The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) first announced that trademark filing fees would be increasing in August 2019 but delayed rolling out the increase due to the pandemic. In August 2020, the new Commissioner of Trademarks announced that the increase would become effective January 2, 2021 without announcing the specific fee structure. The USPTO has not raised fees since 2017. Although new trademark application filings are at an all-time high, and many small businesses are still recovering from the pandemic, the USPTO reports that this fee increase is necessary to allow the USPTO and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) to continue to operate efficiently and offer timely customer service to trademark owners. Both members of the trademark bar and industry trade groups had an opportunity to comment on the proposed fees over the past year, and in some instances, the USPTO took those comments into consideration before adopting the final schedule of fees. Because of the USPTO’s strong preference (and in some instances requirement) for electronic filing , we do not address any of the fees for paper filings in our summary. For more information or questions on the fee increase, please review the notice of final rule making here.
Trademark Application Fees
It will cost more to file a trademark application in 2021 and to maintain a trademark registration. Trademark application filing fees are increasing from $25 and $50 per class depending on whether the application is filed based on utilizing only the identifications listed in the identification manual or utilizing a more customized identification. Fees for Madrid Protocol applications are also increasing $100 per class. Fees associated with forms specific to intent to use applications will remain unchanged.
For those applicants who need to file a Petition to Revive an application, the fee will increase by $50.
For trademark owners wanting to maintain their registrations, Section 8 and 71 Declarations of Continued Use are increasing by $100 per class. If you have any maintenance deadlines that can be renewed now, you may wish to take advantage of the current fee structure before the end of the year.
A new fee of $50 will be imposed for all Letters of Protest that are filed to help the USPTO handle the influx of Letters of Protest received from third parties that often have no real interest or standing in a particular trademark application.
While it has always been a best practice to maintain and renew only those goods and services that are in use for a registration, in November 2017, the USPTO launched a random audit program to ensure the integrity of the trademark register. Trademark registrations that do not prove use for all the listed goods and services can be audited and ultimately cancelled if proof of use is not established for each and every good or service listed in the registration. Under the new fee structure, if a trademark owner cannot prove use after a Declaration of Use is submitted and must delete a good or service from its registration, a new fee of $250 per class will be levied against the registration. Hopefully, this will incentivize trademark owners to submit the proper proof of use at the Section 8 or 71 filing stage.
Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Fees
Costs for appeals and enforcement are also going up. The fees for filing an ex parte appeal are increasing slightly to $225 per class. There are also new fees to file subsequent extensions of time to file appeal briefs of $100 per application and a new fee to file the appeal brief of $200 per class.
For contentious proceedings, there currently is no cost to file an initial extension of time to oppose an application for 30 days and that fee will remain unchanged. Under the new fee structure, fees will increase by $100 for the additional extension of time to oppose an application. The costs to file an opposition or cancellation proceeding are also increasing $200 per class. However, a new partial refund policy is being implemented in cancellation proceedings where abandonment or non-use is plead, and a default judgment is issued, and no appearance or other filings are entered. In such a case, the petitioner is entitled to a partial refund of $200 per class, which is the cost of the increase. In the final rule making, the USPTO said it did not want to discourage trademark owners from bringing these types of actions.
If a trademark owner wants to request an oral argument for either an ex parte appeal or a contention proceeding, a new fee of $500 will apply.
Summary Chart of USPTO Trademark Fee Increases Starting January 2, 2021
The chart below summarizes the fees above. For more information or questions, please review the notice of final rule making here.
|Description||Current Fee*||New Fees* Jan. 2, 2021|
|Trademark Application Fees|
|TEAS Plus Trademark Application(using the ID manual only)||$225 per class||$250 per class|
|TEAS Standard Trademark Application||$275 per class||$350 per class|
|Petition to Revive Application||$100 per application||$150 per application|
|Section 8/71 Declaration of Continued Use||$125 per class||$225 per class|
|Deletion of goods/services after submission of Section 8/71||$0||$250 per class|
|NEW: Letter of Protest||$0||$50 per letter|
|Filing an Ex Parte Appeal||$200 per class||$225 per class|
|Initial Extension of Time to file Appeal Brief||$0||$0|
|NEW: Subsequent Extensions of Time to File Appeal Brief||$0||$100 per application|
|NEW: Submitting an Appeal Brief||$0||$200 per class|
|Extension of Time to Oppose (initial 30 days)||$0||$0|
|Extension of Time to Oppose (for 60/90 days)||$100||$200 per application|
|Extension of Time to Oppose (final 60 days)||$200||$400 per application|
|Notice of Opposition||$400 per class||$600 per class|
|Petition for Cancellation||$400 per class||$600 per class|
|NEW: Request for Oral Hearings||$0||$500 per proceeding|
*Note: All fees noted above are for electronically filed documents through TEAS or ESTTA
Want to Learn More?
If you would like to learn more about trademark application filing tips and how the new fees impact that strategy, consider joining our Trademarkabilities® Masterclass. You learn more about our courses here to enroll or reach out to us for more information. Or, you can join our mailing list, and download our free e-guide “5 Tips for Trademark Attorney Success.”
Stacey C. Kalamaras is the founder and lead instructor of Trademarkabilities®, an online trademark academy for lawyers, whose mission it is to prepare lawyers to be confident and effective practitioners before the USPTO. Stacey started Trademarkabilities to share her passion teaching the law with the next generation of lawyers and help them become practice ready lawyers. Contact us at: email@example.com.
Stacey is also a seasoned trademark attorney and currently works in-house as Senior Counsel for a multi-national candy company. She previously owned her own solo trademark practice, which she scaled and sold. She has been recognized by her peers for her outstanding knowledge and service in intellectual property law.