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On January 2, 2021, the fees for various types of trademark (also referred to as TM) filings are being increased by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Notably, the TEAS standard filing fee is increasing from $275 to $350, and the TEAS PLUS fee is increasing from $225 to $250. Other fees, such as the fee for the Declaration of Continued Use, are increasing as well.

In the grand scheme of things, this should not be a big concern to applicants.  A trademark is a valuable piece of intellectual property, that if properly maintained can increase in value as time goes by. The small additional expenses necessitated by these increased USPTO filing fees are not something that any serious entrepreneur or established business owner would consider an impediment to federal registration of their trademarks.

In the United States, we have federal trademark registration, which registrations are issued by the United States Patent and TM Office, and state TM registrations, which are typically issued by the offices of the Secretary of State for the various states. For example, if you are selling goods under a trademark in New York State, you may wish to apply for registration with the New York Secretary of State.  In my experience, the New York examination of your application would be less exacting than the USPTO examination for a federal registration. Though in the end, if you were successful in applying to register a New York State trademark, that’s all you would get.

If you love New York only, (and, for the record, I do LOVE NY) maybe that’s enough. However, the trademark registered in the State of New York by the New York Secretary of State would not provide you with any legal remedy if someone in New Jersey were to infringe your TM rights. That’s why it is almost always preferable to register with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. With a USPTO registered federal TM you get the presumptive right to use your TM for your goods or services throughout the United States. Even with the increased filing fees coming into effect on January 2, 2021, it’s still an exceptional value.

Rule #1

Always consult with your trademark attorney before making any changes to the way you use the trademark.

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Thomas M. Wilentz is a published writer on intellectual property law who has been practicing trademark law for 18 years. His firm, Thomas M. Wilentz Attorney at Law, PLLC, was founded in 2003 and since then has helped clients from all over the USA, as well as from Canada, China, the UK, Australia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore and many other countries.