There are many different things that can affect how much a trademark costs
Below we take a look at the key factors involved. Read on!
Words by Dr. Martin Douglas Hendry
How much does it cost to file a trademark application?
So, you are looking to file a trademark (or as we say in the UK "trade mark") - congratulations!
Registering a trademark is not free and there are a number of factors that influence how much it costs.
In this quick answer guide, I will take you through what the main factors are and how this may affect the cost of securing your brand.
These costs include:
- Official fees that are paid to the relevant intellectual property office (non-refundable if the trade mark fails to be registered)
- Professional fees that are paid to solicitors and trademark attorneys to make sure the trademark is as strong a brand and likely to be registered as possible
- Agents fees, in the case of a trademark being registered in a different country
I will explain more below.
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How much does it cost to trademark a name in the UK
The cheapest possible UK trade mark costs (1 mark in 1 class) £170.
If you are looking to register the trademark in additional classes (e.g. it could be a computer company, registered also for clothing, if the brand would be used on merchandise) there is an additional fee of £50 per class.
In this case, £170 (plus £50 per class) is paid to the IPO to submit a trademark application.
This cost does not include any professional advice from trademark attorneys who:
- review the trademark to make sure that it is something that will be accepted by the examiner and is aligned with trademark law.
- undertake a clearance search to make sure that there are no identical or similar marks on the register which could result in a trademark opposition.
Trademark opposition proceedings can stall the process of securing a trademark registration, at best.
They can be costly and should the other side be successful - result in the application being rejected with loss of application fees.
In addition to this, if the trademark is already be being used, in the worst-case scenario this may result in the opposer then seeking redress under trademark infringement proceedings.
Most businesses utilise intellectual property solicitors or trade mark attorneys - as the length of time it takes to secure a trade mark and the potential risks of getting it wrong can be costly.
A £170 application without assistance is a "shot in the dark" carries a risk of:
- Failed registration and loss of fees
- A weak brand that does not protect your desired usage
- Opposition from an existing trademark owner with an identical or similar mark
- Trademark infringement proceedings from existing trademark owners
A comprehensively compiled trademark application requires a budget of £700-1200 for one class with a proportionate uplift for additional classes - should thorough diligence be applied to the clearance search and application.
How much does it cost to register a trademark internationally?
Many businesses seek to protect their brand internationally.
This is becoming more common, as businesses find a lot of exposure online and on social media platforms.
This means that they grow their reputation across borders faster than ever.
Protecting a trademark internationally requires a tactical approach as "a blanket" style registration will be challenging in terms of likelihood of success and associated cost.
There is no "world trademark"! Instead, a trademark is registered in individual countries or groups of countries (e.g. an EU trademark covering the EU).
Typically, the best approach is a staggered one that focuses on key marketplaces in sequence - though there are a number of approaches that can be taken to gain coverage quickly and at the most efficient cost.
The WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation) offer trademark applicants the possibility of an expansive international trademark registration via the Madrid System.
Here a single set of fees are paid to the WIPO with an expansion of cost depending on the number of jurisdictions and classifications you are registering in.
It is important to also note that applications to each country will be examined in accordance with their own national laws and regulations and as such typically require an agent well versed in local law to administer successfully.
Again a trademark application with international exposure is proportionally exposed to the risk of opposition or infringement proceedings if undertaken incorrectly. As such, most people will instruct specialists who are experienced in international registrations and searches.
It is difficult to imagine an international trademark being registered with a budget of less than £3000 - and the cost is dependant on the trademark being sought, classifications, and jurisdictions.
Notably, however, a worldwide brand is an incredibly valuable asset that generates goodwill and revenue far beyond the cost of registration should it be done inline with commercial strategy.
Because of this, it is often more commercially appropriate for businesses to work with a trademark lawyer to build up their trademark protection in priority countries on a sequential basis and in line with profits derived and reinvested into the brand.
How much does a US trademark cost?
The United States is an important market for many businesses.
To protect a trademark in the US, the owner must file an application at the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) is required.
If you have filed a pre-existing trademark with a UK law firm, they will typically be able to register your US trademark via trusted local trademark agents in the US.
A single trademark in a single class in the US costs $1050 to register without any professional fees or agents fees involved.
Depending on the trademark in question, and the classification being sought for protection, a minimum budget of £1350 is a good place to start when seeking to register a US trademark.
Note also that only a US trademark agent can respond to objections raised by the USPTO when the application is examined.
In addition to this, the US trademark registry is one of the most congested in the world and within a litigious environment. As such it is important to be sure that your trademark application is prepared properly before filing.
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Disclaimer: This FAQ should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only. You are urged to consult your own solicitor on any specific legal questions you may have.