The USPTO’s proposed trademark fee decrease that I blogged about on May 10, 2014 (“Fresh Air from the Trademark Office“) is now a sure thing. It takes effect on January 17, 2015. You can read the Federal Register notice dated December 16, 2014. (Or you can read the rest of this blog post!)
To understand the fee decrease that will happen January 17, it helps if we first review the present-day fee schedule at the Trademark Office. Start with a paper-filed trademark application, where the cost per trademark class is $375. If you make things easier for the USPTO by e-filing rather than paper-filing, you get a $50 discount down to $325 per trademark class. Then if you (a) pick your goods/services from the ID Manual, and (b) promise never to file things on paper or fax, you get yet another $50 discount down to $275 per trademark class.
That’s how it is now. The change on January 17 will be that to get the $50 discount down to $275 per trademark class, you only need to do (b) and do not need to do (a). And if you do (a), you get yet another $50 discount down to a mere $225 per trademark class.
I’d guess that the vast majority of high-volume filers, and the vast majority of sophisticated filers, will routinely be able to do (b). And so the sort of everyday trademark filing that we all do will drop in price from $325 per class down to $275 per class.
The filers who in the past were sometimes able to file as “Plus”, that is, who were able to do both (a) and (b), will see their fees drop from $275 per class down to $225.
The USPTO terminology is awkward, but here it is. The intermediate filing, the one that gets you down to $275 just by promising not to use paper or fax, will be called an “RF” filing. This stands for “reduced fee”. So the new fee gradations will be:
- paper filing – $375
- TEAS filing – $325
- TEAS RF filing – $275
- TEAS Plus filing – $225
For a filing that you are considering filing in the next few weeks, it might be tempting to postpone the filing until January 17, so as to benefit from the reduced fees. The problem of course is that filing dates often matter a lot. If there are two competing ITU filers, for example, the one who filed first will have a big advantage in later proceedings. If however you have a foreign priority claim that fully supports everything in your imminent US trademark application, and if January 17 still falls within the six-month period defined in Article 4 of the Paris Convention, then you might as well postpone the US filing until January 17, to save on the government fees.
[Trick that won’t really work has been deleted from this posting.]
There is one other nice thing in this fee decrease, and it relates to the renewals that owners of US trademark registrations have to file every ten years. Those renewals, if e-filed on or after January 17 rather than paper-filed, will cost only $300 rather than the familiar $400 of the present day. Clearly if you have a ten-year renewal coming up and if January 17 falls within your ten-year period, you may wish to postpone your renewal filing until January 17.