Last year the United States Patent and Trademark Office collected $137.7 million in revenue for trademark-related filing fees and services. Trademark registrations can be an extremely costly process for many entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Related: How to Avoid Trademark Infringement
Here are three ways to save when registering a trademark:
1. Apply online. The trademark office provides applicants the option of submitting an application online or filing a paper application. A reduced filing fee is available to those who apply online. It costs $375 to file a paper application versus $275 to complete an electronic one. Because of the lower cost involved, more and more applicants are submitting applications online. Of the 106,123 trademark applications filed in the first quarter of this year, only 637 of them were paper ones. That's just .06 percent.
2. Limit the number of goods and services. Applicants are required to specify on an application the goods and services that the trademark will protect (such as hats or shirts). Understand that the filing fee is set per good or per service, meaning that if someone registers a mark in connection with just one good, the fee is $275. If it's registered for 10 goods, the fee jumps to $2,750.
One way to reduce costs is to limit the number of goods and services listed on an application. Think strategically about current and future uses for a trademark before haphazardly listing an exorbitant number of goods and services.
3. Use the trademark. The law requires applicants to demonstrate use of the trademark in interstate commerce prior to receiving a trademark registration. The interstate commerce requirement is fulfilled when the applicant uses the mark on goods that have been sold and transported across state lines or sells services to customers in other states or countries.
If someone hasn’t yet used the mark in interstate commerce but has a bona fide intention to do so, the trademark office will allow for filing an application on an “intent-to-use” basis. But more fees will acrue with this type of filing. With such a designation, additional filing fees must be paid once the mark is used in interstate commerce. If time is not of the essence, people can wait to submit their applications until after the trademark has been used in interstate commerce.