If you want to register a new trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, you’ll have to fill out and submit an application through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).
When doing so, you can choose to file under one of two different applications:
- TEAS Plus
- TEAS Standard (Formerly the TEAS Reduced Fee Form)
While historically you could also choose to file these applications through the mail, this is no longer the case.
Specifically, electronic filing of trademark applications is mandatory as of October 5th, 2019.
For this reason (and others we’ll outline below), the TEAS Plus is often the recommended choice for first-time applicants.
As one quick note before we begin, the USPTO no longer provides the option to file the TEAS Regular form.
For this reason, please take any articles that continue to reference this form with a grain of salt while you continue to research the subject.
What’s the Difference Between the Forms?
Put simply, the TEAS Plus form has stricter requirements for filing when compared to the TEAS Standard form.
As a tradeoff, the TEAS Plus form is also the cheapest and most streamlined solution for filing a new trademark.
The USPTO provides a wonderful breakdown of the differences between the forms on their Initial Application Forms Page (which we highly recommend that you read in full).
However, to quickly summarize each form:
- TEAS Plus ($250 per trademark class) – The Plus form is the least expensive option by far, but also carries several additional requirements for filing. Notably, you’ll have to accurately select your goods/services listing, communicate exclusively through your email and the online TEAS system, and provide additional information on your application form.
- TEAS Standard ($350 per trademark class) – The Standard form is a slightly more version of the Plus form. You should only use this form if (1) you are willing to communicate exclusively through your email and the online TEAS system, BUT (2) you don’t want to (or can’t) select your goods/services listing, or you don’t have the information needed to complete the required fields in the Plus form.
TEAS Plus vs. TEAS Standard: Which Should I Use?
The answer to this question is actually pretty simple. When deciding which form to use, you should default to the TEAS Plus form.
Then, if you fail to meet one of the requirements for this form, you should choose the TEAS Standard. If for some reason you are not eligible for that form, you should speak with a trademark attorney.
We’ll provide a bit more information below, but this is the gist of the situation.
What are the benefits of the TEAS Plus application?
The TEAS Plus application is preferred by most trademark applicants, trademark attorneys, and the USPTO itself.
This is because the Plus application is a “streamlined” version of the normal application process.
Put another way, you’ll have to provide more information up front, but your overall process will be much quicker, cheaper, and easier.
What about the TEAS Standard application?
While the Plus form is the preferred application, there are also a few benefits to the Standard application.
Specifically, for a $100 higher filing fee, you can gain the following benefits:
- You don’t have to select your goods/services listing from the Trademark Identification Manual. This means you can simply submit a description of your product or service to the USPTO, who will then place you in the appropriate classification(s). This can help you have a more accurate listing if you sell a unique product or service. However, for normal products, the benefits from this fact are minimal.
- You don’t have to file additional statements alongside your application. However, this is often a double-edged sword. Many of these statements apply to cases where the USPTO will request the information anyway. For this reason, the USPTO may still send you an Office Action with a request for additional information.
For these reasons, filing a Plus application is still the recommended method in ~95% of cases.
The federal trademark application and registration process may seem complicated, but this is mostly because the USPTO has to account for the wide variety of possible trademarks.
When it’s possible to trademark motions, sounds, and even colors, the Trademark office has to provide several different ways for applicants to register their trademarks effectively.
For this reason, if you’re looking to file a basic, vanilla trademark, the TEAS Plus application is probably the right choice in your situation.
However, you should always check the materials on the USPTO website (and maybe even speak with an attorney) before making any final decisions in your case.
If you have a more complex trademark matter, or if your mark doesn’t fit nicely in the requirements for the Plus application listed on the USPTO website, you should speak with an attorney about your options.