To obtain a trademark registration in the United States, you are required to show “use” of your trademark. In other words, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) wants to know exactly how you are using the mark in commerce. This is typically done by submitting an application and including a specimen—or example– of your activities.
Trademark specimens can come in many different forms, depending on what it is that you are offering to the public. Let’s look at common specimens for goods, for example. If you are using your trademark on a T-shirt, you could submit an image of the tag of the shirt with your trademark on it. Or, say you create mugs. You should show your trademark on the bottom of the mug as well as the packaging that the mug is shipped in. You will also likely show a screenshot of the website where your trademarked item is available for sale.
Trademark specimens for services, on the other hand, are a little more difficult to produce. Typically, you would submit a screenshot of your website or a photo of an advertisement that features your trademark being used in connection with your service.
Your specimen will also need to demonstrate how your customer purchases the service connected with the mark. For example, you could show a screenshot of a page on your website that has a “buy now” button associated with the service. For higher ticket items that can’t be purchased directly online, you must at least show how a consumer can take the next step with your company (e.g., show a page that says “call for a demo,” or “contact us for pricing” etc.)
One final point: when submitting your specimen (whatever it is—a screenshot, photo, etc.), make sure it’s clear and legible. The trademark office will not accept blurry or illegible specimens. Also, make sure that you are using the mark in the same way you filed the mark itself and for the same goods or service you filed for. For example, if you file for a logo in a specific color your specimen must be filed in those exact colors or if you file for a single word (GooniesRock), the specimen must show it as one word not two words (Goonies Rock).
If you have additional questions about submitting a specimen with your trademark application, we are here to guide you through the process. Simply contact our office at 888-666-0062 or click here to schedule a free consultation.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.