[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 159 (Thursday, August 16, 2012)]
[Pages 49426-49427]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-20127]



Patent and Trademark Office

[Docket No. PTO-T-2012-0029]

Notice of Inquiry Regarding Adjustment of Fees for Trademark 

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of inquiry.


SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (``USPTO'' or 
``Office'') is considering adjusting trademark application filing fees 
so as to promote efficiency for the USPTO and customers by 
incentivizing complete electronic communication. The USPTO invites the 
public to submit comments regarding such possible adjustments.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before October 15, 2012.

ADDRESSES: The USPTO prefers that comments be submitted via electronic 
mail message to TMFRNotices@uspto.gov. Written comments may also be 
submitted by mail to Commissioner for Trademarks, P.O. Box 1451, 
Alexandria, VA 22313-1451, attention Cynthia C. Lynch; by hand delivery 
to the Trademark Assistance Center, Concourse Level, James Madison 
Building-East Wing, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia, attention 
Cynthia C. Lynch; or by electronic mail message via the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal. See the Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site (http://www.regulations.gov) for additional instructions on providing comments 
via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. All comments submitted directly to 
the Office or provided on the Federal eRulemaking Portal should include 
the docket number (PTO-T-2012-0029). The comments will be available for 
public inspection on the USPTO's Web site at http://www.uspto.gov, and 
will also be available at the Office of the Commissioner for 
Trademarks, Madison East, Tenth Floor, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, 
Virginia. Because comments will be made available for public 
inspection, information that is not desired to be made public, such as 
an address or phone number, should not be included.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia C. Lynch, Office of the Deputy 
Commissioner for Trademark Examination Policy, at (571) 272-8742.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The USPTO is providing the public, including 
user groups, with an opportunity to comment on possible adjustments to 
trademark application fees. In particular, the USPTO is considering 
adjusting filing fees to incentivize complete electronic communications 
by reducing the TEAS Plus filing fee and by providing a discount on 
applications filed using the regular TEAS application form, if the 
applicant authorizes email communication and agrees to file all 
responses and other documents electronically during the prosecution of 
the application. The USPTO is also contemplating increasing the fee for 
paper applications to more accurately reflect the higher cost of 
processing such filings.
    Please consider responding to the following questions in your 
    1. Fees for filing an application for registration of a trademark 
are currently set at:

[[Page 49427]]

    $375 per class for filing by a paper application;
    $325 per class for filing electronically using TEAS;
    $275 per class for filing electronically using TEAS Plus 
(additional requirements apply, including authorizing email 
communication from the USPTO, agreeing to file all subsequent documents 
electronically, and selecting goods/services from a pre-approved entry 
in the U.S. Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual).
    Given the objective to increase end-to-end electronic processing of 
trademark applications, the significantly higher cost of processing 
paper applications, and the ability of the USPTO to offer some fee 
reductions, what fee amounts would you consider reasonable for the 
three existing methods of filing?
    2. How much of a discount do you consider appropriate for the 
proposed TEAS application fee discount if the applicant authorizes 
email communication and agrees to file all responses and other 
documents electronically during the prosecution of the application?
    3. If you generally file trademark applications using TEAS, but not 
TEAS Plus, how much of a proposed discount would motivate you to 
authorize email communication and agree to file all responses and other 
documents electronically during the prosecution of a trademark 
    4. If the TEAS Plus fee were reduced and remained the lowest fee, 
and the discount TEAS option were also offered, what would be the 
impact on the TEAS Plus filing level--i.e. would you be more likely to 
choose TEAS Plus as the lowest fee, or to select the discount TEAS 
option with its less burdensome requirements?
    5. The cost of processing paper filed applications is substantially 
higher than electronically filed applications. If you generally file 
paper trademark applications, would you continue to do so even if the 
paper application fee were to increase, and why?
    6. What advantages and disadvantages do you see in a fee structure 
that includes the TEAS application fee discount and a significantly 
higher fee for paper-filed applications?
    While the USPTO welcomes and values all comments from the public in 
response to this notice, these comments do not bind the USPTO to any 
further actions related to the comments. Persons submitting written 
comments should note that the USPTO will not provide ``comment and 
response'' analysis, since notice and opportunity for public comment 
are not required for this notice under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) or any other 
    Once the USPTO receives comments, the USPTO will decide whether to 
propose a change in the fees. If the USPTO decides to propose a fee 
change, the Office will provide an opportunity for public comment in a 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The USPTO would intend to use the 
procedures set forth in Section 10 of the Leahy-Smith America Invents 
Act (``AIA'') for these possible fee changes. Leahy-Smith America 
Invents Act, Public Law 112-29, Sec.  10, 125 Stat. 284, 316-17 (2011). 
Those Section 10 procedures include: providing any proposed fee to the 
Trademark Public Advisory Committee (``TPAC'') prior to issuing a 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; providing at least 30 days for TPAC to 
deliberate, consider, and comment on such proposal; holding a public 
hearing relating to such proposal; and making available a written 
report from TPAC setting forth their comments, advice, and 
recommendations, which the USPTO shall consider before setting or 
adjusting fees. See AIA Sec.  10(d).

    Dated: August 10, 2012.
David J. Kappos,
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of 
the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2012-20127 Filed 8-15-12; 8:45 am]