How much does it cost to trademark a logo? What is the most cost-effective way?

Do I need to register my logo as a trademark?

I’ve made some major changes to my product lineup, so I have a new logo, but do I need to register a trademark? I’m not in any trouble at the moment, and I’m not sure.

Simply using a trademark does not create trademark rights. It is better to obtain trademark rights to avoid the risk of having your logo imitated by other companies and to establish your own brand. If you are going to do business, we recommend that you obtain the rights as soon as possible.

What is Trademark Registration?

Trademark registration is the process of applying for and registering a trademark (mark) to be used for goods or services with the Japan Patent Office.
Once a trademark is registered, trademark rights are granted and the applicant becomes the owner of the trademark. Trademark rights are an important intellectual property for a company, as they allow for the exclusive use of the registered trademark within the scope of goods and services specified in the application (Trademark Law, Article 25). In addition, the Japanese trademark system is based on the first-to-file principle, which means that if two or more applications are filed for the same or similar trademark, the first to file is granted the right (Trademark Law, Article 8). Therefore, even if a trademark is used first, if a third party files an identical or similar trademark application, not only will the use of that trademark become unavailable, but the third party may also demand a large sum of money for damages for trademark infringement.

When should you register a trademark?

If you already use a trademark in your business or plan to use it in the future, it is generally recommended that you file a trademark application. However, trademark applications are not free. If you only plan to use the trademark for a relatively short period of time, or if you do not expect to sell many products or services using the trademark, it is not cost-effective from a business standpoint, and there is little merit in registering the trademark. If you cannot decide by yourself whether you really should apply for a trademark, we recommend that you consult a patent attorney.

Is there any difference in the cost of applying for trademark registration for Standard character (letters/text) only and for a logo?

I understand the importance of trademark rights, but I can’t get started right away because I know that filing for a trademark is expensive. Besides, the new logo uses a lot of colors, so it’s going to cost more than a Standard character (letters/text) only mark.

Trademarks can range from Standard character (letters/text) only, to logos, to those containing graphics. Will the filing fee be higher if the design is more elaborate?

This article explains the costs of filing a logo mark.

Fees Required for Trademark Applications

There are two major types of fees required for filing an application for trademark registration: an application processing fee (stamp fee) to be paid to the Patent Office and an agent fee to be paid to a representative (patent firm or patent attorney). These fees increase depending on the scope (category) of goods or services for which the trademark is applied for, so if you wish to obtain a trademark right that can be used in a wide range of areas, the fees will be high, but they will not be high just because the trademark has an elaborate design or uses many colors. For example, if you file an application for one logo in one category, the stamp fee alone is 12,000 yen.

I understand that there is no difference in the filing fee for a Standard character (letters/text) only trademark and a logo trademark. Are there any fees other than the application fee that I should check?

Note that there may be a difference in cost between a Standard character (letters/text) only trademark and a logo trademark when conducting a search to determine if the trademark will be registered before filing an application.

When there is a difference in the cost of a search?

It is difficult to obtain a registration if there is an identical or similar registered trademark of another party in the scope of the designated goods or services for which the application is planned to be filed. It is a good idea to research the possibility of registration and infringement before filing an application. In the case of a logo that is not only a character logo, but also a symbol mark or an illustration, for example, McDonald’s or Starbucks, it is necessary to conduct not only a character search but also a graphic search.

I see! So the search fee could be higher for a logo trademark that includes parts other than letters! By the way, can I do the search by myself?

Trademark searches can be done free of charge using the JPO’s database search site (j-platpat), but it should be noted that this is only a simple search. Also, the search method requires a bit of technique, as you need to select multiple codes. Therefore, if you are aiming for early registration of a trademark that is particularly important to your company, you should consult a patent attorney to conduct a detailed search.

Learn how to apply for logos at the best price!

The most economical way to file a logo application is to file it yourself. In this case, you only need to pay the filing fee (stamp fee) and the submission fee (actual expenses such as mailing costs) to the Patent Office, and there is no agent’s fee. However, if you file the application yourself, you will have to worry daily about whether the Patent Office has contacted you afterwards, and you will also have to manage the payment and renewal deadlines yourself. If you file an improper application, an amendment order or a notice of reasons for refusal will be issued, and if the examination does not result in registration, you will have to pay to file another application, which wastes time and money. It is advisable to carefully consider whether or not the cost is really lower.

I’m worried about filing by myself. I would like to ask an expert for help, but I can’t spend much money… Is there any good way? For example, can’t I just get advice or information from an expert on the parts I don’t understand?

We recommend Amazing DX, an inexpensive online trademark registration application service provided by a major patent law firm. Basically, applicants need to prepare their own applications on the system, but in addition to receiving AI support, they can immediately consult with a patent attorney specializing in trademarks if they have any questions, and they can also follow up on the management of post-application notices. We especially recommend this service for those who want to get the maximum performance at the lowest cost.
For more information, click here.

If I can save myself the hassle and the risk of having my logo rejected by incurring minimal agent fees, that sounds like a good deal in the end!

When it comes to hiring a law firm, you may be hesitant to do so because of the “high cost” and “fastidious people. In this respect, HARAKENZO WORLD PATENT & TRADEMARK offers “Amazing DX” at a surprisingly low price, and you can also chat with our trademark attorneys, so even first-time users can feel free to use our service.
Of course, if you would like more extensive services or further advice, we will be happy to provide you with separate information and support.

Supervisor for the article:
大阪法務戦略部長 八谷 晃典
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