The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) issued a rulemaking on June 19, 2020, proposing to raise its fees for certain types of Trademark filings. The increase in filing fees, which could occur as soon as October 1, 2020, the first day of the federal government’s next fiscal year, will have a direct effect on individuals and businesses wishing to register and enforce their marks. Under this proposal, some basic costs will be increased fairly significantly as well as some new costs being added.
The purpose of the USPTO is to protect consumers and provide benefits to individual(s) and business registrants alike by upholding and effectively carrying out the trademark laws of the United States – which has established a federal registration system and database as well as additional legal protections to users of this system. As a mainly fee-funded agency, appropriate fee increases are vitally crucial to the USPTO, for the agency to sustain the quality and timeliness of examinations and other essential services. According to the Department of Commerce, “[t]he proposed fees are intended to recover the prospective aggregate costs of future strategic and operational trademark and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) goals and associated administrative costs.” In layman’s terms, the fee increases are intended to ensure the financial sustainability of the USPTO by better matching registration fees with agency costs, which include appropriate staffing and updated technology.
PROPOSED INCREASED NEW APPLICATION FILING AND PROSECUTION FEES INCLUDE:
- The fee for filing a standard electronic application using the TEAS  system will increase from $275 to $350 per class
- TEAS Plus applications will increase from $225 to $250 (applications which restrict applicant’s language options for describing goods and services)
- TEAS Plus penalty for not meeting TEAS Plus requirements is being reduced to $100/class (from $125)
PROPOSED POST-REGISTRATION FEES (to maintain issued registrations) INCLUDE:
- The fee for filing a Declarations of Continuing Use under Section 8 and Section 71 (between the 5th – 6th anniversaries) will increase from $125 to $225
- A fee of $250 per class will be required if goods and services are removed from a registration in response to an audit or post-registration office action questioning if certain goods/services are still offered with the mark.
PROPOSED TTAB FEE INCREASES INCLUDE:
- Petitions for Cancellation filing fee: $600/class (from $400/class)
- Notices of Opposition: $600/class (from $400/class)
Extension of time (EOT) requests to file an opposition maintain a tiered fee structure:
- $100 for 1st 60-day EOT to Oppose;
- $200 for the final 60-day EOT to Oppose
- Fee increases for filing a Notice of Appeal of an examiner registration refusal: $225/class
- $100 per EOT for appeal brief after the 1st EOT request
- A new $200 fee per class for filing an appeal brief; and
- A new $500 fee for requesting an oral hearing before the TTAB
It is important to note that these proposed changes are only proposed right now and need to go through a public comment period. The exact nature and amounts of any finally imposed new fees cannot be predicted at this time. However, it is imperative that any individual(s) or business clients concerned about the cost of registration begin the registration process as soon as possible. It is likely that those individuals or businesses with near-term plans to register or maintain their marks may save money by starting the process now before these monetary adjustments take effect.
 “Trademark Electronic Application System”