The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is raising its official fees for trademark matters effective January 2, 2021. All fees discussed below are stated in US dollars.
The impending fee increase is the result of a review of fees costs and revenues which began in December of 2018 as part of the USPTO’s Strategic Plan for 2018-2022. The USPTO conducted public hearings through its Trademark Public Advisory Committee in September 2019 and released a report on its findings in October 2019. The proposed changes were published on June 19, 2020 for review and comment. After considering the comments received, a final rule has been issued containing fee increases, which are intended to balance reasonable and affordable user fees with the USPTO need for revenues to cover the costs of maintaining its trademark operations. Particularly, the increases are expected to enable the USPTO to continue to enhance the quality of trademark examination, to achieve optimal examination times, and to modernize its information technology systems and infrastructure to ensure ongoing stability of USPTO operations. The following is a summary of the most notable upcoming fee increases.
Trademark applicants will see trademark application fees increase from $275 to $350 per class of goods or services for applications filed using the USPTO’s TEAS online filing portal that do not use a standard pre-approved identification of goods and services.
For applications filed using the USPTO's TEAS online filing portal that do use a standard pre-approved identification of goods and services, the application fees will increase from $225 to $250 per class.
MAINTENANCE & DECLARATIONS OF ONGOING USE
The owners of existing trademark registrations will also see fee increases to maintain their registrations. The official fees for filing declarations of ongoing use of trademarks (section 8) will increase from $125 per class to $225 per class.
The USPTO is also introducing a new $250 fee for trademark owners to delete goods, services, or classes from a registration after filing their section 8 declaration of use.
It is always possible to delete goods or services from a registration at the same time that a declaration of ongoing use is filed to maintain the registration for other goods and services. The rational for charging a fee between the filing and acceptance of a declaration is to encourage trademark owners to take positive steps to remove goods and services from a registration for which the tradmark is no longer used before further examination may require the removal of such goods and services. This will improve the accuracy of trademark registration data recorded on the trademark register.
PETITIONS, OPPOSITIONS & CANCELLATIONS
Fees to file petitions to revive abandoned applications are increasing from $100 to $150. The cost to file other types of petitions are increasing from $100 to $250.
Fees for oppositions and cancellation proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board are also increasing. The USPTO is also increasing fees for opposition and cancellation filings filed in paper rather than online, in order to offset higher processing costs for paper documents.
LETTERS OF PROTEST
The USPTO has codified a procedure by which interested third parties can notify the USPTO of evidence bearing on the registrability of a pending trademark application. A new fee of $50 per application will be charged to file a letter of protest. Letters of protest can be filed, for example, in the following circumstances:
- Objecting to registration of a mark because it is allegedly generic or descriptive. The letter of protest must be accompanied by evidence of genericness or descriptiveness.
- Notifying the USPTO of the existence of a federally registered or prior pending trademark where there is a likelihood of confusion with a trademark that is the subject of a pending application.
- Notifying the USPTO of pending litigation claiming infringement based upon the applicant’s use of the applied for trademark. In this instance a copy of the pleadings is placed in the trademark application record the prosecution of the application will be suspended.
- Notifying the USPTO that registered trademarks are being used inappropriately as descriptions of goods or services.
- Notifying the USPTO of applications for confusingly similar trademarks that have priority claims with an earlier entitlement than the trademark under examination.
- Notifying the USPTO of applications containing priority claims where the claimed application was not the first application filed in a treaty country, and the applicant is not entitled to a priority claim.
Letters of protest and supporting evidence are first reviewed by the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Trademarks, and if found to have merit, are passed to the examiner for consideration of its applicability to the examination of the trademark. Complete information on the system for filing Letters of Protest can be found in the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure: https://tmep.uspto.gov/RDMS/TMEP/current#/current/d1e2.html
If you are considering the filing of trademark applications in the USA, you may want to complete the filings prior to January 2, 2021 in order to avoid the upcoming trademark fee increases. Further information on the new USPTO fee schedule can be found here:https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/fees-and-payment