Effective Jan. 14, 2017, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will be revising its fee schedule. The upcoming changes are set forth in full in this final rule and summarized in this USPTO publication. Most fees will increase, as the USPTO attempts to “align fees with full costs.” At the same time, the changes aim to make electronic filing less expensive, and hence more attractive, than paper filing. With the USPTO having seen seven years of consecutive increases in the number of trademark filings and the trend expected to continue, this price differential is intended to encourage a shift to more efficient electronic filing.
Specifically, paper filings will see significant fee increases across the board, anywhere from $75 to $225, with a majority of increases at $100 or more. This increase to paper filing fees will continue to incentivize low-cost electronic filings. However, some electronic filing fees will also see an increase, though in a more modest range of $25 to $100. Regular application filing fees through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) will increase from $325 to $400, a $75 increase per class of goods and services. The streamlined TEAS Plus application filing will remain unchanged at $225. Electronic requests under § 1(d)(2) for six-month extensions of time for filing statements of use will decrease in price from $150 to $125.
Meanwhile, filing a Petition to Cancel a trademark or a Notice of Opposition to the registration of a published mark will increase by $100 per class. Furthermore, previously un-charged requests for extensions of time to file Notices of Opposition will now be assessed fees of $100 to $300. These increases in the cost to oppose a published mark and to initiate cancellation proceedings represent good news for registration seekers. Cancellation proceedings are a relatively inexpensive alternative to federal litigation for those seeking to challenge registrations. Oppositions and cancellations are hence sometimes used purely to delay rights and rights enforcement, to the consternation of trademark seekers and registrants. Establishing a fee for extending the time to file Notices of Opposition will deter third parties without valid claims from delaying the registration process of published marks.
Take advantage of this information by reassessing your brand portfolio in light of anticipated growth, and consulting with your intellectual property attorney about potential additional areas of protection. Save money by moving forward with any unfiled trademark applications now, before the 14JAN17 increase.