Trademark Specimen Dos and Don’ts
A trademark indicates the source or origin of a good or service. A trademark owner is required to submit proof of use in commerce through a specimen, which is a sample of a trademark’s use in real life: a photo of packaging or labels or a screenshot of a website with a price and shopping cart button for goods. For services, a specimen may consist of marketing material showing the trademark with the services.
- Include the URL and date of capture for website screenshots.
- Match the specimen sample to the applied-for trademark exactly.
- Show the full trademark and legibly [Is something missing, or should this say “Show the full, legible trademark.” or “Show the full trademark, making sure it’s legible.”?]
- For goods, show the trademark with a picture or description of the goods.
- Mail a physical specimen only for flavor, scent, or other non-traditional trademarks; otherwise submit specimens electronically.
- Provide drafts, mock-ups, outlines, or altered images of trademark use: Specimens must reflect actual use in interstate commerce.
- Photos with white background (because of concerns that the specimens could look fake).
- Submit other’s use of the trademark, such as specimens taken from social media news or press releases.
- Show a merely informational specimen, unassociated with the sale of the goods or services.
- Use advertising material as a specimen for goods.
- Offer specimen used only in business dealings, such as business stationery or invoices.