Putting a Price on Peace of Mind

FairWinds Partners —  January 24, 2013

Though they have not yet announced when the new gTLD Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) will officially open for registrations, providers Deloitte and IBM have published the pricing scheme for those who wish to register their trademarks in the database. Registrations are available to two types: “Trademark Holders,” or individual trademark owners who wish to register their own marks in the TMCH, and “Trademark Agents,” or companies or agencies that represent multiple, individual trademark owners. There are also two types of fee structures, Basic and Advanced, which we break down here.

 

Basic Fee Structure

This structure is only available to Trademark Holders, who are required to pay by credit card and can register up to ten trademarks for a term of one, three or five years. The pricing for each registration is as follows (please note that all prices in this post are in U.S. dollars):

All in all, the Basic Fee Structure is, in a word, pretty basic.

 

Advanced Fee Structure

This is where it starts to get a bit more complicated. The Advanced Fee Structure offers discounted pricing based on a system of “Status Points.” Both Trademark Holders and Trademark Agents can participate in this structure, but in order to do so they must open up a Prepayment Account, which requires a deposit of $15,000 (credit cards are not accepted).

Holders and Agents can obtain Status Points by registering and renewing trademark registrations. Each one-year registration or renewal is worth one point, and three- and five-year registrations and renewals are worth four and seven points, respectively. The more Status Points one acquires, the lower the prices for subsequent registrations and renewals:

As you can see, it takes a high number of status points to obtain a meaningful discount, making the Advanced Fee Structure a much more attractive option for Trademark Agents than Trademark Holders – especially considering that the prices for up to 3,000 status points are basically the same as the fees in the Basic Fee Structure.

 

Early Bird Registration

There is one more twist in the TMCH pricing scheme, an Early Bird Registration discount. The Early Bird period will run from the day the TMCH opens (still yet to be determined) until the calendar day before the first Sunrise period of the first new gTLD to launch opens. So, if the first gTLD launches its Sunrise period on May 1, 2013, then Trademark Holders and Agents who register in the TMCH on or before April 30, 2013 will get the Early Bird Registration benefits. For one, they will be eligible for additional Status Points – one additional point for each three-year registration and two additional points for each five-year registration. But more importantly, instead of expiring on the anniversary of the registration date, trademarks registered during the Early Bird period will expire of the anniversary of the calendar day prior to the day the first new gTLD launches its Sunrise period.

In other words, if a Trademark Holder or Agent registers a mark for a one-year registration on February 20, 2013 and the first gTLD launches its Sunrise period on May 1, 2013, the registration will expire on April 30, 2014, not on February 20, 2014. This essentially equates to two free months of registration. While the monetary value may not be huge, it will be worth it for many brand owners to register their marks early so they have one less administrative detail to worry about once Sunrise periods begin, given that there could be as many as 20 launching every week.