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.
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
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.