Think Fast

By The Numbers

With a filing fee of only $245, a trademark at first seems like a bargain when compared to a patent, which can easily cost more than $5,000 (attorney fees included). There's a catch: You have to pay a separate filing fee for each class in which you want to register your trademark. Trademarks are registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) in 34 product and eight service classes. A trademark applies to a category only if it is registered separately in that category. Inventor Vic Pella might want to register his promotional items under any or all of these categories:

  • Jewelry (Class 14)
  • Paper goods, printed matter (Class 16)
  • Leather goods (Class 18)
  • Housewares (Class 21)
  • Clothing (Class 25)
  • Toys, sporting goods (Class 28)
  • Education, entertainment (Class 41)

He would have to pay $245 multiplied by seven classes, or $1,715. Attorney fees (if needed) can also add up in a hurry. To save money, Pella filed the applications himself and carefully chose his categories--but trademarks were still a major expense.

To learn how to apply for your own trademarks, read the brochure General Information Regarding Trademarks, which can be downloaded from http://www.uspto.gov The PTO's easy-to-use Web site lets you access all the information you'll need to know and lets you conduct patent and trademark searches on your own.

For copyright forms or additional information, visit the U.S. Copyright Office's Web site (http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright).

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This article was originally published in the August 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Think Fast.

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