Would it cost me money to trademark my logo for my project?

First, I’d like to take a moment and point out the difference between a copyright and a trademark for people who may not know the difference.

copyright is something that is better suited for videos (including a movie) or something that it is in writing (such as a novel or a white paper). A trademark is used to protect work such as a logo or even a business name (or the name of a software program) because those items help brand a company in some way. There is another difference between the two. With a copyright, creators do not have to necessarily pay to get one (although people can still get on through the U.S. Copyright Office). Copyrights now have a procedure that is known as creating a “poor man’s copyright.” Basically, if you create something that would fall under the category of needing a copyright, you could do something such as mailing a copy of your work to yourself and leaving the envelope unopened. You’d have the postmark to prove when you mailed it to yourself which helps you prove when you created the work (in the event that someone later claims it is their own).

Trademarks, though, can’t be handled in such a simple manner. There’s no way to just decide that your logo is trademarked. You have to apply to receive one.

To apply for a trademark, you have a few options:

1. Do it yourself

2. Hire a third-party agency

3. Hire an attorney experienced in helping people who need to acquire a trademark

According to the Trademark process from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, there are several steps involved:

1. Decide that filing a trademark application is the right decision for you.

2. Get ready to apply for your trademark. This includes knowing whether your logo can be registered as a trademark and how hard it would be for you to protect it.

3. Complete and file your trademark application. Yes, you can complete your trademark application online. You’ll also need to pay your initial fee which is between $275 – $375.

4. You’ll be assigned to an examining attorney with the USPTO and they will review your documents and your logo. You could receive a letter known as an Office Action that says that your logo won’t receive a trademark for some reason. You’ll be given the reason for the declination. You could also receive a phone call or an email regarding the matter. You can respond to the Office Action, but you only have six months from the date the letter is mailed.

5. Your trademark will either be approved or denied.

6. You must take the necessary steps to maintain your registration. It is your responsibility to monitor your registration status and it is your responsibility to protect your rights.

So, just to recap since you asked about the price, if you do it on your own, it would cost you between $275 and $375. You’d also have to put in the time to ensure that your application is properly completed and, if necessary, answer the Office Action.

You could use a third-party company that specializes in preparing and filing trademark applications. The plus side is that you get some help with your paperwork. The downside is you’ll pay an additional fee on top of the USPTO fee. Not all of those companies use attorneys.

Working with a trademark attorney would be an additional fee over your USPTO fee. Yet, an experienced trademark attorney will know how to properly complete your trademark application and can answer any Office Action that you receive. This person could also help you if a time comes when you believe that your rights as a trademark holder are being violated.

If you decide that you want to file for a trademark and you’d like some help, check out LawTrades. We are a marketplace of trademark attorneys who can help you protect your logo at a flat rate. Hope this helps!