Each year, U.S. businesses pour millions of dollars into marketing and branding efforts.
In today's business climate, the ability to quickly identify products in the marketplace can make the difference between bottom line success and an unproductive business model.
Trademarks protect the words, phrases, symbols, and logos your company uses to make your products easily identifiable by consumers. Without a trademark, competitors could employ identical or similar branding characteristics to hijack your share of the market. One of the easiest ways this is accomplished is when new entrants to market create a company name that is similar to a market leader (e.g. a startup fast food restaurant named "McDowells").
Although a trademark is technically free, trademarks gain real legal teeth when they are registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) – and that's where the costs really start to add up.
The filing fees associated with a registered patent application are based on the nature of the application. First-time applicants can expect to pay a filing fee of $325 for each class of goods and services described in the application when the applicant files with TEAS (Trademark Electronic Application System). If the application is filed with a paper form, the cost goes up to $375 per class.
Trademark Attorney Fees
You are not legally required to employ a trademark attorney to file a registration application. But in reality, you would be a fool not to solicit qualified legal counsel to assist with the application process. Trademark applications, searches, and filings can become complicated quickly. Trademark attorney fees vary, but expect to pay hundreds of dollars or more for first-rate legal assistance.
Trademark Infringement Suits
The registration of a trademark creates the potential for additional costs in the form of a trademark infringement lawsuit. Registered trademarks provide additional legal security for your mark and should reduce the amount of resources that are needed to legally defend your mark. Even so, you'll need to be prepared for the ongoing costs that may be necessary to enforce your trademark in the marketplace.