Section 10(c) of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (‘‘AIA’’) authorized the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to consult with the Trademark Public Advisory Committee (‘‘TPAC’’) on the advisability of reducing trademark fees and, following the required consultation, to reduce such fees if it was determined to be appropriate.
The USPTO and TPAC did, in fact, determine that it would be advisable to reduce trademark filing fees for: (1) Trademark, certification mark, collective membership mark, and collective trademark applications for registration on both the Principal or Supplemental Register that are filed using the Trademark Electronic Application System (‘‘TEAS’’), if applicants authorize email communication and file specified documents electronically throughout the application process; (2) TEAS Plus applications for registration; and (3) TEAS applications for renewal of a registration.
Yesterday, as authorized by the AIA, the USPTO published the final rule in the Federal Register that will work to reduce certain trademark fees. According to the USPTO, the fee reductions will both reduce total trademark fee collections and promote efficiency for the USPTO and customers. Clearly, the emphasis is on encouraging use of USPTO electronic systems, which is light-years ahead on the Trademark side of the Office compared with the patent side of the Office.
As you might expect, the USPTO explained in the Federal Register Notice that “All commenters expressed support of the USPTO’s efforts to increase the volume of end-to-end electronic processing of trademark applications and agreed that the proposed fee reductions will make filing for individuals and smaller entities more accessible and promote greater efficiency through electronic filing and communication.”
The following summary of changes was included in the Federal Register Notice:
After reviewing the comments received in response to the notice of proposed rulemaking, the USPTO reduces by $50 the fee for an application filed using the regular TEAS application form, and a TEAS request for transformation of an extension of protection to the United States into a U.S. application pursuant to § 7.31, from $325 to $275 per class if the applicant authorizes email communication and agrees to file all responses and other specified documents electronically during the prosecution of the application. This option will be known as a TEAS Reduced Fee (‘‘TEAS RF’’) application. The USPTO also reduces by $50 the fee for a TEAS Plus application from $275 to $225 per class and reduces by $100 the fee for a TEAS application for renewal of a registration from $400 to $300 per class. As has been the case since the inception of TEAS Plus, TEAS Plus applicants who fail to fulfill the filing and examination requirements set out in the rules will be subject to a processing fee of $50 per class, and similarly, TEAS RF applicants who fail to fulfill the requirements under the rules will be subject to the existing processing fee of $50 per class.
The Federal Register Notice was signed by Deputy Director Michelle Lee on December 10, 2014, and published in the Federal Register on December 16, 2014. The changes become effective on January 17, 2015.