Trademark Costs for Beer and Breweries

So you’ve decided to make the leap and apply for a trademark for your beer or your brewery.

You’ve settled on a word, phrase or design that is suitable for trademark, done your clearance search to make sure nobody else is using that mark, and are ready to apply. You go to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) and start to look at the long list of fees. What now?

Is it cheaper to file a trademark online?

The USPTO has a long fee schedule for various types of filings. For new applications, you can file in paper and mail it in, maybe even ask for it to be delivered via Pony Express. Or, you can file it online using the USPTO’s application website, using the TEAS Plus application, which is simple, quick, and gets your application filed immediately. For paper filings, the USPTO charges $600 per international class, but for TEAS Plus applications the fee is $225 per international class. The choice is simple – TEAS Plus is the preferred option.

Now for the fine print:

The application fee in the U.S. is per international class. What is an international class?

It is a schedule of numbered classes of goods and services in which you classify a trademark. For example, beer would fall into Class 032 for beverages. But you may wish to register a trademark in more than one international class. For example, a brewery may want to register its brewery trademark for beer (Class 032), taproom services (Class 043), and maybe for merchandise, like T-shirts (Class 025). When you file an application for a trademark in multiple international classes, you have to pay the fee for each class applied for. So the brewery example above filed using TEAS Plus would have a filing fee of $675 ($225+$225+$225). That is only the filing fee charged by the USPTO; it does not include attorney’s fees for any assistance in filing by your attorney, or other costs.

In addition to the initial filing of an application for the trademark, you will have to make periodic filings to maintain your trademark. After six years, you must file a renewal filing to demonstrate your continued use of the mark, for example. Or if you filed an intent-to-use application (where you file an application for a trademark before you have actually proceeded to use the mark in commerce), you will have to file a statement of use. These filings vary between $100 and $300.

Other trademark costs you should anticipate are costs to respond to any refusal or opposition to your trademark during the application phase. Your trademark application is examined by an Examiner at the USPTO, who may issue an Office Action stating certain grounds for why your trademark should not be published. You or your attorney will have to respond to such Office Actions, which come with your attorney’s fees and costs. Also, even if your mark is published, another person may oppose the registration and file what is called an opposition (before your mark is registered) or a cancellation (after your mark is registered). Responding to these filings (or if need be, filing your own oppositions and cancellations) come with filing fees of $400 and attorney’s fees and costs, sometimes hefty sums.