Specimens – Part II

To register your trademark in the U.S., you have to submit a “specimen.”

The Trademark Office is picky about what’s acceptable as a specimen. How picky? Let’s look.

The trademark in your specimen has to be exactly the same as the trademark in your application.

  • The two trademarks in the featured image are not the same
  • JUICY! is not the same as JUICY
  • GOOD & PLENTY is not the same as GOOD AND PLENTY

The specimen must show the trademark “on or in connection with” the goods and services in the application.

  • Specimens for goods should be a picture of the actual goods or the packaging with the trademark clearly visible.
  • For services, you can use website screen shots but it has to include the trademark and have plenty of content that talks about the services.

Merely ornamental

If your application is for T-shirts, hats, or other swag, the specimen can’t have the trademark blazoned across the front like a decoration. That specimen will almost always be rejected as “merely ornamental.

Stuff that NEVER works

Here are some items that will never work as a specimen.

  • Printer’s proof of an advertisement or brochure
  • Digitally created/altered image or mockup of the goods
  • Advertising material for goods
  • Online catalog or web page display for goods without ordering information and pricing
  • Invoices

Submitting an acceptable specimen can be the trickiest part of getting a registration. To get it right, you need to know and follow the rules.

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