How long should it take a lawyer to do a trademark application?


I have a corporate lawyer who billed me for about 4 hrs for a very simple trademark application (like 10 lines). Does this sounds excessive for a simple trademark application?

This is the first time I've had one submitted.


asked Jul 23 '11 at 07:35
142 points

3 Answers


That does sound like a lot of time, especially for something you can do yourself pretty quickly with a Nolo book. Did you get an estimate from him before you did this? And did he explain what he spent all that time on?

Lawyers and accountants are like auto repair shops - if you don't already have a good one you trust, it's always a good idea to get recommendations, ask for estimates, and shop around a bit. They're also like contract programmers: the ones who really know what they're doing may be more expensive per hour, but cheaper in the long haul because they can get the job done a lot quicker.

answered Jul 23 '11 at 07:55
Bob Murphy
2,614 points
  • Thx Bob, I would concur with your opinion. He'd estimated a couple of hours but, IMHO, there was too much padding. They were recommended to me but it is a large corporate firm (~$400 / hr). Prob more work coming up so will pass on using them in the future. I know it's lean times for a lot of the major firms. I'd like to hear other opinions ideally - maybe I'm being unreasonable. – Timpone 12 years ago
  • @timpone: Yep, I had a similar experience once with a large corporate accounting firm, Arthur Young, in the late '80s. It was one of the "Big Eight" major audit firms, and a predecessor of the current "Big Four". They wanted to charge me $1500 to "research" something which was in that year's "Arthur Young Consumer Guide To Taxes". I gave them the page number, told them I wasn't paying that bill, and they wisely dropped it. – Bob Murphy 12 years ago
  • For the last twenty years, I've used a great local business law firm with five partners and a bunch of associates. They've been around for 45 years and are very plugged into the community. They don't over-bill because the last thing the senior partners want to do is go to the yacht club or the symphony and have someone rag on them. When I recently had to lawyer up in another area, I found a similar local firm there that's been around since 1925, and they've done really well by me. Those local firms with the paneled offices survive by making money the old-fashioned way: they earn it. – Bob Murphy 12 years ago
  • I agree with this. 4 hours is ridiculous, but it's what you typically see if you have accidentally hired a large corporate law firm that has no sensitivity to startups. You've got the wrong lawyer. Personally I would pay the bill (chalk it up to education) and find a better lawyer. – Joel Spolsky 12 years ago


You can submit yourself with less hassle through a service called Trademarkia You know upfront what it will cost and choose the level of assistance you need. I found it very painless to do a search and lodgement

answered Jul 25 '11 at 14:38
Allison Reynolds
394 points
  • This looks very interesting, thanks for sharing! I guess there are two perspectives on this. One view could be they charge 159 USD for something I can easily do myself online at the USPTO website. Another view is that if they're value-add with legal scrutiny of the applications, protecting against beginner mistakes, picking the right breadth of business fields etc, then they're a great value at only 159 USD. Have you tried them ... any personal experience on how much feedback and improvement of the application they provide? – Jesper Mortensen 12 years ago
  • good resource, thx for info. Any info or war stories from using this service would be appreciated. Need a similar one for forming LLC. thx for all comments – Timpone 12 years ago
  • Yes I have used them for trademark and logo trademarking. I chose to have them lodge for me as it was my first go. The mark came back with queries from the USPTO and a Trademarkia person explained to me what they were requesting and gave me some choices to action. I chose one and they filled in the forms and lodged them for me. It was all very friendly and I feel that I got my money's worth from them. – Allison Reynolds 12 years ago


$1600 is certainly at the high end of what you'd want to pay for a federal trademark application but four hours isn't too unlikely if the law firm conducted a trademark clearance search. Also, did their legal fees cover the $325 USPTO filing fee? I work with startups regularly and assist with trademark applications at a flat fee but I'd say 1-3 hours per application is the norm. Each application (and client) is different. Online services like Nolo can be convenient for helping complete the application form but there's a wide range of related counseling that these services don't provide (e.g. registration includes the responsibility to prevent others from using confusingly similar marks, meaning you should expect to incur related enforcement costs in the future or risk losing the trademark). Find a good attorney and start building a strong lasting relationship. Your IP assets will be some of the most valuable your business owns so protect them as best you can.

answered Jul 26 '11 at 20:12
Kenan Farrell
1 point

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics: