Google searches show that the most commonly asked question on trademarks is if registration can be done for free.
Is this even possible?
For answers, check out the video below:
So, going back to the government fees, the very least you will ever pay for example in the US is $225 and that assumes that you're filing your trademark in one class only; that assumes that your trademark is already in use at the time of the filing; that assumes that you're picking your goods and services from the predefined list. So that's the bare minimum, $225. And if you're not sure what classes are or what use vs. intent to use means, check out this channel, I've posted a lot of those videos and if you haven't subscribed yet, subscribe now to find out more. We're about to launch a whole new series about classes where I'm gonna go through specific classes but let's go back to trademarking your brand for free. So, we got this out of the way, can’t do it, you are gonna be paying the government fees.
What are the options beyond that? The cheapest way to file your trademark, of course again, you are gonna pay the government fees no matter what the government is gonna take their cut. The cheapest way to do it is to file it yourself. This really brings up two questions: can you do this legally? and is that a good idea to do it? So let's start with whether it's legal for someone to follow their own trademark application. The general rule is yes, although some countries limit the ability of self-represented brand owners to file their own trademarks. So for example, the new rule in the US right now is that unless you're an American citizen, American resident, or a company that has a domicile in the US, you need to have a US-licensed attorney to file your trademark. They don't allow foreign applicants to deal directly with USPTO. That's the new rule that's enforced since August of 2019. So, if you're not an American citizen, you're not an American resident, and you want to file a US Trademark, you can’t do it by yourself. Period. It's illegal. They're going to ignore your trademark application while they're going to send you an office action and say that you have to be represented by a US-licensed attorney.
But even if you can, in theory, file a trademark application yourself cause you're allowed, it's legal for you to file a trademark application yourself, the question is, is that a good idea? And my answer to that is absolutely not! Unless you filed dozens of trademark applications and you know all the ins and outs; unless you're willing to spend hundreds of hours reading textbooks about how to file your trademark right, what are one of the potential dangers, what are the hidden things that most people don't know about, it's not a good idea to file your trademark on your own. I mean look, of course, you can file a trademark if it doesn't go through all you're risking is just the government fee, right? No. Because what you're really risking is the time that you're gonna waste hoping for that trademark to go through. A trademark process on average is about 14 months in the US, about 18 months in Canada, probably more now in Canada. And if you want to risk that, that time during which you're thinking you own the brand and then at the end of the day you realize, whoops!! I don't have it and you have to start everything again. So you're probably not really saving anything by doing it yourself. Not a good idea, unless again, you know for sure what you're doing or unless you don't really care about the result. You just file your trademark and hope that it sticks. Some of them would stick but a very small percentage.
So the next step up is if you don't want to do it yourself, yes to use one of those online trademarking websites that offer to file your trademark for next to nothing. Some of them would even do it for less than a hundred bucks. And what they really are is they're either a lead generation machine for law firms that lure you in with low filing fees so that they can make more money from you when the application they file will inevitably receive an office action and that's when they start charging you by the hour. This is how your $69 trademark application becomes a $6,900 file. And we've seen many of those horror stories. And or, it's just the software, they say we're not a law firm, we're just software that facilitates the filing of your application, the application is filed in the name of the applicant themselves, and if there's an office action then the applicant needs to figure out how to fight it on their own. So, is that a better option than filing
yourself? Yes! Because even if it's software, the software is optimized to deal with the inefficiencies of the government websites, because if you look at for example USPTO’s website or CIPO's website, when you file your trademark application, it looks like they've been designed specifically to discourage people from filing their own trademark applications. They have so many little things that I've poorly designed, poorly explained, so if you're not really sure what you're doing, you're probably gonna do it wrong. So the software, the third-party software websites that are out there make the filing process much simpler. So better to use them than to use nothing but again it doesn't really solve the problem if you're serious about wanting to protect your brand and having an idea of certainty of results. From there you can find a lawyer and maybe a local attorney or a law firm or somebody who is going to file your trademark, you can you know do the price shopping and find somebody who's gonna do it at a lower rate, maybe they've got less experience, maybe they have a different model, but basically, you can play around on the market and look for who's gonna file your trademark cheaper. The problem with that option is the same. It's easy to file your trademark application. A monkey can file your trademark application. The problem is, in 68 percent of the cases your trademark is going to be refused.
It's gonna get the initial rejection by the trademark office, it's called the office action where they list things they don't like about your trademark application and somebody needs to deal with that, somebody needs to address it, somebody needs to respond to it because if you don’t respond to it on time, your trademark application dies. So here's again, here's how all law firms make money on trademarking. They don't make any money on filing your trademark. To them, it's just their foot in the door. Because they know that the real money comes from responding to office actions that the applications that they filed generated. Kind of a crazy business model if you ask me. I don't think it's fair to business owners because really the law firm's interests are not aligned with the interests of the brand owner. What does the brand owner want? The brand owner wants to spend as little as possible and get their trademark registered as quickly as possible. What are the law firms' interests? Their law firms' interests are to build as many hours as humanly possible. How do you do that? Well, you do that by filing an application that triggers an office action that you will spend hours and hours and hours responding to. All right, so that's where the money. So don't be lured by Lowe filing fees. If the law if you find a law firm they're gonna say “well we're gonna you know we're gonna file your trademark for I don't know $300 $500 $700”. It doesn't really matter what the initial number is. Unless they can quote you the full price for the entire process from start to finish no matter what happens in between, you have no idea how much the process is gonna take. So be very careful with that. What usually happens is that they will send you what they call a schedule of fees, sometimes it's one page, sometimes it's two pages, listing all the things that could happen during the trademarking process, and the problem with most business owners, most brand owners is the assumption they make that most of the most of those things are not gonna happen during their process. Well, this couldn't be further from the truth because most of those things actually do happen. Most of those things will happen. All of those reporting of office actions, docketings, all of those things that you think are not necessary, you will be billed for them so be very careful.
And the other thing of course with law firms is that they would offer you what they call an optional comprehensive trademark search. And they say well if you pay extra, we'll do a proper trademark search to make sure your trademark is registrable, and we will go beyond just the knockout search. Would you like to pay an extra three, four hundred dollars for that? And again they make it look as if it's totally unnecessary, it's optional. You can do this maybe it's a good idea, would you like to pay an extra three hundred dollars? and those business owners say no. And when they do that, they assume the risk that if the trademark doesn't go through, the law firm says, well we offered you the search, you said no. Deal with it. And the third problem with that option of course is that, if the trademark eventually doesn't go through, you're paying them by the hour. They're not selling you the result, they're selling you their time. So if they spent 27 hours working on your trademark application, you're gonna pay 27 hours times whatever their rate is. And if at the end of the 27 hours, all you get is the final rejection, then you're gonna get a final email from the law firm saying, it didn't go through, here's the final bill please pay it.
I really don't think that's the right way to do trademarking which is why I create a trademark Factory. It's very different from every other company or every other law firm that deals with trademarks and offers trademarking services. So I'm not gonna go into detail, let me just say that we offer a mandatory comprehensive trademark search. That's part of all of our packages. So you know exactly whether or not your brand is trademarkable before we move forward with your trademark application. And if we think that it's not trademarkable, you can get a full refund. All your money back. So you get a free search and all your money back. If it’s trademarkable, then we go for the whole process, you pay one flat fee that covers everything from start to finish. From filing to registration. Actually, from the trademark search to you getting the framed trademark registration certificate in the mail. And we offer the hundred-percent money-back guarantee for all the trademarks that we told you are registrable, at the end of the day after we spend all this time fighting with the trademarks office, if we still can't convince them to approve and register your mark, you get all your money back.
That's what makes Trademark Factory unique. It's not free, it's the initial investment is probably more than you will get lured by most companies out there. But again remember, it's one flat fee that covers everything from start to finish and it comes with a hundred percent money-back guarantee. So if you're looking for a way to file your trademark, to trademark your name, to trademark your logo for free, not gonna happen. If you're looking for a way to trademark your brand on the cheap, either do it yourself or go with those trademarking websites. Again, you assume all the risks of at the end of the day getting a no, getting a rejection from the trademarks office. And if you're just doing it for fun, might be a good idea. You try it out you see if it works and if not well who cares. But if you really care about your brand, if you really care about your business, I wouldn't recommend taking that route, you may save a few hundred dollars but at the end of the day, you're not gonna get the brand. Or you're gonna do it poorly. It's so easy to file a trademark and not do it right so even if
you get the registration oftentimes when we look at the applications filed by self-represented brand owners, they file their trademarks and they don't list the goods and services that they actually need. So be very careful with that. And by the way, if you feel that you've got something important, you’ve got a brand that you want to protect, go to trademarkfactory.com, book a free call with our strategic advisors. You get 45 minutes with our people, with a live human who has been on Trademark Factory team, helping brand owners just like you figure out whether they need a trademark. When do they need a trademark, where they need a trademark, which trademarks you go for, whether it's a name or a logo or a tagline. Get on the phone with them, talk to them, and see if we're the right fit to help you protect your brand.
Disclaimer: Please note that this post and this video are not and are not intended as legal advice. Your situation may be different from the facts assumed in this post or video. Your reading this post or watching this video does not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and Trademark Factory International Inc., and you should not rely on this post or this video as the only source of information to make important decisions about your intellectual property.