How Much Does a Trademark Lawyer Cost?

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.

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 pre-set list. The fee also applies if you file the application electronically. If you file an application for a good or service that is not included on this list of 45 classes, it could cost more. If you chose your own text or explanation, then the increased application fee is to $275. Most trademark applications include a single class from the list of 45 classes.

Here's a simple 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 chose your classes carefully in the application. After filing the application, it is possible to cut classes from the application. But, 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 that they have started to use their trademark in their 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 be 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, and 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 that
  • Transfer and Assignment Agreement, that enables a trademark owner to transfer the rights and ownership

Although some attorneys charge their trademark lawyer cost with a flat fee, some attorneys might charge more. These attorneys charge for the time spent reviewing any questions you have. Or, they might charge for advising on your trademark strategy, reporting on the status of your trademark application, or reviewing the registration certificate. These charges can cost more because they are not on a flat fee. All in, a trademark registration can cost over $2,500. But, these trademark lawyer costs are important. There is a lot of 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. But, 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 that 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, though, 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 their concerns.

Trademark Maintenance Costs

After the registering the trademark, businesses will also have some costs to maintain the trademark registration and 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 more cheaper too. But, 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.

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 because of improper filing or incomplete applications.
  • On average it takes between one and three years to complete a trademark application and 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 make sure your trademark application is successful. The filing of an application is an important part. But, 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 make sure 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 their experience, it's also possible that 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. And, their service ensures you fill out the forms correctly.

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 a lot 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. But, 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 a lot of cross references. It is a mess to figure out.

Even after filing, every trademark application must pass a complicated review process by federal government employees. 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 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 that 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. But, 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 decide to 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 they do 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. They set up a time to talk with the Examining Attorney at the USPTO to understand the issues. Then, your trademark attorney re-files 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, and 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 $1500 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.

Common Mistakes

Many business owners make the common mistake of attempting to file and prosecute their own trademark applications. Often times 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 re-apply, could be more than if you had hired an attorney to properly file the application 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 like 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 their brand if they do not properly protect their 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 they can select an improper filing basis. They might send an improper trademark specimen. They might rely too much on the suggestions of the USPTO Examining Attorney. Also, an improperly filed application might not be enforceable, and could be subject to cancellation.

Some business owners might not understand the requirements for using your 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 you file the trademark application. The registration process might take up to two years. And, 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 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 asked by the Examining Attorney.

  • Do I need a lawyer to register a trademark?

It is possible to file a trademark application directly through the USPTO website. But, 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 ask your question or talk about your concern 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, Stripe, and Twilio.