When applying for a use-based federal trademark online with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO for short, you basically have three options: the TEAS Regular application, the TEAS Reduced Fee application, and the TEAS Plus application. (TEAS stands for Trademark Electronic Application System.) Understanding which to file is an important decision.
A TEAS Regular application is the standard application. The filing fee is $325. Generally speaking, this is just a paper application process that starts online. When applying under this application, you don’t have to agree to use the internet for subsequent filings, you don’t have to supply an email address, and you can use custom information. For example, you can create your own unique goods/services description when applying.
TEAS Reduced Fee
As the name suggests, the TEAS Reduced Fee application is cheaper. It is only $275. Sometimes referred to as the TEAS RF, this application has additional requirements. Specifically, you must include an email address and you must agree to receive official application notices from the USPTO via email. Further, you must agree to file follow up filings using the TEAS platform also. However, like the TEAS Regular application, you don’t have to use a pre-approved goods/services description when submitting your application.
The TEAS Plus application is the cheapest option. It costs just $225. However, you must comply with additional requirements. Much like the TEAS RF application described above, you have to include an email address, agree to receive communications via email, and agree to use the TEAS system for subsequent filings. Additionally, you must use one of the USPTO’s pre-approved goods/services description when applying.
Of note, this application is somewhat new, appearing for the first time in early 2015.
$50 Processing Fee
You should note that if you elect to apply under one of the cheaper applications described above, you need to make sure you comply with that application’s rules. For example, if you apply under TEAS Plus but try to use a non-pre-approved goods/services description, or if you try to use a paper form, then you may be assessed additional fees. In particular, the USPTO will charge you $50 per class of goods/services for such a violation.
How do you pick?
If you are trying to decide how to apply for a federal trademark registration with the USPTO, your best bet is to speak to an attorney that has experience filing trademark applications. He or she can advise you on your ability to register your mark and if you decide to move forward, your trademark attorney can advise you on the best application to use.
In most situations the new TEAS Plus application is a great option to help you save money and to speed up the process. But sometimes you are better off using one of the other options.
If you want help, Mighty Marks® can help you. We apply for trademarks all the time. Learn more at www.mightymarks.com.
*This article is very general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Readers with legal questions should consult with an attorney prior to making any legal decisions.