Are you thinking about registering a trademark for your business, but are unsure about the costs involved? We created this complete guide to help you plan and budget for registering your company’s trademarks. As a business owner, protecting your brand is crucial to your success, and trademark registration is a key step in that process. However, the cost of registration can vary depending on several factors, such as the level of help you need, the number of classes of goods or services your trademark covers, and the countries where you want to register. By understanding the different fees and expenses associated with trademark registration, you can better budget and plan for this important investment in your business. In this guide, we’ll break down the costs involved in trademark registration, so you can make an informed decision about protecting your brand.
Why is trademark registration important?
Before we dive into the costs of trademark registration, it’s important to understand why it’s such an essential step for any business owner. A trademark is any word or symbol, or combination of words and symbols, that identify and distinguish your products or services from others in the marketplace. Registering a trademark gives you exclusive rights to use that mark in connection with your goods or services and allows you to take legal action against anyone who tries to use a similar mark in a way that could confuse consumers.
Even if you never have to take legal action to stop confusion (and we hope that you don’t!), having your mark on a trademarks register will stop others from registering a confusingly similar trademark. It also serves as notice of your rights in that trademark for anyone searching to determine the availability of a proposed mark for their own use. Your trademark registration is silently and diligently working to protect your brand without you ever having to take any legal action.
Without a trademark registration, your brand is vulnerable. If another company starts using a similar mark to yours, your ability to stop them is much more challenging and costly. You could lose customers, market share, and profits.
Good things come from trademark registrations. In over 20-years of helping businesses protect their brands, I have never experienced a business owner who has regretted trademarking their brand name and logo!
The cost of trademark registration
Now that you understand why trademark registration is so important for your business, let’s talk about the costs. The cost of trademark registration can vary widely depending on several factors, including the level of professional help you need (if any), the number of classes of goods or services, and the countries in which you want to protect your trademark.
Factors that affect trademark registration cost
The first factor that can affect the cost of trademark registration is the level of legal help you need. While it’s possible to file a trademark application on your own, it’s not recommended unless you have significant experience in trademark law or the time to research it. Trademark law is complex and constantly evolving, and even small mistakes in your trademark application can lead to significant delays, rejections, and even legal disputes such as oppositions.
Hiring a professional to help can help ensure that your application is filed correctly and that your brand is protected from infringement. In Canada, you should only work with a Trademark Agent to help register your trademarks. In the United States, you should work with a US trademark attorney.
The second factor that can affect the cost of trademark registration is the number of classes of goods or services you want to register. Trademark registration fees paid to the government are typically calculated based on the number of classes of goods or services contained in your trademark application. For example, if you sell clothing, you will need to register your mark in Class 25. If you also sell handbags, you’ll need to register in Class 18, and if you sell cosmetics, you’ll need to register your mark in Class 3. If you provide retail services for third party brands, you will need to register your mark in Class 35. Each additional class adds to the cost of registration.
The third factor that can affect the cost of trademark registration is the countries in which you want to register your mark. If you’re only planning to ever do business in Canada, for example, if you’re a restaurant owner or a spa owner, you’ll only ever need a Canadian trademark registration. However, if you want to protect your mark in other countries, you’ll need to file separate applications with each country’s trademark office. This can add significant costs to the registration process.
Government fees for trademark registration
Whether you hire a professional to help you register your trademarks or not, one cost you cannot avoid are the government fees. This is the fee paid to the trademark office in the country where you’re filing your application, and the amount you have to pay depends on the number of classes of goods or services contained in your trademark application.
In Canada, the 2023 government registration fees for the first class of goods or services are $347.35, and each additional class costs $105.26. In the United States, the fees per class are $350. These fees do tend to increase annually.
Government fees are due at the time of filing your application and they’re non-refundable, even if your application is rejected. One of the many reasons to work with a trusted agent or attorney is to get an honest assessment of the registrability of your trademark. There’s no sense paying the government fees to register a mark that is clearly not registrable under the laws of that country.
Agent or attorney fees for trademark registration
If you decide to hire a trademark agent or attorney to help with your application, you’ll need to budget for their fees as well. Hiring an agent or attorney will save you time and money in the long run, but their fees will add upfront costs to the trademark registration process. Attorneys and agents typically charge hourly rates for their services, which can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per hour, depending on their level of experience and expertise.
When hiring an agent or attorney, it’s important to ask for a detailed fee schedule upfront so you know exactly what you’ll be paying. You should also ask about any additional fees or costs associated with the trademark registration process, such as trademark searches or responses to office actions.
There are excellent attorneys and agents who offer trademark searches and registrations on a flat-fee basis. Markably® and Mason PC Trademarks both offer flat fee Canadian trademarks to give you the benefit of professional assistance in registering your trademarks while also helping you manage your budget.
Additional costs for trademark registration
In addition to government fees and agent or attorney fees, there may be other costs associated with trademark registration. One cost we highly recommend you incur before using or attempting to register a trademark is a trademark search. An in-depth trademark availability search will help you to ensure that your mark is available for registration and that you can use it without incurring any liability for trademark infringement.
If you chose to work with an agent or attorney who charges an hourly rate, you may also need to pay for a response to an office action if your application is initially rejected. Objections and refusals can easily double or triple the cost of trademark registration.
If you’re registering your trademark in multiple countries, you’ll also need to pay separate filing fees for each country. You may also need to pay for translations of your trademark application and related documents, depending on the country’s language requirements.
DIY trademark registration vs. hiring an agent or attorney
While it is possible to file a trademark application on your own, it’s not recommended unless you understand trademark laws and procedures. Trademark law is complex and constantly evolving, and even small mistakes in your application can lead to significant delays, rejections, and even legal disputes.
Hiring a trademark agent or attorney can help ensure that your application is filed correctly and that your brand is protected from infringement. However, as we mentioned, agent and attorney fees can add significant costs to the trademark registration process. So, if you are on a tight start-up budget, you could consider filing your application on your own and hiring help later if necessary.
Conclusion and next steps
Trademark registration is an important investment in your business’s future, and it’s important to budget and plan accordingly. By understanding the costs involved in trademark registration, you can make an informed decision about how to protect your brand. Whether you decide to file on your own or hire a qualified professional to help you, remember that the benefits of trademark registration far outweigh the costs.
Markably® is a hassle-free solution to fast, easy, and flat fee trademarking in Canada.