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One of the first questions we get asked about filing a federal trademark application is “how much does it cost?” That leads to every lawyer’s favorite answer: it depends.

First of all, it depends on whether or not you hire a trademark lawyer. Hiring a trademark lawyer is always a good idea.

Lawyer fees vary significantly. Some lawyers charge flat fees. Some charge hourly rates. And within those rates structures, there can often be multiple tiers (e.g., national rates, standard rates, discount rates, etc.). We charge $775 to file an application, but that includes the government fees for one class of goods and services.

In addition to the attorney fee, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) charges a fee based on the type of application form and the number of International Classes of goods or services in the application. Goods and services are organized into 45 International Classes.

There are 4 types of application forms. There are 3 options to file on the Internet using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS): regular TEAS, TEAS Reduced Fee, and TEAS Plus. The fee for a regular TEAS application is $325 per class of goods or services. The TEAS Reduced Fee application has a lower fee of $275 per class of goods or services, but you must meet agree to communicate electronically with the USPTO and file certain application-related submissions electronically. The TEAS Plus application has the lowest fee of $225, but you must meet certain additional requirements.

To give an example of the cost to file a federal trademark application, and in honor of the NFL draft which starts today, let’s consider the federally registered trademark for the MUSIC CITY MIRACLE.

Nashville is our hometown, and it’s known as the “Music City.” The “Music City Miracle” took place on January 8, 2000 during the NFL playoffs. It occurred at the end of the Wild Card Playoff game between the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills in Nashville. After the Bills had taken a 16–15 lead on a field goal with 16 seconds left in the game, Titans tight end Frank Wycheck threw a lateral pass across the field to Kevin Dyson on the ensuing kickoff return, who then ran 75 yards to score the winning touchdown and earn a 22–16 victory.

The Tennessee Titans subsequently obtained federal trademark protection for the MUSIC CITY MIRACLE in connection with three classes of goods and services: (1) posters, notepads, note pads, note paper, pictorial prints, art pictures in class 16; (2) men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, namely, caps, head wear, t-shirts in class 25; and (3) providing on-line sports and entertainment information in class 41. Today, this application would need to be filed using the TEAS Reduced Fee application, which has a filing fee of $275 per class. Our fee for a single class application in $775. Since there are 2 additional classes, the additional USPTO fee would be $550. So, the total fee to prepare and file the application would be $1,325.

After the application is filed, it will be reviewed by an examining attorney at the USPTO to determine whether federal law permits registration. This often results in an “office action” that sets out the issues that need to be addressed in order for the application to be approved. These issues can range from the relatively simple (e.g., amendment to identification of goods or services) to the complex (e.g., likelihood of confusion rejection). We charge $250 to respond to procedural issues and $850 to respond to major substantive issues.

Assuming no office actions, the total cost to obtain the MUSIC CITY MIRACLE registration could be less than $1,500. This is a phenomenal value when you consider all of the important benefits provided by a federal trademark registration.