Whether you are filing a new trademark application or looking to maintain a registration, understanding trademark specimen best practices is key. A common pitfall when filing your application is failing to provide an acceptable specimen that shows how you use your trademark in commerce. This can lead to your registration being rejected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Here are five trademark specimen mistakes to avoid and best practices.
If your application is based on “use in commerce” USPTO will require you to submit a specimen with the application. If you apply for “intent to use,” USPTO will require you to submit your specimen later on as proof of use. This is evidence that shows how you actually use the trademark in connection with your goods or services, in the marketplace. It is important to make sure your specimen shows use of the trademark on the goods or services applied for and otherwise fits USPTO’s requirements or your application can be rejected.
If your application is based on a foreign application or registration, or you filed under the Madrid Protocol, you will not be required to submit a specimen to register your mark. However, you will be required to submit specimens at other required times to maintain your trademark. It is also important to remember that foreign trademark applicants and registrants must be represented before the USPTO by a licensed US attorney.
When submitting your specimen, reasons your application may be rejected are if your trademark specimen:
Completing a trademark application and submitting the correct specimen can be challenging. Working with a trademark attorney can help you to avoid pitfalls and help you best protect your brand.