How Much Does it Cost to Trademark a Business Name?

By Lori Lapidario

A company’s name and trademark are probably two of its most important properties. Generally, most startup business owners’ first step into commerce is to establish their business name, which they may also register as their trademark. First, they need to decide what type of business entity is appropriate for their needs and register it with either the state or county, as required. Next, they need to determine their intellectual property needs, such as costs of registering their chosen name as a trademark.

Use Vs. Registration

Many people don’t realize that registration of a trademark does not establish trademark rights. Rather, trademark rights are established through use of the mark. Registration, however, gives public notice of trademark ownership. A state trademark registration gives public notice of ownership in that particular state. A federal trademark registration, on the other hand, is broader and gives public notice of ownership within the United States. Trademark registrations also give owners an advantage when it becomes necessary to enforce their trademark rights. However, trademark registrations can be costly.

Name Availability

The first thing a business owner must do is to search the availability of his desired trademark. Not doing a proper search could lead to receiving a cease and desist letter from a disgruntled trademark owner in the future, which could lead to higher business expenses. The best way to do a search is to seek the aid of a trademark attorney. Oftentimes, they can provide a thorough search and opinion for a few hundred dollars. For owners seeking to do business in interstate commerce, a full search might be in order; typically done by a trademark research company for about $500 and up, plus the cost of having an attorney review the search results and provide an opinion, which may bring the total cost to $1,500 or more.

Protect your brand. Register My Trademark Now

Federal Registration Costs

If a business owner is interested in interstate commerce, a federal registration may be the best way to go. As of 2012, the government filing fee starts at $275 per international class and may be filed electronically; filing fees for applications filed by paper are $375 per international class. Updated fee schedules are available by checking the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. During trademark prosecution, which is the period when a trademark application is being examined, the U.S.Trademark Examiner may issue office actions that need to be responded to. If the owner-applicant hired an attorney to execute the application, he must budget for both attorney fees and the expenses associated with filing responses to these office actions. After the trademark registration issues, maintenance costs must also be considered, for example, costs associated with filing the Affidavit of Continued Use between the fifth and sixth year after registration, and filing trademark renewal applications between the ninth and tenth year after registration as well as every 10 years thereafter.

State Registration Costs

Business owners may also file for trademark registration at the state level. Filing fees vary by state and typically range from $10 - $100. State trademark examiners may also issue office actions which need to be responded to. Renewal of trademark registrations typically vary between every five years up to every 20 years. More information may be obtained by visiting the Secretary of State's office for your particular state of interest.

Protect your brand. Register My Trademark Now
Trademark Owner's Responsibilities
 

References

Related articles

How to Identify a Copyright

Identifying items that are copyrighted can help you avoid committing copyright infringement, and locating the owner of a copyright is vital if you would like to purchase a license enabling you to use a copyrighted item. The U.S. Copyright Office provides a list of registered copyrighted items and is an excellent starting point for locating copyright owners. However, an owner does not have to register copyrights to own the rights to its item, so it's vital to look for other clues that an item might be copyrighted.

How to Get Permission to Sell Crafts With a Trademark

In order to get permission to sell crafts using the trademark of a third party you will need to negotiate a trademark license with the holder of the appropriate trademark. Some organizations may be happy to license their marks for use free of charge provided that you identify the appropriate source of the trademark. Other organizations may require that you provide them with a sample of the crafts you intend to sell or other guarantees that you will not misuse their mark.

How to Legally Trademark a Band Name

Like any other word or phrase used to identify a particular product or service, a band can register its name as a trademark in the United States. Registering the trademark allows the band to prevent others from using its name for commercial purposes. It also allows the band to license its trademarked name to others, offering them a limited chance to use the name in exchange for a fee. You should register band names with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

File a Trademark Online. LegalZoom. Learn More.

Related articles

How to Apply for a Trademark

A trademark is a distinct design, symbol and/or phrase that distinguishes and identifies the services and goods of a ...

How Do I Know If I'm Violating a Trademark?

A trademark identifies and distinguishes the origin of a product or service in the marketplace. It uses either a word, ...

How to Use TESS for Trademark

A trademark is a unique symbol, phrase or word used to distinguish one brand of goods or services from another. ...

How to Check for DBA (Doing Business As) Names

Business owners who use a name other than their own name are using a DBA, which is short for “doing business as” and ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED