The old joke is that the three least believable sentences in the English language are: “The check is in the mail,” “Of course I’ll respect you in the morning,” and “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”

But fair is fair, and I am happy to report that one arm of the government has done something very helpful indeed: the Trademark office has reduced the cost of filing trademark applications and renewals.

Once upon a time, all trademark filings were done on paper and via the U.S. Mail. That option is still available, but it’s expensive: you pay a $375 fee for each classification of goods and services in the application. Several years ago, the office introduced electronic filing. As an inducement to use the new approach, it lowered the fee to $325 for electronic applications. The strategy worked, and the vast majority of trademark applications are now filed electronically.

This month the Trademark Office introduced yet another option: the “RF” (“Reduced Fee”) application, which costs only $275. The catch is that you have to use electronic filing for all subsequent filings pertaining to the application. If at any point you revert to paper filing, you get hit with a $50 charge. But most sophisticated companies and law firms – like ours – typically do all their filing electronically anyway, so it’s not a big issue.

The Trademark Office has also reduced the fee for renewing a registration, from $500 to $400. Registrations are only renewed every ten years, so that’s not a huge saving in absolute terms. But when was the last time the government gave you a 20 percent discount on anything? (That’s what I thought.) I look forward to passing these savings along to clients going forward.