In May 2023, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced its plans to raise trademark fees by November 2024.
Bloomberg and Josh Gerben discuss the potential reasons for the proposed changes, as well as how they could affect trademark applicants.
“I am concerned that this will deter certain small business owners from being able to actually file the trademarks that they need to file because of the cost concerns and because of the additional costs,” said trademark attorney Josh Gerben, founder of Gerben Perrott, PLLC. “If anything, it just creates an additional burden on small businesses.”
According to Gerben, some of the changes, such as fees for for insufficient information, as well as lengthy descriptions for goods and services, might be intended to discourage fraudulent filings and time-consuming applications.
At the start of the pandemic, the USPTO experienced a flood of fraudulent trademark flings originating from China. “You have all this fraud that was occurring, and that was jamming everything up because they had so many applications coming in from China,” Gerben said.
“They had to basically rehaul how they examine every application.”
Gerben thinks that these new penalty fees would permit the USPTO to stop the examination process and therefore stop expending resources on the flagged applications, until the applicant responds to the action. “I think that they’re giving themselves some outs with these new fee structures.”
The most concerning part of the new, higher fees is that they could mean small business owners get priced out of protecting their brand through a trademark registration.
“At the end of the day, there’s a lot of small business owners that are behaving perfectly fine right now, and they’re going to bear the brunt of these costs,” said Gerben.
Source: Setty, Riddhi. https://news.bloomberglaw.com. “Trademark Fee Plan Stirs Unease Over Application, Protest Costs”. 22 May 2023.