So, you need to register a trademark? Here’s a list of three basic ways to go about the process, along with our recommendation of the best way for a small business to handle trademarking.
Option A: DIY – uspto ‘TEAS’ portal
The US Patent and Trademark Office has all the necessary materials and tutorials to submit a filing by oneself.
- Regardless of the final choice, this website will be the source of truth on legal guidelines).
- This tool is the universal database against which we can search for similar trademarks. It is up to us to ensure all legal requirements are fulfilled before filling; If our application is turned in with any mistakes it could delay our approval.
- This infographic gives a detailed rundown of the timelines and potential complications of the trademark approval process.
- According to USPTO’s Fee Schedule, the fee for the initial electronic filing filing is a minimum of $225. This fee will apply in addition to the service fees of the following filing options.
Option B: Hire a lawyer – trademark attorney
As the trademark registration process involves numerous headache-inducing legal checkboxes, the USPTO recommends an experiences trademark attorney to help ensure your filing is done correctly to ensure the quickest approval time.
- UPTO’s resource for finding a private attorney presents a couple money-saving options. University of St. Thomas’s Law School has a clinical program for trademark filings at a reduced rate. This could be an option but we would have to contact them and discuss the specific needs to see if we qualify for their services because USPTO says each school has different guidelines.
- Upcounsel puts the average cost of a private attorney trademark filing at “around $1,000-$2,000 for the general trademark process, but disputes could cost the client an additional $300-$400/hour.”
OPTION C: Online Service – Legal Zoom, Trademark Engine
- Legal Zoom, the most credible source for this kind of online service, starts at $199 for a basic filing (plus the federal fee).
- Trademark Engine charges $69 for a basic filing (plus the federal fee).
This process is incredibly complex; while I love the challenge, this is too daunting of a process to risk making a mistake and having to endure an even more drawn out process.
If this were the next as seen on TV product and we were on the verge of being millionaires I’d say definitely go for a private attorney, but Legal Zoom or Trademark Engine cross the t’s and dot the i’s just fine for our needs.
The next step is to decide if you want to have the extra security of St. Thomas, which may cost more, or if you’d like me to go ahead and begin with an online service.