How to register your trademark in the Trademark Clearinghouse (and why you should)

The Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) has opened for business. Queue “Eye of the Tiger,” put on your sweatbands, and start jogging in place, because for all you trademark and brand owners out there, now is the perfect time to register your trademark and start protecting yourself. Take advantage of Early Bird registration and prevent the “oh, crap” moment six months down the line when you realize you forgot to register and Sunrise on one of your favorite nTLDs is about to launch. Here’s a breakdown of the benefits of registration, as well as an overview of pricing and registration options and how to register.

Benefits of Registration

Trademark owners who register their marks in the Clearinghouse gain two out right advantages over trademark owners who don’t:ntld clearinghouse

  1. Sunrise Service: The minimum requirement for participating in the Sunrise periods for any nTLD will be having your registered trademark submitted in the Clearinghouse. Sunrise is the prime opportunity to secure the domain names you want before anyone else, and registering in the Clearinghouse is the only way to participate.
  2. Trademark Claims Service: Arguably the best benefit of registering in the Trademark Clearinghouse is that you’ll be notified when anyone tries to register a domain that contains your trademark in it. Without having to defensively register your trademark in hundreds of new registries, the Clearinghouse allows you to register once, and have your trademark in the database every nTLD registry has to check. When someone tries to register your mark, they’ll be notified that you own it. If they continue, you’ll be notified that they registered the domain and be able to act quickly.

Pricing and Registration Options

The cost of registering one trademark is $150 for one year. The price goes down if you purchase multiple year registrations. For example, it costs $435 to register 3 years, saving $15, and $735 for 5 years, still saving $15. While the $15 saving might not be that impressive, the opportunity to register for multiple years and then not have to worry about re-registering will give you peace of mind – you’ll be protected, and now you won’t have to worry about it.

Your Sunrise Period registrations are not included in the price of Trademark Clearinghouse registration. The cost of registration is wholly dependent on the individual registries in charge of the nTLDs you want to register with.

You can register up to ten different variations of your registered trademark before having to pay extra, and the cost to add a variation is nominal – only a one dollar a year per variation of the same trademark. To register multiple trademarks, you’ll be billed $150 for each. If you have a portfolio of a multitude of trademarks, you may want to look into going through a trademark agent, because agents earn points as they register trademarks and get discounted prices the more trademarks they register. Those savings may get passed on to you.

If you register early, which is now, you’ll be included in the Early Bird registration, which means that although you’ll be covered immediately, your registration won’t expire until a year after the sunrise period of any given nTLD starts, so you’ll be getting an extra few months of coverage for free. For detailed pricing plans, click here.

How to Register

In order to register:

  1. Go to Trademark-Clearinghouse.com and click “Register Now.”
  2. You’ll have the option to register as a trademark holder or trademark agent.
  3. Be sure to complete the online forms accurately – if your trademark is rejected for any reason, including clerical error, you’ll still be charged.
  4. You’ll be prompted to provide the proper documentation, and your trademark needs to be a legally recognized and registered trademark. Some exceptions apply, which are listed here.
  5. The Clearinghouse will notify you when your trademark is accepted or rejected. The time it takes to get back to you is dependent on how many trademarks you enter.

For more information about what exactly the TMCH does, check out our incredibly informed, well-written explanation, here. Also, one of the best ways to watch for Sunrise periods is to subscribe to our nTLD watcher. Let us know which nTLDs you want to know about and we’ll email you as they move through the process and enter into Sunrise.

Any questions we didn’t answer? Leave them in the comments section and we’ll get back to you.