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Intellectual Property Trademark Trademark Application

Marketing Starts From Naming

Many low-end products tend to say exactly what it is. On the other hand, high-end products are very subtle. Have you ever bought a crappy good carefully wrapped inside a sophisticated package? Well, more likely than not you weren’t careful.

The thing is there is a tiny market for a fancy looking crappy product.

In other words, having a fancy name does rarely fly for a low-end product. You should name your product for what it is. However, that doesn’t prevent you from growing a great brand name.

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Intellectual Property Trademark

Trademark Basics

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Intellectual Property Trademark

Choosing a Right Name for your Brand or Product

Zara, which is a Fast Fashion brand like Forever 21, boasts that it takes only 10 to 15 days for an initial product design to reach their retail stores through international manufacture and logistics. In this fast-paced environment where a product can be copied within a few days and mass produced, a superb product design and packaging warrants only half the success.

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Intellectual Property Trademark U.S. Trademark

What is Trademark?

A trademark is a mark you use in order to identify your good or service.

For instance, IPfever is a trademark as it’s associated with services and contents offered at IPfever.com. If a law professor wants to start a blog about IP, she shouldn’t name it IPfever. Such naming would mislead people to think that the blog was associated with IPfever.

But, on the other hand, if a medical researcher encounters a feverish symptom related to Information Profession, she’s free to call it “IP fever,” to publish a paper titled “IP fever,” and so on. There’s no problem with such designation because the trademark IPfever, at the moment, has nothing to do with medical diagnosis.

So, you can freely catch an IPfever, and you may sell an IPfever brand roasted coffees. But you may not provide an IPfever service if that’s related to what is offered on ipfever.com.

That’s a brief overview of what trademark does and doesn’t. Let’s find out more.

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Intellectual Property Trademark U.S. Trademark

How much does a trademark registration REALLY cost?

Above is a cumulative showing of trademark fees (government fees only).

Assuming you use your trademark for a single type (category) of product/service, an online application fee can cost as low as $225, plus a $125 one-time maintenance fee after 5 years of use and $425 every 10 years. Total $1,200 over 20+ years? Not much right?

This calculation doesn’t include a one-time filing for incontestability in the 5th year for $200, which is technically optional.

However, if you don’t do it correctly, there are penalties.

When you fail to provide all necessary information at filing, you will be subject to fees varying from $50 to $150 per incident. There are also optional filings that might strengthen your trademark. And if you miss a date on maintenance fees, you may be penalized. Those penalties can accumulate well past the initial filing fee.

Aside from that, there are legal fees.

Many attorneys charge a flat legal fee of $1000-$2000 per mark plus government fees. If your mark experiences rejections from the USPTO, they might ask for more money on an hourly basis during subsequent actions.

As a result, your cost can vary widely depending on your trademark and how you proceed with it.

[updated to reflect increase in fees in 2017]

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Intellectual Property Trademark U.S. Trademark

Tax forms are complex and lengthy, but they can’t go south.

Federal trademark registration has become a standard practice for many reasons including (1) it’s inexpensive (as low as $225 to apply online); (2) due to the internet, no one does business in a single state; and (3) branding becomes crucial to even small businesses. And if I add one more to the list, it’s fairly easy.

The easiness comes with a risk.

For example, federal tax forms are usually very complex and lengthy; they are designed to make you write down all taxable incomes imaginable, even those you would never know they were considered income. A trademark application, on the other hand, is very simple and straightforward. In other words, it’s easy to fill out the forms but hard to do it right.

So there’s $99 (plus application fees) trademark registration services online.

Unfortunately, not many people see this as a problem. These services simply let you search registered trademarks online, to apply trademark online, and remind you of important dates for maintaining registration. Well, it sounds like a lot, but the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) offers Trademark Electronic Search, Trademark Electronic Application, and even email reminders of important dates, for free of charge.

There is a reason for such a low price.

Online registration services do provide convenient tools and ease the pain of yours, but they come with a price (literally and also in the form of a false sense of security).

 

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