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).


See other topics in the Basics in 10 min.

By Youngsik Jeon, Esq.

J.D. Chicago-Kent College of Law; Georgia & Illinois Bar Member; USPTO Registered Patent Attorney