Trademark Specimens | Alloy Patent Law

Trademark Specimens | Alloy Patent Law

September 24, 2021
Emilio Ricaforte

Find out what trademark specimens are, why they’re important to your business, and how you can prepare one today.


In order to successfully register a trademark, you must file a complete trademark application. Part of that application is to submit specimens. A specimen is merely proof of how you use the mark in connection to your product. The point at which you will be required to submit specimens depends on whether you are filing your trademark application under “actual use” or “intent to use.” Specimens are not complicated legal concepts; they’re simply a sample or evidence of your trademark as you actually use it in the market.

Even better news: you won’t have to send the USPTO a sample of your actual product or meet with an agent to demonstrate your services. With today’s electronic filing system for trademarks, a photograph, scanned copy, screen capture, or even a print-out of your specimen would work. However, if you are submitting a website screen capture, you must include the URL and date you accessed the website with your specimen, whether on the screen capture itself, or separately when you file your trademark application.

The kinds of specimens you ultimately submit will depend on whether you provide goods or services.

If you’re applying for a trademark for goods that you sell in the marketplace, the following list encompasses most specimens our clients submit. Along with your trademark, you could submit photos of any of the following:

  • Your actual goods. With these kinds of specimen, your mark would be etched on or stamped on your product itself.
  • Labels or tags for your goods, like a label on a wine bottle.
  • Packaging for your goods. For example, if you sold cookies, you could simply submit a photo of the box the cookies come in.
  • Sales displays for your products. That sales display you use for selling your box of cookies could also serve as a specimen.
  • Webpages that sell your products. Webpages are the most common form of specimen submissions. All you have to do is provide a screenshot of the website that sells your product, along with your mark in close proximity to your product, the price your product is sold for, and a “Buy Now/Add to Cart” button.

Other forms of submission are available but are more specific to certain products and industries. Schedule an appointment with Walker, our patent law specialist, if you need more information on specimens for goods.

Specimens for services take a different form compared to specimens for goods. If you’re applying for a trademark for services, the following are typical examples of specimen submissions:

  • Online or printed material, such as a newspaper or online ad for legal services.
  • T.V. and Radio Commercials can be submitted in .MP4 and .MP3 format, respectively.
  • Marketing material you use when you advertise your services, like flyers or leaflets.
  • Signs where you provide your service. You could submit a photo of the front of your business and company sign.
  • Material used while providing your service. These can vary depending on what kind of service you provide. Some examples include:
  • Photos of your menu for your restaurant.
  • Photos of your band performing on stage with your band’s name near your group while performing.
  • Business documents like invoices can also be submitted provided your mark is on it.
  • Business cards and letterhead can also be submitted if, like invoices, your mark is on them.

These examples for goods and services specimens are not all-inclusive. If you would like more information on specimens and see specific examples the USPTO considers acceptable, visit the USPTO’s page on Trademark Specimens. However, the site’s technical jargon may be too much for the non-lawyer. If you have any questions about your trademark application and specimens, schedule an appointment with us at Alloy Patent Law. We’d be happy to help!

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