There are numerous and significant differences between the two USPTO TEAS trademark application forms.
One question that comes up a lot when people go to file a trademark application at the USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office) is TEAS PLUS versus TEAS STANDARD application forms.
A TEAS Plus application has a lower filing fee, currently $250 per class. But, in exchange for the government giving you a lower filing fee, the applicant has to meet certain requirements upfront, and throughout the application process, and there is a penalty if those requirements are not met. There are a variety of technical requirements that must be met when the application is submitted, but the most important one by far is the limitation when using TEAS Plus forms in describing the goods and services. When you file TEAS Plus, you can only select from the pre-approved list of descriptions of goods and services that the USPTO publishes.
There are many great descriptions and useful things on the pre-approved list, but it has significant limitations, particularly in many industries that are nuanced or complicated to describe. As a result, I generally avoid TEAS Plus applications and favor TEAS Standard applications. A TEAS Standard application has a filing fee today of $350 per. But, if you file a TEAS Standard you never have to worry about the penalty of failing to meet the requirements; if you file a TEAS Plus and you don’t meet the requirements at some point along the way, you’re penalized $100 – and in my experience it also involves additional time and energy.
Due to the limitation in the description of goods and services – and the description of goods and services is a really, really important part of the application, and can be very important in dealing with likelihood of confusion arguments and differentiating one mark from another mark – I don’t like the risks and limitations of using TEAS Plus. That’s my personal preference.
If you want more details about this and the entire trademark application process, there is much more information about the entire application process, USPTO forms, filing fees, and why it’s so important to file your trademark with the USPTO in the first place, all contained in my book, Building a Bold Brand.