Types of Trademark Applications
When filing a federal trademark application, you need to choose which type of application to file. Your two options—TEAS Plus and TEAS Standard—come with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. Keep reading to learn more.
This article will cover:
TEAS Plus vs. TEAS Standard
When starting the trademark application process with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, one of the first questions you’ll answer is which type of trademark application you’re filing: TEAS Plus or TEAS Standard. If this is your first time encountering these options, it can be hard to know what to choose.
Below is a summary of TEAS Plus vs TEAS Standard, which are both accessed in TEAS (Trademark Electronic Application System) via your MyUSPTO account. We’ll discuss these items in detail further down this page.
TEAS Plus costs $250 per class; all filing fees are due when you submit. TEAS Standard costs $350 per class; $350 is due when you submit, and if you owe more it can be paid later.
- Goods/Services Description
TEAS Plus only allows for the selection of pre-written goods and services descriptions. TEAS Standard allows you to describe your goods/services free-form.
- Application Requirements
TEAS Plus requires certain statements at the time of filing. TEAS Standard allows these statements to be filed at a later time.
Northwest’s Trademark Service submits applications using TEAS Plus as often as possible, saving you money now and time later.
TEAS Plus Application
TEAS Plus is the most commonly used trademark application. To understand why, it helps to look at a main benefit of TEAS Plus: its price point. At $250 per class ($100 less than the alternative), it’s the cheapest federal trademark registration option in existence.
Of course, the application isn’t cheaper for nothing. In exchange, TEAS Plus applicants must adhere to some stricter application rules and provide additional information upfront.
Pre-Approved Goods/Services Descriptions
When using a TEAS Plus application, you must select goods/services descriptions from USPTO-provided options. This can be a sticking point when determining if this application type is a good fit. But what does it mean, exactly?
When you register a trademark, you do so in connection to specific goods/services. For example, maybe you sell ceramic vases and pots. For your registration to move forward, and to adequately protect your trademark and brand, you need to accurately describe these goods (and select the correct trademark class).
Prior to applying, use the Trademark ID Manual to conduct searches and familiarize yourself with how the USPTO describes goods and services like yours. Searching for “ceramic vases and pots” reveals this entry:
Hooray! This pre-approved description matches your goods, so TEAS Plus can be used.
But what if it’s important that the term “handmade” be included in the description? A search reveals that this isn’t a preset option. In that case, using TEAS Standard may make more sense.
Additional Required Statements
When using the TEAS Plus application, additional information may be required at the time of submission. Whether or not this pertains to you depends on the type of mark you’re registering and if it ticks certain boxes.
- Prior Registration
Do you have a previous registration for the same mark? If you do and if the owner’s name on those registrations doesn’t exactly match the name on your current application, you’ll need to claim ownership of the prior registrations and provide the registration numbers.
Are you claiming color as part of your mark? If yes, you’ll need to say so and describe the color and its placement within the mark. Multiple colors can be included.
- Design and Style
Are you claiming design or stylized elements in your mark? For example, are you applying to register a logo? If so, you’ll need to describe the mark.
Does your mark include non-English words? If it does, include the English translation.
Does your mark include non-Latin characters? Include the phonetic spelling in Latin characters, as well as the English translation. If the mark has no English meaning, say that in lieu of a translation.
- Consent to Use Likeness
Does your mark include a name or portrait that could feasibly be that of a specific living person? If so, you’ll need to say who the person is and provide their written consent for use of their likeness. If the name or portrait is not connected to a living person, you’ll need to provide a statement that says so.
- Concurrent Use
Is your mark also in use by someone else? Concurrent use occurs when multiple parties are cleared to use the same trademark. This status is rare, and there are various concurrent use requirements to meet. If you think concurrent use applies to your situation, seeking a lawyer’s help may be useful.
TEAS Standard Application
The TEAS Standard application is a bit less rigid than its TEAS Plus counterpart. This comes with a cost: TEAS Standard is $350 per class. For some, this higher cost is worth it or even essential based on the facts of their mark.
Free Form Goods/Services Description
If none of the pre-approved goods/services descriptions match what you’re selling in connection to your mark, it’s time to consider TEAS Standard. With this application, you can write descriptions as needed.
When formulating the description(s), try to emulate the style of writing that appears in the pre-approved versions: clear and concise. Do your best to describe your goods/services in plain words that avoid industry jargon.
Fewer Required Statements
The TEAS Standard application has fewer statements required for submission than TEAS Plus. Note that if you skip relevant optional-for-now statements, you will have to provide responses at a later time.
For example, if your mark is in a language other than English, you don’t necessarily have to provide the translation in order to submit your TEAS Standard application. Bear in mind, however, that omitting this may slow down your registration—the translation would still need to be provided at some point, and the USPTO will likely issue an office action to get it.
Types of Trademark Applications FAQs
Can I alter pre-approved goods/services descriptions?
In some cases, yes. While most goods/services descriptions in the ID Manual cannot be changed, some contain brackets in which you’re allowed to fill-in-the-blank with your own applicable information.
What if I forget to include a required TEAS Plus application statement?
If you forget to include a required statement in your TEAS Plus application, your submission may ultimately be switched to TEAS Standard, accompanied by applicable fees. Because of this, it’s important to understand the requirements of the application (and to include all essentials!) as they relate to your particular trademark.
Do I have to pay all TEAS Standard filing fees at once?
No. If you submit a TEAS Standard application, $350 (the base fee) is due at the time of filing. If you owe more than that—say, if you apply to register under multiple classes—you can pay the rest at a later time.
*This is informational commentary, not advice. This information is intended strictly for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. This information is not intended to create, nor does your receipt, viewing, or use of it constitute, an attorney-client relationship. More information is available in our Terms of Service.