Intellectual property laws protect unique ideas and create value around the world. At War IP Law, intellectual property is more than just our job. It is our passion. We work with clients on countless types of IP issues, such as copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. If you have any questions about an intellectual property matter, call our office at (202) 800-3754 or contact us online for a 30-minute consultation with us. We look forward to learning more about your situation.
What Is a Trademark?
A trademark is a way that manufacturers or sellers can legally protect a mark, word, phrase, symbol, or design that identifies their goods or services. Trademarks can include both trademarks and service marks. The purpose of a trademark is to help protect your brand and defend against counterfeiters.
Trademarks do not need to be registered to exist. For example, once a business begins to use a particular design or mark in association with selling its goods or services, it becomes a “trademark owner.” Being a trademark owner provides you with the right to prevent others within your geographic sales area. However, if you want national protection, you can register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
By registering with the USPTO, the trademark owner generally benefits from the following:
- Notice to the public of the owner’s claim of ownership
- Nationwide presumption of ownership
- Exclusive right to use the trademark in connection with the sale of goods or services
- Right to enforce your claim in federal court
- Basis to register a trademark in foreign countries
- Ability to file with the United States Customs and Border Protection to prevent importation of foreign goods that infringe on your trademark
To register a trademark with the USPTO, an applicant must file an application. USPTO will reject applications that conflict with already-registered or applied-for trademarks, trademarks that are generic, or trademarks containing commonly-used phrases. To avoid running into pitfalls when registering your trademark, consider speaking to an experienced IP attorney at War IP Law.
What Is TEAS Plus Status?
TEAS stands for Trademark Electronic Application System. This is the online portal used by the USPTO for applicants to submit their trademark applications. When applying for a trademark, the applicant generally needs to identify the goods and services that they are seeking to use the trademark for. Whether an applicant wants to file a TEAS Standard or TEAS Plus Application usually depends on how much they want to spend, how much information they are able to provide up-front, and how they’d like to communicate with the US Trademark Office in the future.
TEAS Standard is more expensive. Applicants must pay a $350 filing fee per trademark class. The benefit to this higher fee is that filers do not need to identify their goods or services from the Trademark Identification Manual upfront. Rather than select a classification from a list, applicants provide a short description of their goods and services. In other words, it is easier to apply early on in the process, but as it turns out, applicants generally need to provide more information to the USPTO anyway, so it may not end up saving much effort.
TEAS Plus is a less expensive filing option. The filing fee is $250 per trademark class. This option requires filers to provide more information in their application, but this is usually a better choice for filers who are planning to identify pre-approved goods and services.
Benefits of TEAS Plus
In addition to being less expensive, TEAS Plus also lowers the applicant’s risk of refusal. The rate of approvals for TEAS Plus applicants is much higher than TEAS Standard, possibly because the classes of goods and services are already pre-approved and the applicant has already provided much of the necessary supplemental information.
TEAS Plus is also designed to be easier to use, particularly because it requires the applicant to comply with certain requirements to streamline the application process. For this reason, many applicants do not feel the need to hire an attorney when they apply for a trademark using TEAS Plus. This is not advisable, however. Even if you are using TEAS Plus, consider speaking with an attorney, because it can be a costly mistake to lose your TEAS Plus filing status.
Losing TEAS Plus Filing Status
If you file a TEAS Plus application incorrectly, you run the risk of losing your filing status.
How Can an Applicant Lose Their Filing Status?
According to the USPTO, some of the most common reasons for losing a TEAS Plus filing status include:
- Failing to use the TEAS system for subsequent filings, such as responses to communications from the USPTO
- If your trademark includes a living individual’s identity, forgetting to include their consent
- Failing to translate or transliterate a foreign word
- Not including a mark description
- If you need the trademark in color, you must file a color claim to protect the exact colors
- Not including a claim of prior registration for the mark
- Not including a current email, as subsequent communications from USPTO may come through email
These are easy mistakes, especially for a first-time filer. Do not let inexperience stand in your way of protecting your goods and services. Reach out to War IP Law for guidance on filing a TEAS Plus application.
What Are the Ramifications for Losing TEAS Plus Status?
Losing TEAS Plus status means additional fees. Applicants who lose their status must pay an additional $100 per class of goods. Bear in mind that a business may be filing for dozens of classes of goods at a time. For example, if your business wants to sell clothing and backpacks and provide custom tailoring services, all under the same trademark, you most likely need to file for three classes of goods. Therefore, filing these applications incorrectly under TEAS Plus could result in an extra $300 in fees. We understand that for small businesses, every dollar counts. Let us help you so you can avoid costly mistakes.
Contact an Experienced Trademark Attorney
At War IP Law, we work hard to protect our clients’ intellectual property. A trademark can help protect your brand and can make or break a successful business. Trust us to help you with all of your intellectual property matters. Call our Washington intellectual property lawyer at (202) 800-3754 or contact us online for a consultation.