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If you’re considering launching a business, you need to think about trademarking your new company’s name. Registering a trademark is of particular importance when legally marketing your business’s services or products. The last thing you want is a lawsuit from a competitor or another company challenging your name.
So, what’s involved with trademark registration? And what does it cost? As We Rock Your Web’s legal and small business expert, I’ll help answer all of these questions and more. While it’s possible to go solo (DYI) with trademark registration, most experts strongly advise against it for multiple reasons. So, I’ll introduce you to several reliable and well-respected online trademark registration services, which can save you a lot of headaches and expensive intellectual property (IP) attorney fees.
|Bizee by IncFile
What Is A Trademark And Why Is It Important?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) defines a trademark as “any word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or services. It’s how customers recognize you in the marketplace and distinguish you from your competitors.”
If you care about your company’s brand — and you should— then registering your trademark is a must. The most well-known names you’ll immediately recognize are Target, Starbucks, and McDonald’s. However, companies of all sizes should consider trademark registration as a vital step in establishing and protecting your brand.
Unregistered trademark conflicts can get fuzzy down the road (i.e., lawsuits for similar or potentially confusing trademarks), so it’s important to make sure you have a clear path with your mark to avoid future legal actions. These intellectual property lawsuits could cost you much more than your initial investment to conduct a thorough search and legally register your mark. For this reason, I recommend investing in an attorney or an online legal service at a minimum.
One of the primary benefits of registering online is the time, hassle, and money it can save you down the road — not only because the process is lengthy, but also because there are many potential legal pitfalls if you don’t do an extensive search and cover all of your bases.
You can find dozens of online legal services vying for your hard-earned dollars that are more than happy to help you file your trademark registration. But as we all know, it takes a lot of legwork to weed out all the unreliable services available online. That’s why I’ve narrowed down your trustworthy options to help you decide which one is best for your budget and needs down the road.
Keep in mind that the following fees with all of these services don’t include federal filing fees (unless otherwise noted.
Winner: LegalZoom Review
LegalZoom, a trusted online legal service since 2001, takes my top spot as the best trademark registration service. For $599, you get a dedicated attorney who will research your mark, file for you, and deal with any minor roadblocks during the process. If your first mark gets rejected, LegalZoom will register a different mark at no additional charge. You also get a free trademark search for a second mark if your attorney thinks there’s an issue with your first choice.
LegalZoom Legal Services is the #1 law firm trademark filer by volume for U.S.-based businesses at the USPTO. This online firm has over 30 trademark attorneys, each with years of experience in trademark law. They also offer several DIY search packages as well as trademark renewal and monitoring services.
|Offers multiple trademark services, including attorney-led registration, monitoring, and DIY searches
|On the pricey side
|Free second mark registration if your first gets rejected
|Common law and international searches are an added fee for the attorney-led registration package
|#1 legal trademark filer in the U.S.
|Has a high success rate
|Partial refunds within 30 days
|State, common law, and international searches available
|Live chat and phone support
|BBB: A+ rating
Pricing (excluding government fees)
- Trademark Registration: $599
- Federal Search: $199
- Federal, State, and Common Law Search: $299
- WorldScan International Search: $499
- Trademark Monitoring: $175/year
- View all options
In-Depth Review Of LegalZoom
Runner-Up: Rocket Lawyer Review
Rocket Lawyer is another reputable and popular online legal service that’s been around since 2008. With Rocket Lawyer, a licensed trademark attorney will guide you throughout the entire registration process. This includes conducting a federal and state search for conflicting marks, advising you of any potential problems with your chosen mark, drafting your application, and filing it on your behalf.
While Rocket Lawyer is more expensive than LegalZoom for non-members, you may want to consider becoming a Rocket Lawyer member. Not only does membership give you a significant discount on your trademark registration attorney services, but it also provides 40% off ongoing legal services and tax prep, access to unlimited legal documents, free answers to endless legal questions, and more.
|Hefty discounts for members
|Pricey for non-members
|1-on-1 attorney consultation by phone
|Common law search not included
|Includes a federal and state search
|Doesn’t offer trademark monitoring
|Excellent company reputation
|BBB: A+ rating
Pricing (excluding government fees)
- Non-member: $699.99
- Member: $349.99
- Rocket Legal+ membership: $239.88 (billed annually)
- View all options
In Depth-Review Of Rocket Lawyer
Third Place: Bizee By IncFile Review
Bizee (formerly known as IncFile) is a popular and well-respected online business formation service that also offers surprisingly affordable trademark registration services at just $299. After you sign up, a licensed trademark attorney will contact you for an initial consultation about your needs and to explain how the process works.
Then, your attorney will conduct a trademark search and provide you with results and a plan of action. Finally, the lawyer will file the trademark with the USPTO and deliver the approved trademark documentation. You’ll be able to track the approval status and contact Bizee with any questions you have while you’re waiting for approval.
It’s important to note that Bizee includes your federal filing fee when you check out. The total fee is $649, which includes Bizee’s $199 trademark registration service fee. It also includes a flat “Filing Fee” of $350 per class. Government filing fees range from $250 to $350 per class.
As Bizee explains, “The $250 application type requires more precision and effort than the $350 application type, so in situations where your attorney uses the $250 application type, the remaining $100 is used to cover the additional labor for that application type.”
|A licensed trademark attorney handles the process for you
|It’s unclear on their website what type of trademark search the attorney conducts (e.g., federal, state, common law, etc.)
|Doesn’t offer any other trademark services other than basic registration
|BBB unrated but has 4.86/5.00 stars from customer reviews
What About Trademark Engine?
Launched in 2016, Trademark Engine is now one of America’s fastest-growing companies. They market themselves as an affordable and fast way to file your trademark, but is this online service worth it? I haven’t used Trademark Engine, but I’ve researched it extensively
Trademark Engine Review
This online service specializes in trademarks and offers several different packages and à la carte options. Their package offerings are fairly limited but may appeal to some people. However, if you’re looking for comprehensive trademark services, Trademark Engine ends up being more expensive than the other online services I review here.
For example, all you get with the Basic package (at $99) is electronic filing assistance, and the Deluxe package (at $199) gives you 24-hour electronic filing. With both of these packages, you’ll have to do a trademark search yourself. Or you can add on a search report (e.g., their Federal, State, & Common Law Search Report is $299). In my opinion, these options aren’t worth your money because you don’t get attorney assistance.
They do have an attorney-led package for $399, which includes a federal and common law trademark search, consultation with a trademark lawyer (from a third-party legal firm, Swyft Legal, LLC) before filing, electronic filing, and a cease and desist letter. It also includes a 10-day free trial of Trademark Engine’s monitoring service; however, it’s important to know that this auto-renews for $199 a year after the 10 days.
Trademark Engine’s customer service gets generally good user reviews. Unfortunately, their business practices get some less-than-stellar reviews from customers. Still, this company also has many satisfied customers. I suggest going with Trademark Engine’s Attorney-Led package or using them for trademark monitoring.
|Affordable base price (but it’s limited)
|Some customer complaints that the 24-hour application processing was unsatisfactory
|Offers a 24-hour express application process (Deluxe Plan)
|Lots of upselling/add-ons during the checkout process
|Also offers trademark monitoring, renewal, and other services (added fees)
|Can get expensive
|Free federal trademark search tool (only finds exact matches with the USPTO)
|Not entirely transparent about pricing
|Live chat, phone & email support
|BBB: F rating
Pricing (excluding government fees)
- Attorney-Led package: $399
- Self-Led Deluxe package: $199
- Basic Self-Led package: $99
- Federal & State Search Report: $149
- Federal, State, & Common Law Search Report: $299
- Global Search Report: $499
- Trademark Monitoring: $199/year
- Trademark Renewal: $149
- View all options
While it’s entirely legal for you to register for a trademark with the USPTO without an attorney’s assistance, most experts, including the USPTO, advise against it. Still, here are some essential steps you need to take if you want to DIY.
1) Run A Trademark Search
After you’ve come up with a few ideas for your company’s name, it’s time to conduct a trademark search. You can search online using the USPTO’s Trademark Search tool, but, keep in mind, that it only searches for federal marks officially filed with the USPTO. There may still be conflicts with potentially confusing marks already in use by businesses — even unregistered marks. These could seriously affect your ability to register or use your trademark.
Although it’s not required, having a trademark attorney analyze your search results and advise you on the strength of your mark can save you time and money in the long run, especially if you’re eager to get your business up and running. It can take up to a year to have a legal trademark in hand, so it’s important to apply for a strong trademark that has little chance of being denied.
2) File The Paperwork
You can find and submit initial application forms on the USPTO website. The trademark cost for filing is $250 per class of goods or services when using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) Plus filing option and $350 per class when you submit your application via TEAS Standard. These fees are non-refundable even if your application gets rejected. It can take six months to a year until they approve or deny your application, but you can check on the progress via their website.
3) Approved Or Rejected?
If your application gets a green light, your trademark accelerates to the Intent-to-Use (ITU) stage. If denied, you can file an office action response within six months, which requests a reconsideration. The USPTO will publish your ITU-stage application in a weekly Official Gazette. If another company believes your mark might damage theirs, they must file an opposition within 30 days. If no one protests, you will have an official trademark (TM) within 12 weeks.
4) Use Your Mark Commercially
You’ll have six months to use your mark in commerce. Once you use your mark (i.e. you sell a product or service the mark with a proof of purchase), you must file a Statement of Use (SOU). If you need more time, you can file for a six-month extension (added fee).
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few questions people often ask about trademarks. Don’t see yours here? Ask us in our comments.
Trademark vs Service Mark: What’s The Difference?
The word “trademark” refers to both trademarks and service marks. Trademarks are used for goods, while service marks are used for, you guessed it, services.
How Long Does It Take To Register A Trademark?
According to the USPTO, the process typically takes 12 to 18 months because it’s a complex procedure that involves many stages. However, many factors affect how long it takes to register a trademark. You can find some tips on the USPTO’s website to avoid processing delays or use one of the best online trademark filing services to ensure that you’re filing correctly.
How Long Does A Trademark Last?
According to the USPTO, you must file the following documents within these deadlines to keep your trademark registration alive:
- Between the 5th and 6th years after you register, you need to file a “Declaration Of Use” form under section 8
- Between the ninth and 10th years after your registration date, you’ll need to file an “Application for Renewal” under sections 8 and 9
- Every 10 years after that, you’ll need to file subsequent “Declaration Of Use” and “Application for Renewal” under sections 8 and 9
Watch this brief video if you’re wondering how copyrights, trademarks, and patents differ.
To protect your invention, you’ll want to file a patent. We’ve got you covered – visit our guide on the 5 steps to filing a patent to protect your invention to get started.
Are you comfortable using an online service over an attorney for trademark registrations? Let us know in the comments!Tagged With: Trademark