Using phrases and slogans can be a key business strategy in obtaining and maintaining recognition for your brand, company, or services. If you do use a phrase, you typically will want to file for federal trademark protection with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
If you are looking to trademark a phrase, including your company’s slogan, it is important to understand how much this endeavor will cost you.
How Much Does It Cost to Trademark a Phrase?
In reality, trademarking a phrase involves more costs than just the simple trademark application you will file with the USPTO. Even before you file your trademark registration, there are important steps to take to ensure the best and most complete protection for your phrase.
So how much does it cost? Before exploring that, let’s discuss the importance of trademarking a phrase.
Why Trademark a Phrase?
Trademarking a phrase reserves your rights to use that phrase in the marketplace and protects your intellectual property rights. It gives you legal rights to stop others from using that phrase in the marketplace, which can be a huge advantage if your competitor is trying to market off of your intellectual property and success.
Trademarking a phrase is especially important so that you can shut down another company’s use of the phrase before it gains greater brand recognition and association with that phrase.
Costs to Trademark a Phrase
How much does it cost to trademark your phrase? There are multiple components that go into the costs that add up when you go to trademark your business’s key slogan or phrase to help protect your business name and intellectual property.
Costs of Conducting a Trademark Search
One of the first steps, when you are looking to trademark your phrase, is to take some time and conduct searches throughout the USPTO trademark databases. The USPTO has a database that contains all of the trademarks registered with the office called the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).
It is important to conduct thorough searches within the TESS database to make sure there are no identical or very similar phrases that have already been trademarked. The TESS database also shows you the types of goods and services that the phrase may be used to support, which can help you make judgment calls on how similar a phrase is.
There is no cost to use the TESS database. However, navigating the database can be tricky. If the search you conduct is not thorough, there is a good chance you will miss a trademark that could block your trademark application. Any slightly misspelled word can mean that on-point options are not returned in searches.
This is why it can be important to hire an intellectual property attorney who is experienced with the TESS database and can conduct the most thorough and comprehensive search possible to make sure your trademark application will be on the best footing.
Costs for hiring a trademark attorney to conduct searches can typically range anywhere between $500 to $3,000 depending on the attorney and the complexity of your phrase.
Costs to Hire a Trademark Attorney
In general, it can be a good idea to hire a trademark attorney to assist you throughout the process of obtaining a trademark for your phrase.
A trademark attorney can provide you with strategic advice throughout the lifetime of your trademark application, from helping you decide how successful your application will be, to communicating with the USPTO, to finally obtaining the trademark.
Trademark attorneys can provide the background and skill, and it’s important to get an attorney you are comfortable with and confident in. Costs can typically range between $1,000 to $5,000 depending on how long the trademarking process takes.
This includes how complicated the trademark searches are and how much communication is needed with the USPTO.
Costs to File Your Trademark Application
The filing fees to file your trademark application with the USPTO are set by the USPTO. Your trademark application will be submitted through the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).
There are different types of registrations that can be submitted to the TEAS. The cost of your trademark application will depend on the type of application you submit within TEAS.
There are two types of TEAS applications:
- TEAS Regular
- TEAS Plus
The TEAS Regular application (which used to be called TEAS RF) provides the option of using a custom description of your goods or services in the application. This can help distinguish your goods or services from similar ones that could otherwise be a deterrent for approving your application.
The TEAS Plus application requires you to pick the type of goods or service your trademark falls into from a specific, preset list of choices. These choices are listed out in the Trademark ID Manual.
The filing fees vary between the two applications:
- TEAS Regular: $350 per class of goods or services
- TEAS Plus: $250 per class of goods or services
Thus, the TEAS Plus application is actually cheaper than the TEAS Regular because you are not able to provide a custom description. You will want to take a look through the Trademark ID Manual and see how well your specific goods or services fall into the preset choices.
If the phrase does easily not fall into one of the categories, the TEAS Standard may be a better option for you.
The cost is per class of goods and services that you identify in the application for your phrase. This means if you choose to mark two different types of goods as the underlying classification for your phrase, then you will need to pay $500 if you file a TEAS Plus application and $700 for a TEAS Regular application.
If you have not used your phrase in the marketplace yet, you can still file a trademark application and obtain trademark approval from the USPTO so long as you have a good faith intention to use the phrase in commerce in the near future.
This is called an intent-to-use trademark application. There may be additional fees if you file an intent-to-use trademark application. If you have not used your trademark in commerce by the time the USPTO approves your trademark application, then you will need to pay an additional $125 per class of goods or services to file an extension request. These extension requests are typically good for six months.
Costs Following Approval of Your Trademark Application
Once your trademark has been approved, there are costs associated with maintaining and renewal of your trademark. You need to file the following forms and pay the following costs:
- File a Declaration of Continued Use after 5 Years: $225 per class
- File a Declaration of Continued Use after 5 years combined with a Declaration of Incontestability: $425 per class
- File a Declaration of Continued Use and Application for Renewal every 10 years: $525 per class
- File a Declaration of Incontestability: $200 per class