or lower your costs, it is important to communicate with your lawyer. If you communicate well and support the trademark lawyer in the application process, it is more likely you will work well together and file a great trademark application.
If you are considering an attorney on a flat-fee basis, be clear up front about what is included and what is not included in that flat fee. Be sure to tell the lawyer about what trademark is to be protected. It is also important to understand how additional work that falls outside of the flat-fee agreement will be charged. Ask what the hourly cost will be.
It is also important to understand that once you file the trademark application, that's just the beginning of the process. There will be at least some communications with the USPTO after the filing. These communications will mean more time and added fees. These costs probably aren't covered under a flat-fee arrangement. However, it's important to understand the costs up front.
What Could Happen When You Don't Use a Trademark Lawyer?
Let's say you decide not to take on trademark lawyer costs and instead use an online filing website to register your trademark. The fee for the online filing service, plus the USPTO filing fee, means you can file your trademark application for less than $500.
About six months after filing though, you receive a notice that the USPTO rejected your trademark application. The Examining Attorney says the trademark is too general. The online filing website did not flag this as an issue because it does not conduct a trademark viability assessment.
At this point, you might need to hire a trademark lawyer to explain the issue to you. They lawyer reviews your original application. He or she sets up a time to talk with the Examining Attorney at the USPTO to understand the issues. Then, your trademark attorney refiles the trademark registration.
The lawyer will bill all of the time it took to fix the earlier issue. In the end, your trademark lawyer costs will include:
- Another filing fee.
- The standard lawyer fees.
- The extra billed hours for fixing the old application.
This was on top of the $500 originally spent on the first application. In the end, you could spend an extra $1,500 or more by trying to file the trademark application on your own. In addition to these real costs, it also cost the time you personally spent on your trademark application and not building your new business.
Many business owners make the common mistake of attempting to file and prosecute their own trademark applications. Often, business owners are small companies in their early stages, and they are trying to watch their costs. If the USPTO rejects your trademark, the cost to fix the application and defend the trademark, or to reapply, could be more than if you had hired an attorney to file the application properly in the first place.
Business owners make the mistake of thinking that filing a trademark application is a simple process, but it can get complicated. A company such as Coca-Cola has hundreds of trademarks in the United States alone. The value of their trademarks lies in the consumer knowing that no matter where they drink the soda, it will be a quality product. It is a way for the consumer to trust the source of a particular good or service.
A trademark owner may be subject to the danger of inferior goods being associated with his or her brand if the owner does not properly protect his or her trademark. This can cause confusion in the market.
By hiring a qualified trademark lawyer, you can avoid some of the most common issues with trademark applications. When a business owner goes the do-it-yourself route, it is possible he or she can select an improper filing basis. The owner might send an improper trademark specimen or rely too much on the suggestions of the USPTO Examining Attorney. Also, an improperly filed application might not be enforceable, and it could be subject to cancellation.
Some business owners might not understand the requirements for using their mark on a good or service that crosses state lines. If your brand is not used in interstate commerce, even if the Examining Attorney approves the registration, you could face challenges later because that trademark might have little or no rights attached to it.
It's important to ask your trademark lawyer to explain the trademark registration process to you clearly. Some business owners don't understand how the USPTO fees work. They also may not understand what costs could come up after they file the trademark application. The registration process might take up to two years. Moreover, costs will come up during the time your application is pending with the USPTO. Talking with your trademark lawyer will help you understand the process better and avoid these common mistakes.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What does it cost to register a trademark?
The cost to file an application with the USPTO can be as little as $225. But the total trademark lawyer cost could be more than $1,500. This includes lawyer fees to file the application and to manage the process after registration.
- How long does it take to register a trademark?
It can take from 18 to 36 months to receive trademark registration, depending on the follow-up questions and issues the Examining Attorney asks.
- Do I need a lawyer to register a trademark?
It is possible to file a trademark application directly through the USPTO website. However, even the USPTO recommends hiring a trademark lawyer to help with the process.
- What is the difference between a basic, do-it-yourself trademark search and a professional, comprehensive trademark search?
A comprehensive trademark search will give more information, including data from the USPTO and state trademark offices. It will also include domain name searches, trade press, trade directories, and other websites.
If you need help understanding how much a trademark lawyer costs, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or for companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.