The price of a trademark application
It is often difficult to evaluate the overall price of a trademark application, which varies according to the number of classes chosen, and which, beyond the application as such, includes ancillary costs that must also be considered.
The INPI, the institute with the monopoly on registration
The National Institute of Industrial Property, more commonly known by the acronym INPIis a state-owned institution. When it comes to guaranteeing industrial property titles, a reliable and neutral service should therefore be offered, which is what the INPI does. However, its monopoly situation leads the French public establishment to charge prices to which the public is obliged to submit, without the possibility of competition. The INPI is thus in a monopoly situation and offers the prices it wishes, although they remain regulated and controlled by the State.
How much does it cost to file with the INPI?
The INPI offers many services, which some consider too expensive for small project leaders. The latter sometimes find themselves faced with a difficult choice: pay to register their trademark, or save the money, at the risk of encountering intellectual property problems later on.
Here are the main INPI filing fees, which have changed in mid-December 2019, as a result of the entry into force of the PACTE law :
- Registering a trademark online is charged 190 euros for 1 class, compared to 210 euros for 1 to 3 classes before the reform. Note that it is 250 euros if it is done in paper format, justified by the additional steps required by the INPI to process the file.
- For each additional class, the Institute charges 40 euros (compared to 42 euros before the reform).
Remember that trademark protection lasts 10 years, so the annual investment is relatively low. Although some people prefer to limit their expenses as much as possible when they start their business in order to concentrate on their core business, it is and always remains preferable to register their trademark before starting to use it, or at the beginning of its use. On this subject, see our article why register a trademark ?
Other costs to be taken into account
Prior art searches
Prior to filing, it is strongly advised to conduct prior art searches. These searches make it possible to ensure the availability of a trademark in its sector of activity, and therefore its freedom of use.
As for the cost of research:
- Identical searches do not require any particular investment: they are carried out on databases that are freely accessible and make it possible to detect any prior trademarks that are strictly identical to one's project.
- Similarity searches are subject to a fee, and cost 50 € for 1 to 3 classes. They consist of a listing of relevant earlier trademarks that are visually or phonetically close to his project. For example, if the proposed trademark is GRINGO, similarity searches will identify earlier trademarks such as GRINGUETTE, GRINGA, BINGO, etc...
Not all the marks found by the INPI during prior art searches are relevant, but in order to know the potential danger they represent, it is necessary to apply an precise method of analysis. As the INPI does not offer an analysis service for these trademarks, the applicant is left to his own devices. In almost all cases, the applicant is not able to draw the right conclusions from such a listing, which is then useless to him. If you wish to carry out a search for similarities, we advise you to consult an Industrial Property Attorney to analyse them. Do not hesitate to consult our offers on this subject.
Renewal of the trademark application
Renewal only occurs after 10 years. In the meantime, there is no fee to be paid to the INPI for maintaining the trademark in force. As of today (March 2020), the cost of renewing a brand The cost of a French class is €290 for 1 class, and €40 for each additional class (before the reform, the cost was €250 for 3 classes).
Publication or registration scams
Beware, unscrupulous companies systematically send letters to applicants asking them to pay a large sum for the publication of their trademark on their registers. They usually use names that sound "official", such as "European Intellectual Property Institute". Some are tempted to pay these bills. Of course, this is a common scam, which is also encountered when setting up a business. See our blog article on publication scams.
Reimbursement of fees in case of refusal or opposition
In this case, taxes are not refunded. The fact that the registration of the trademark does not expire does not lead the INPI to make any reimbursement.
This is why it is preferable, before filing, to ensure that your trademark is registrable and available.
Registering your trademark directly or seeking legal advice
Intellectual property is a particularly broad and complex subject requiring in-depth knowledge. It is important for applicants to be aware of the existing danger. The soundness of the project can be disrupted in the event of a poor filing, a challenge from a competitor with significant financial resources, or a lack of information in this field. In this particular case, the use of an Intellectual Property Counsel is extremely relevant, and prices can remain accessible to even the tightest of purses.