A Simple Guide to Trademark Specimens
Updated: Apr 28
In the process of applying for or maintaining a trademark registration, it is essential to submit a specimen. A specimen serves as a tangible illustration of how your trademark is utilized in commerce, specifically in association with the goods or services outlined in your application. This helps establish a clear link between your trademark and the products or services you provide to your customers.
For goods, specimens should directly associate the trademark with the goods. Examples include:
The goods themselves, like a coffee mug with the trademark on it.
Labels and tags, such as a label on a t-shirt displaying the trademark.
Packaging, like a laundry detergent box featuring the trademark.
Sales displays, like a counter display with hair-care products and the trademark.
Webpages selling the goods, showing the trademark, price, and a shopping cart button.
For services, specimens should directly associate the trademark with the services. Examples include:
Online or print advertising, like a newspaper ad for financial services.
TV or radio commercials, such as an MP3 file of a TV commercial for laboratory testing.
Marketing materials, like brochures promoting hospital services.
Signage at the service location, such as a grocery store sign.
Material used in providing the services, like a restaurant menu or a band's name displayed during a live performance.
Invoices, business cards, and letterheads that indicate the services provided.
Submit specimens electronically as photographs, scanned copies, screen captures, or printouts of the physical specimen. For webpages, include the URL and the date accessed or printed.
An acceptable specimen must:
Be a real example of the trademark's use, not a mock-up or digitally altered image.
Show the trademark used with the goods or services listed in your application.
Depict the same trademark as shown in your drawing.
Show your use of the trademark, not someone else's.
Be an appropriate type of specimen based on whether you have goods or services.
Directly associate the mark with the goods or services.
Function as a trademark, perceived by consumers as a source indicator for the goods or services.
If the specimen doesn't meet these requirements, the USPTO will refuse to accept it.
Navigating the trademark process can be complex. If you need assistance, consider contacting our law firm for expert guidance. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping you protect and enforce your intellectual property rights. Contact us today to get started.
You can learn more about acceptable specimens in the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP) sections 904 (specimens for goods) and 1301.04 (specimens for services).
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