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The Costs of Brand Protection: Trademark Application Filing Costs

Published on 5 September 2017

In the previous article, "Look Before You Leap: The Costs of a Trademark Search", we studied the costs involved in searching for a trademark under two classes of the Nice Classification in the top 10 jurisdictions across the globe. In this article, we shall take a look at the costs involved in filing a trademark application, which is the next step in the trademarking process after a search is performed and the search opinion turns out be favorable.

Why File Trademark Applications?

A trademark is a form of Intellectual Property Right that protects the identity of a brand, which is crucial for businesses in today's brand-centric and globalized world. Building a brand takes a lot of time, effort, and money. The last thing that a business would want is for another company to offer a similar/identical product or service under the same brand name, which could deceive consumers and lead to a loss in revenue and possibly brand reputation. This is why Fortune 500 companies routinely spend a great deal of money on trademarks and brand protection.

Trademarks are Territorial Rights

Like other forms of Intellectual Property Rights, a trademark is a territorial right and, therefore, must be registered in all the major jurisdictions in which a business operates or plans to operate. Many jurisdictions outside of the United States follow a first-to-file trademark system. Thus, it is advisable to file an application as soon as possible after a favorable search opinion is obtained. A perfect illustration of this is a trademark battle over the iPhone that Apple lost in China against a local company that sold handbags and other leather products under the brand name "IPHONE."

The Costs of Filing a Trademark Application

Let us now study the costs involved in filing a trademark application. As is the case with trademark searching, the costs are generally dependent on the number of classes of goods and services under which the applicant intends to adopt a mark. The 'International Classification of Goods and Services' contains 34 classes for goods and 11 classes for services.

For the purposes of this article, we shall assume that the applicant intends to file a priority application for a word mark under two classes in the U.S. and, subsequently, in the rest of the top 10 jurisdictions (World Intellectual Property Indicators 2016; 2016), with the European Union countries being considered as a single jurisdiction. The other nine jurisdictions are: Brazil, China, European Union, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, and Turkey. For instance, these classes could be Class 10 (Medical Apparatus and Instruments) and Class 44 (Medical Services).

With the exception of Brazil, the remaining eight jurisdictions are signatories of the Madrid Protocol, which is an international treaty that makes it easier to register trademarks in member countries. It is assumed that an international application designating these eight countries is filed under the Madrid Protocol, with the U.S. as the originating office and a Convention application is filed in Brazil.

The total estimated costs that might be incurred during the process of filing a trademark application under two classes range from approximately $1,500 (U.S. and Brazil) to $3,800 (Madrid Protocol) (Table 1). The estimates are inclusive of attorney charges (U.S. and Brazil), in addition to the cost of translating one page into the official language (Portuguese) in Brazil.

The individual filing fees for each of the eight jurisdictions under the Madrid Protocol range from $104 in Russia to $987 in the European Union (Figure 1).

With the exception of Russia and Switzerland, the other six jurisdictions charge an additional fee for filing an application under the Madrid Protocol in more than one class. While this additional class fee is the same as that for filing in one class in South Korea and India, the other four jurisdictions (China, European Union, Japan, and Turkey) offer a discount for filing in a second class, which is quite substantial in Turkey (80% reduction) and the European Union (94% reduction)! However, it is pertinent to note that the 94% reduction in the European Union is applicable only for filing in the second class. The fee for filing in an additional class beyond the second class in the European Union increases three-fold from $57 (fee for filing in a second class) to $170.

In Switzerland, the filing fee is inclusive of three classes, with the fee for filing in an additional class beyond the third class being reduced by approximately 90%.

Estimation of Trademark Filing Costs

Interested in getting similar estimates? The Global IP Estimator is Quantify IP's flagship software that accurately estimates the trademarking costs for a single trademark family based on our meticulous research of trademark legislations in 150+ jurisdictions. Specific stages of the trademarking process can be included or excluded from the estimates.

The budget forecasting capabilities of many law firms and Fortune 500 companies have undergone a significant transformation since the addition of the Global IP Estimator to their toolbox. To see what we can do for you, email us at qipcontact@quantifyip.com, or call +1-808-891-0099.

Venkatesh Viswanath (Senior Analyst, Quantify IP) contributed to this article.
Exchange Rates Used: 1 US Dollar = 3.31 Brazilian Real and 0.96 Swiss Francs

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