Registering your business name in the United States is done by filing a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This process allows you to stop everyone else from using the same name on a competing service or product throughout the United States.
To determine the cost of trademarking a business name, you should know that there are two fees involved. The first one is the fee the USPTO charges to register a business name. The second fee is paid to a company or attorney who helps you prepare and submit your trademark registration application.
United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Fee
The USPTO currently has a basic $225 option to register a single business name for a single class of goods or services. This option is decent for most applicants. For example, if you want to register the company name “Magic Wash” for car washing services only, you need to pay $225. However, if you’re going to register the name “Magic wash” for car washing services, as well as a soap that you use, you need to pay for two classes, bringing your total to $450 in government fees.
If you’re comfortable filling out the trademark registration application on the USPTO website on your own, you do not need to pay an attorney to prepare and submit your application.
However, if you do not have experience registering a trademark, and want to save some money while doing it, you can use online legal support services, such as Legal Zoom or Rocket Lawyer, to assist you with registering your business name as a trademark. These services will charge you a fee in addition to the registration fee charged by the USPTO. We will discuss this in more detail below.
Fees for preparing and submitting your trademark registration application
There are a few services available online that assist applicants with registering their trademark with the USPTO; we will discuss a few of them below.
- Legal Zoom
Legal Zoom charges a flat fee of $199 to register a trademark. They offer some upgrade options, but the basic $199 option is sufficient for more applicants. If you choose to go with this company, you will need to pay Legal Zoom $199, as well as pay $224 to the USPTO, bringing your total to $423.
- Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer assigns a dedicated lawyer to your trademark filing, and the lawyer is responsible for not only filing your business name registration but is also responsible for responding to any office actions that you may encounter. Rocket Lawyer also conducts a trademark check to ensure that no one else has registered the business name you want to trademark. Other services charge an additional fee to perform this search. Rocket Lawyer charges $399 for this package plus the government filing fee of $225, bringing your total cost to file your trademark application to $624.
Trademarkia has one option to register a trademark, and it comes in at $399. The $399 cost does not include the USPTO fees. If you choose to go with Trademarkia, they will charge you $399, and you’ll also need to pay $225 to the USPTO, bringing your total to $624.
- Trademark Engine
Trademark Engine charges a flat rate of $69 to register an individual’s business name as a trademark. Like Legal Zoom and Trademarkia, you also need to consider that you also need to pay the USPTO fee of $225. This brings your total cost to $294.
- Hire a trademark lawyer
If, for any reason, you’re finding it difficult to search on your own or use any of the services mentioned above, you may hire an attorney to either assist you with performing the search or have him perform the search for you. If you’re hiring an attorney to conduct a trademark search, ask them how much it would cost to have them prepare and register your business name. Attorneys typically charge a flat rate, anywhere between $500 to $2,000 to prepare and submit a trademark registration application in addition to the USPTO fee of $225.
Other Fees Associated with Trademarking a Business Name
Here are some additional fees that you may need to take into consideration as you register your business name as a trademark.
- International Registration
If you have a business name that you want to use on a product or service that you sell internationally, you should consider registering your trademark in all of the countries where you do business. This is so because registering a trademark in the United States only protects the business name in the U.S; it does not protect it internationally.
For example, if you want to register the name “Magic Wash” for a soap product that you sell in the United States and China, to protect your trademark, you need to register it in the U.S, as well as China. Trademarks are territorial, meaning to be protected in a specific country, your trademark must be registered in that country.
- Trademark Drawing Service
If the business name you want to register with the USPTO consists of drawings or a logo, you should have a clear photo of the entire logo. You do have the option of simply registering the text of your business name, such as merely registering “Magic Wash” without the artwork. This gives you the broadest and the best protection possible.
What Should You Do Before Registering Your Business Name as a Trademark?
Before registering your business name as a trademark, you should conduct a trademark search to ensure that no one else has registered the same business name for a business that’s the same as or similar to yours.
The USPTO does not allow multiple people to register the same business name for the same type of business. For example, if you want to register the name “Magic Wash” for your car washing business and someone else has already registered “Magic Wash” for their car washing business, the USPTO will refuse to register your trademark, and the money that you paid will be lost.
So, to avoid losing your money and trademark registration, you should search the trademark database to ensure that no one else has registered the same business name. Select “Basic Search” and enter the name that you wish to register for your business. If the same or similar marks are registered, you should look for a different business name. However, if the search does not show any exact or similar matches, you can go ahead and continue with registering your trademark.
Do You Need to Register a Business Name to Protect It?
No, you do not need to register a business name to be protected in your state because common law protection applies. However, trademark registration offers business owners nationwide protection, meaning that no one can use the trademark anywhere in the United States. If anyone makes unauthorized use of your trademark or use that’s inconsistent with the law, the trademark owner can sue that party for trademark infringement in Federal District Court for trademark infringement. Also, having a registered trademark is proof of your ownership of the mark. After five years of trademark registration, your ownership of the trademark becomes incontestable, meaning it cannot be challenged.
How Long Does a Trademark Registration Last?
Trademark registration in the U.S lasts forever so long as the owner continues to use it on his goods or services. That said, to keep a trademark in its registered state, the owner must file a statement of use within five years of registering it with the USPTO. Filing this statement will extend the life of your trademark for an additional five years. After submitting this statement after the first five years of registration, you only need to file such a declaration every ten years. Filing this statement is not free as an individual must pay $125 for each class of goods for which his trademark is registered.
How Long Does It Take to Register a Business Name as a Trademark?
After filing your trademark registration application, it takes the USPTO approximately 4 to 6 months to examine and either approve or deny your trademark application. The USPTO has many trademark applications to get through, so if you filed at a time when they’re busy, you should expect your application to take approximately six months.
Also, when you file your application, the USPTO will send you a confirmation email that contains your trademark serial number. You should use this serial number to check the status of your trademark application periodically. This is so because the USPTO office may request that some changes or amendments be made to your application, so you should respond within the time allotted.
If everything goes well, the trademark office will approve your application and send you a certificate of trademark registration.