The trademark costs for trademark registration can be somewhat complex, and an understanding of the registration process is required to determine the costs associated with trademark registration that a tech start-up will incur, not only during the registration process, but also as a result of trademark maintenance.

Depending upon the type of application submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the per-class fee for each registration sought will range from $275 to $375, and generally speaking, the fees will be lower for an online application than for a paper application. It is important to keep in mind that the $275 to $375 registration fee is a per-class fee, and to the extent an applicant wishes to obtain trademark rights in several trademark classes, this fee must be paid for each class. If an applicant seeks to obtain a registration in multiple classes, it is also important to consider whether or not the mark is currently being used in commerce in each of the classes for which registration is sought. If a mark is being used in a way that qualifies for one class, but not another, an application may be delayed or rejected, or additional fees will be incurred due to the filing of a request for a six-month extension of time for filing a statement of use under section 1(d)(1), which is also paid per class. The fee associated with the request for an extension is $150.

There are also fees associated with trademark maintenance, some of which will almost certainly be expended during the course of a company’s trademark ownership, and others that will only arise in express circumstances. After a trademark registration has been obtained, additional fees will be incurred in connection with the filing of a Section 8 Affidavit of Continued Use, to be filed between the fifth and sixth year following registration, as well as within the year before the end of every ten-year period after the date of registration. A Section 9 Renewal will also need to be filed within the year before the end of each successive ten-year period following the date of registration, or if that window is missed, then within a six-month grace period thereafter, though the payment of an additional fee will be required. Failure to file either the Section 8 Affidavit or Section 9 Renewal can result in cancellation of a trademark registration. There are also separate fees associated with filings intended to serve as corrections of mistakes or deficiencies in required filings such as Section 8 Affidavits and Section 9 Renewal.

Trademark registrants may choose to file a Section 15 Affidavit of Incontestability after five years of post-registration continuous use in commerce. Such an affidavit will be filed pursuant to having a trademark deemed incontestable, which means that the mark will be more difficult to contest by future applicants or pre-existing registrants. In addition to filing the Section 15 Affidavit of Incontestability and the per class fee of $200, registrants must show that there has been no final legal decision issued against the mark, that no challenge to the mark is pending, and that the mark has not become generic. Registrants should also be mindful of the separate fee schedule for international applications filed under the Madrid Protocol.