Frequently Asked Questions - Trademark Registration

FAQs - Trademark Registration

FAQs

Many people assume they can protect their trademark simply by using the mark in commerce. It is true that you are not required to register a trademark to achieve some level of protection and that one establishes common law rights simply by using a mark in commerce.

However, having a federally registered trademark on the USPTO's principal register provides several advantages:

  • Serves as constructive notice to the public of the registrant's ownership of the trademark
  • Establishes a legal presumption of your ownership of the mark and your exclusive right to use the trademark nationwide on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the registration
  • Allows the registrant to bring an action concerning the trademark in federal court
  • U.S registration can be used as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries
  • Can be filed with U.S. Customs to prevent the importation of infringing foreign goods

Federal registration also allows you to use the ® (the "Circle-R") symbol. Any time you claim rights in a trademark, you may use the TM (trademark) or SM (service mark) symbol to alert the public to your claim, regardless of whether you have filed an application with the USPTO. However, you can only use the federal registration symbol ® after the USPTO has actually registered the trademark, not without an application or while an application is pending. Following registration, you can only use the ® symbol on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the federal trademark registration.

Not to use it. However, federal registration has several advantages, including notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the trademark, a legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and the exclusive right to use the trademark on or in connection with those goods or services set forth in the registration. Federal registration also allows the owner of a trademark to sue for infringement in federal court and to stop the importation of infringing material.

No. However, the applicant's citizenship must be included in an application. If an applicant (such as a corporation) is not a citizen of any country, then a statement to that effect is sufficient. If an applicant has dual citizenship, he or she must choose which citizenship will be printed in the Official Gazette and on the Certificate of Registration.

Not formally. Certain countries, however, do recognize a U.S. registration as a basis for registering the trademark in those countries. Many countries maintain a register of trademarks and some will act to protect the holders of U.S. trademarks from activity that occurs abroad which would, if transacted in the U.S., infringe upon the owner's trademark.

Furthermore, a suit in U.S. Federal Court can be brought by a U.S. trademark owner against another U.S. citizen for exportation of goods wholly for sale abroad that would confuse foreign consumers as to whether the goods were those of the trademark owner.

Finally, the holders of "famous" trademarks may be able to block foreign registration of confusing (same or similar) trademarks abroad (e.g., someone other than Disney registering Mickey Mouse in Iran). Each country's laws about registration should be consulted.

Federal registration is not required to establish trademark rights. "Common law" rights arise from the actual use of a trademark without federal registration. Generally, whoever first uses a trademark in commerce has the ultimate right to use that trademark in that way. However, there are many benefits of federal trademark registration. 

Only a trademark's owner can file an application for its registration. An application filed by a person who is not the owner of the trademark will be declared void. Generally, the person who uses or controls the use of the trademark, and controls the nature and quality of the goods to which it is affixed, or the services for which it is used, is the trademark's owner. 

It is hard to predict how long it will take for an application to mature into a registration since many factors can affect the process. Generally, an applicant will receive a filing receipt almost instantly after filing. In addition, you should receive an initial response from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) within approximately three months of filing the application. 

However, the total application processing time may be anywhere from 6 months to a year, or even longer. Most applications are processed completely in slightly less than one year. Overall processing time depends on your basis for filing and any legal issues that arise in the examination process. 

Current status on trademark applications and registrations can be obtained by accessing the Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval database online at http://tarr.uspto.gov/. To check on average processing times, please visithttp://www.uspto.gov/dashboards/trademarks/main.dashxml.

For a trademark registration to remain valid, a Declaration of Use must be filed: (1) between the fifth and sixth year following registration and (2) within the year before the end of every 10-year period after the date of registration. 

Assuming that a Declaration of Use is timely filed, registrations granted PRIOR to November 16, 1989 have a 20-year term. Registrations granted on or after November 16, 1989 have a 10-year term. Trademarks can be renewed for additional 10-year terms. There is no limit to the number of times a trademark can be renewed, as long as use of the mark by its owner continues.

There are several ways to dispute use of your trademark by someone else. Because each situation has unique facts, you should consider contacting an attorney, preferably one specializing in trademark law. Onbic's Business Advantage Pro can put you in touch with an experienced attorney in this area.

Yes. All trademarks can be sold or assigned. The "goodwill" of any business associated with that trademark must be included in any such transfer. Even trademarks that are unregistered or are the subject of pending applications can be sold or assigned. Written assignments of registered trademarks are recommended, and may be recorded with the USPTO for a fee. The USPTO's Assignments page is www.uspto.gov/ebc/help_assignments_p.htm. Specific inquiries should be referred to the Assignment Division at (571) 272-3350. 

When you file a trademark application, your proposed trademark will go through two main types of review. First, the USPTO will review your application to determine whether or not you have met the minimum filing requirements. Next, the application is forwarded to an examining attorney. (Note: this transition can take several months.)


The examining attorney will then review the application to determine whether it complies with all applicable rules and statutes and includes all required fees. A complete examination includes a search for conflicting trademarks (both registered and pending) as well as a review of the written application, drawing and any specimen. If the examining attorney decides, based on your application, that your trademark should not be registered, he or she will send you a letter, called an Office Action. This letter explains the reasons for the refusal and any technical or procedural problems with your application. Most often, you will have a chance to cure any deficiency in your application, other than a conflict with another trademark.

If minor corrections are all that is required for filing the trademark, the examining attorney may contact you by phone or email. If the examining attorney sends a written Office Action, you have six months from that letter's mailing date to respond with corrections or the application will be declared abandoned.

If your response to an Office Action does not overcome all of the examining attorney's objections, the examining attorney will issue a final refusal. To attempt to overcome a final refusal, you can appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) for an additional fee. This board is an administrative tribunal within the USPTO.

Once your trademark application passes the examining attorney's review, your mark will be published in the Official Gazette. This gives the public an opportunity to object to the mark if they believe they will be damaged by that registration. If no objections are filed within 30 days of publication, the mark will typically be registered in 3-12 months. At that point, you are an official holder of a federally registered U.S. trademark.

 

 

Onbic includes a Basic Federal Direct-Hit Search with your application. This is a search of the USPTO database for potential conflicts with your trademark.

The government will not let you register a pre-existing name or one that is too similar to a name that has already been registered. This means a search of the USPTO database is essential before starting the registration process.

Yes. The examining attorney will search the USPTO records to see if a conflict exists between the trademark in your application and another trademark that is live and registered with or pending with the USPTO. In doing this, he or she will also look for other trademarks that might be confused with yours. The USPTO does not provide preliminary searches for conflicting trademarks before an application is filed. 


When you apply for a trademark with Onbic, we search for other federally registered or pending trademarks that are in direct conflict with your trademark before you submit your application. Onbic also offers a variety of additional comprehensive trademark search services that can help you learn more about the rights and risks associated with your proposed trademark.

The principal factors the USPTO examining attorney uses to determine if there would be a chance of confusion include:

  • The similarity of the marks
  • The commercial relationship between the goods and/or services listed in the application (what "class" or "classes" the trademarks are in and the goods and/or services to which they are applied)
For a conflict to be found, your trademark does not have to be identical to another, and the goods and/or services do not have to be the same. It may be enough that the trademarks are similar and the goods and/or services related.

If a conflict exists between your proposed trademark and a registered trademark, the examining attorney will refuse registration on the ground of likelihood of confusion. If a conflict exists between your trademark and one in a pending application that was filed first, the examining attorney will notify you of the potential conflict and may suspend action on your application, pending the outcome of the conflicting application. If the first application registers, the examining attorney will then refuse your registration on the ground of likelihood of confusion.

 

In addition to likelihood of confusion (discussed above), an examining attorney will refuse registration if the trademark is:

  • Merely descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive of the goods/services
  • Primarily geographically descriptive or geographically deceptive
  • Mostly a surname
  • Solely Ornamental

Registration of your company name as a trademark is the same for USPTO purposes as all other trademark registrations.

However, before you register your company name, you want to determine if your company name is already in use in your state. Your state will generally not let you use a name that is too similar to an already registered business. For this reason, whenever you consider registering your company name as a trademark, you want to research your state's database for registered corporations, LLCs and partnerships with similar names. 

Onbic's U.S. Comprehensive Trademark Search can help you find these conflicts before starting a trademark application.

A service mark is simply a type of trademark. In fact, the words "trademark" and "mark" often refer to both trademarks and service marks. Trademarks help the government and consumers distinguish manufacturers of goods or products from one another. A service mark helps the the government and consumers distinguish service providers from one another. Common law service marks are accompanied by SM as opposed to the TM of common law trademarks. Both goods and services with federally registered trademarks use an ® symbol.

Onbic can help you apply to register your trademark or service mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in three easy steps. Get started today and protect your trademark!

You can usually obtain the protection of state trademark registration by applying for and paying a fee to the Secretary of State (or comparable office) in the state where you are using the trademark. However, federal registration provides more widespread notice to the public and in some cases, may supercede a filing at the state level. Federal registration also provides for greater benefits.

 

The choice between registering a trademark and a copyright is not always a clear one. Trademark and copyright registration are both means of protecting your intellectual property rights. There are, however, important differences between trademark and copyright protection.

Copyrights are a form of protection for the authors of "original works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other creative works.

Copyright does not cover intellectual property such as titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; or mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring. This type of intangible property is often more appropriately protected by a trademark. Think of memorable advertising slogans you have heard. Chances are these slogans are protected by a trademark of some sort, while they are unlikely to qualify for copyright protection.

A trademark protects a word, phrase, symbol or design (or a combination of these), that identifies and distinguishes the goods or services of one person or company from those of others.

Some things, such as more complex logos, may qualify for both trademark and copyright protection. This is because the amount of original authorship in a logo can vary greatly. Most highly recognizable logos are extremely simple objects, such as the Nike "swoosh," and would not qualify for copyright protection. However, a more ornate logo with a great deal of creative authorship might qualify for both trademark and copyright protection.

To protect the name of your company, your newly designed name, logo or a catchphrase, a trademark is probably what you need. To protect your latest painting, the next great American novel or even a brilliantly choreographed dance sequence, a copyright is probably the best route for you.

Whether you need trademark or copyright protection, Onbic makes the process quick and easy.

 

Appropriate use of a trademark is important to comply with federal law (and if applicable, state law). Trademarks include words, symbols or designs that specifically identify and distinguish the source of an owner's commercial goods. This means uses of the trademark that are likely to confuse the public as to whether the use is made by the owner or by another are generally prohibited.


Some trademark owners assume no one else has a right to independently use the mark in any capacity whatsoever. This is not necessarily true. One can refer to a trademark for a legitimate, noninfringing purpose as long as no more of the trademark is being used than is necessary for this purpose. Generally, trademark laws merely control commercial use of the name.

Under the trademark version of "fair use" doctrine, the more common and generic the word(s) are or have become in the English language, the less likely the trademark owner may be able to regulate them. This doctrine also protects "nominative" use of the trademark name, as is often done by competitors in marketing materials. 

Trademark owners often have their own policies as to how their trademark may be used. Here are some typical ways in which use of a trademark by a non-owner might be authorized:

  • With correct trademark and service mark symbols: The symbol ® refers to a federally registered mark, and should be placed after the trademark (e.g. Onbic®). In contrast, names that have not been registered with the USPTO (or those pending registration) may not use the ® symbol. These should be denoted with either TM for a trademark or SM for a service mark (e.g. OnbicTM).
  • As the trademark appears in the USPTO registry: The trademark should not be abbreviated, hyphenated or altered in any other ways. Without misleading or confusing the customer, this is an especially important rule to a trademark owner that lies at the core of trademark protection.

When setting up and maintaining a business, a business owner will need to accomplish many tasks, many of which involve filings with the state or states in which he or she wishes to do or is doing business. These filings include things like registering your business name, setting up a d/b/a, getting an EIN, etc. It is important that business owners understand that NONE of these things give them ANY trademark rights, and especially not federal trademark rights. ONLY use of a trademark to sell or advertise goods or services affords a business trademark rights, and ONLY federal trademark registration carries the benefits of federal trademark registration. 


On the flip side, simply registering your trademark with the USPTO does not necessarily mean that someone has not already registered to do business under such a name with a state, since the USPTO does not search state business filings when determining whether your trademark is registrable. The USPTO also does not search to see whether someone else may already be using the name you are seeking to register as a trademark. For these reasons, Onbic strongly recommends a Comprehensive Trademark Search as part of your trademark package.

 

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requires trademark applicants to list and describe all products ("goods") and services being sold, or planned to be sold, in connection with the trademark contained in an application. This section is important because it will determine other application requirements, as well as which uses of your trademark will be protected.

Description Tips No Yes
Be specific and concise xIcon I'm using this trademark for computer graphics software ok Computer graphics software
Include field or topic where possible xIcon Consulting services ok Consulting services in the field of energy efficiency
Do not leave your description open-ended xIcon Clothing, such as hats, scarves, gloves, etc. ok Clothing, namely hats, scarves, and gloves
Do not include a trademark name xIcon Computer game software for use on iPhones ok Computer game software for use on mobile and cellular phones
Divide product or service list by class type xIcon Hats, shirts, scarves, socks, and motorcycles ok Clothing, namely hats, shirts, scarves and socks

Motor vehicles, namely motorcycles



Here are some important guidelines to follow when writing a list of products and/or services for a trademark application: 

  • Divide products and services into categories. The USPTO separates products and services by categories, called "classes." 
  • Name the class first, followed by all products or services that fall within that class. For instance, if you are selling a line of hats with your trademark, you should list "Clothing, namely hats." (Clothing is the class, and hats are the specific products.) If you have more products that fit within the same class, the format is the same, like "Clothing, namely hats, shirts, scarves and socks." Do not list products that fall into other classes without naming that next class first. So, if you've listed all clothing items and are planning to sell motorcycles as well, you would list "Clothing, namely hats" as your first class. You would then separately list "Motor vehicles, namely motorcycles" as your second class and products within that class. (Vehicles is the class, motorcycles are the products.) Note: Each additional class requires an additional $385, which includes the USPTO filing fee.
  • Be specific and concise. Be as specific and clear as possible in your descriptions of your products and/or services. There's no need to tell a story-just list and describe what you are selling or planning to sell in connection with your trademark. For example, "Computer graphics software" is better than "Computer software" alone, and "Consulting services in the field of energy efficiency" is better than "Consulting services" alone.
  • Avoid leaving your description open-ended. This means avoiding words and phrases like "including," "including but not limited to," "such as," and "etc." within your description. For example, do not write, "Clothing, namely hats, scarves, gloves, etc." or "Clothing, such ashats." The USPTO requires you to be complete in your listing of all the products and services as to which you want to register your trademark in your current application.
  • List only services that you are selling to others-not activities that you engage in to promote or conduct your own business. For services, make sure that you list the services you are providing to others. For example, list "Advertising" only if you are providing advertising services for other people or companies-not if you are only advertising your own business.
  • Do not list items not sold to the public. As with services, only list products that you are selling to others-not materials you use to promote or conduct your own business. For example, do not list promotional or corporate items that are not being sold to the public, such as company brochures, letterhead, or employee uniforms.
  • Do not list products or services you don't plan on selling. Do not include products or services that you are not, nor have a real intention of, selling in the future. If you falsely identify anything on your application, your application may be rejected or your registration later cancelled. If you apply on an "intent-to-use" basis as to any products or services, you should be sure to have materials that can prove your real intent to sell these things, and that you had that real intent as of your filing date. Such materials can include business plans, mock-ups of products and other items that would show that you are working towards the sales you claim to have planned.
  • Do not include a trademark name. Do not include a trademark name (yours or anyone else's) in your description of products and/or services. For example, if your trademark is "Ducktail" for motorcycles, do not list "Ducktail motorcycles" as your product-list "Motor vehicles, namely motorcycles." Rather than "Computer game software for use on iPhones," list "Computer game software for use on mobile and cellular phones."
Please Note:

If registered, your trademark will be protected for use in connection with the products and services listed in your application. If you plan to apply for and protect your trademark to cover different products and/or services later, you will need to submit a new application for the additional items at a later time. 

Trademarks Glossary

CLASS AND CLASSIFICATION

Products ("goods") and services are organized by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) according to specific categories, or "classes." If you wish to use a trademark to cover more than a single product or service, and those products or services fall into more than a single class (for example, motorcycles and clothing) additional fees are required for each additional class. The USPTO numbers its classes, and each number corresponds to a named category, as below. 

Please note that the terms in the class headings or short titles of the classes are generally too broad to be used alone as your actual description of products or services. Also, an international class number alone is never an acceptable listing. 

Product ("Goods") Classes
Class 1: Chemical Products
Chemicals used in industry, science and photography, as well as in agriculture, horticulture and forestry; unprocessed artificial resins; unprocessed plastics; manures; fire extinguishing compositions; tempering and soldering preparations; chemical substances for preserving foodstuffs; tanning substances; adhesives used in industry.
Class 2: Paint Products
Paints, varnishes, lacquers; preservatives against rust and against deterioration of wood; colorants; mordants; raw natural resins; metals in foil and powder form for painters, decorators, printers and artists.
Class 3: Cosmetics & Cleaning Products
Bleaching preparations and other substances for laundry use; cleaning, polishing, scouring and abrasive preparations; soaps; perfumery, essential oils, cosmetics, hair lotions; dentifrices.
Class 4: Lubricant & Fuel Products
Industrial oils and greases; lubricants; dust absorbing, wetting and binding compositions; fuels (including motor spirit) and illuminants; candles and wicks for lighting.
Class 5: Pharmaceutical Products
Pharmaceutical and veterinary preparations; sanitary preparations for medical purposes; dietetic substances adapted for medical use, food for babies; plasters, materials for dressings; material for stopping teeth, dental wax; disinfectants; preparations for destroying vermin; fungicides, herbicides.
Class 6: Metal Products
Common metals and their alloys; metal building materials; transportable buildings of metal; materials of metal for railway tracks; nonelectric cables and wires of common metal; ironmongery, small items of metal hardware; pipes and tubes of metal; safes; goods of common metal not included in other classes; ores.
Class 7: Machinery Products
Machines and machine tools; motors and engines (except for land vehicles); machine coupling and transmission components (except for land vehicles); agricultural implements other than hand-operated; incubators for eggs.
Class 8: Hand Tool Products
Hand tools and implements (hand-operated); cutlery; side arms; razors.
Class 9: Computer and Software Products & Electrical and Scientific Products
Scientific, nautical, surveying, photographic, cinematographic, optical, weighing, measuring, signalling, checking (supervision), life-saving and teaching apparatus and instruments; apparatus and instruments for conducting, switching, transforming, accumulating, regulating or controlling electricity; apparatus for recording, transmission or reproduction of sound or images; magnetic data carriers, recording discs; automatic vending machines and mechanisms for coin operated apparatus; cash registers, calculating machines, data processing equipment and computers; fire extinguishing apparatus.
Class 10: Medical Instrument Products
Surgical, medical, dental, and veterinary apparatus and instruments, artificial limbs, eyes, and teeth; orthopedic articles; suture materials.
Class 11: Environmental Control Instrument Products (lighting, heating, cooling, cooking)
Apparatus for lighting, heating, steam generating, cooking, refrigerating, drying, ventilating, water supply, and sanitary purposes.
Class 12: Vehicles & Products for locomotion by land, air or water
Vehicles; apparatus for locomotion by land, air, or water.
Class 13: Firearm Products
Firearms; ammunition and projectiles; explosives; fireworks.
Class 14: Jewelry Products
Precious metals and their alloys and goods in precious metals or coated therewith, not included in other classes; jewelry, precious stones; horological and chronometric instruments.
Class 15: Musical Instrument Products
Musical instruments
Class 16: Paper and Printed Material Products
Paper, cardboard and goods made from these materials, not included in other classes; printed matter; bookbinding material; photographs; stationery; adhesives for stationery or household purposes; artists� materials; paint brushes; typewriters and office requisites (except furniture); instructional and teaching material (except apparatus); plastic materials for packaging (not included in other classes); printers� type; printing blocks.
Class 17: Rubber Products
Rubber, gutta-percha, gum, asbestos, mica and goods made from these materials and not included in other classes; plastics in extruded form for use in manufacture; packing, stopping and insulating materials; flexible pipes, not of metal.
Class 18: Leather Products (not including clothing)
Leather and imitations of leather, and goods made of these materials and not included in other classes; animal skins, hides; trunks and travelling bags; umbrellas, parasols and walking sticks; whips, harness and saddlery.
Class 19: Non-Metallic Building Material Products
Building materials (non-metallic); nonmetallic rigid pipes for building; asphalt, pitch and bitumen; nonmetallic transportable buildings; monuments, not of metal.
Class 20: Furniture Products
Furniture, mirrors, picture frames; goods (not included in other classes) of wood, cork, reed, cane, wicker, horn, bone, ivory, whalebone, shell, amber, mother-of-pearl, meerschaum and substitutes for all these materials, or of plastics.
Class 21: Houseware and Glass Products
Household or kitchen utensils and containers; combs and sponges; brushes (except paint brushes); brush-making materials; articles for cleaning purposes; steel-wool; unworked or semi-worked glass (except glass used in building); glassware, porcelain and earthenware not included in other classes.
Class 22: Ropes, Cordage and Fiber Products
Ropes, string, nets, tents, awnings, tarpaulins, sails, sacks and bags (not included in other classes); padding and stuffing materials (except of rubber or plastics); raw fibrous textile materials.
Class 23: Yarns & Threads
Yarns and threads, for textile use.
Class 24: Fabrics & Textile Products
Textiles and textile goods, not included in other classes; beds and table covers.
Class 25: Clothing and Apparel Products
Clothing, footwear, headgear.
Class 26: Lace, Ribbons, Embroidery and Fancy Goods
Lace and embroidery, ribbons and braid; buttons, hooks and eyes, pins and needles; artificial flowers.
Class 27: Floor Covering Products
Carpets, rugs, mats and matting, linoleum and other materials for covering existing floors; wall hangings (non-textile).
Class 28: Toys & Sporting Goods Products
Games and playthings; gymnastic and sporting articles not included in other classes; decorations for Christmas trees.
Class 29: Meat and Processed Food Products
Meat, fish, poultry and game; meat extracts; preserved, frozen, dried and cooked fruits and vegetables; jellies, jams, compotes; eggs, milk and milk products; edible oils and fats.
Class 30: Staple Food Products
Coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, rice, tapioca, sago, artificial coffee; flour and preparations made from cereals, bread, pastry and confectionery, ices; honey, treacle; yeast, baking powder; salt, mustard; vinegar, sauces (condiments); spices; ice.
Class 31: Natural Agricultural Products
Agricultural, horticultural and forestry products and grains not included in other classes; live animals; fresh fruits and vegetables; seeds, natural plants and flowers; foodstuffs for animals; malt.
Class 32: Light Beverage Products
Beers; mineral and aerated waters and other nonalcoholic drinks; fruit drinks and fruit juices; syrups and other preparations for making beverages.
Class 33: Wines & Spirits (not including beers)
Alcoholic beverages (except beers).
Class 34: Smoker's Products
Tobacco; smokers� articles; matches. 

Service Classes
Class 35: Advertising, Business and Retail Services
Advertising; business management; business administration; office functions.
Class 36: Insurance and Financial Services
Insurance; financial affairs; monetary affairs; real estate affairs.
Class 37: Construction and Repair Services
Building construction; repair; installation services.
Class 38: Communication Services
Services allowing people to communicate with another by a sensory means.
Class 39: Transportation and Storage Services
Transport; packaging and storage of goods; travel arrangement
Class 40: Treatment and Processing of Materials Services
Treatment of materials.
Class 41: Education and Entertainment Services
Education; providing of training; entertainment; sporting and cultural activities.
Class 42: Computer & Software Services and Scientific Services
Scientific and technological services and research and design relating thereto; industrial analysis and research services; design and development of computer hardware and software.
Class 43: Restaurant and Hotel Services
Services for providing food and drink; temporary accommodations.
Class 44: Medical & Beauty Services and Agricultural Services
Medical services; veterinary services; hygienic and beauty care for human beings or animals; agriculture, horticulture and forestry services.
Class 45: Personal, Legal and Social Services
Legal services; security services for the protection of property and individuals; personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals.
For your trademark to be federally registered, you are required to provide proof (called a "specimen") to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The specimen you provide should be an actual example that clearly shows how the trademark is being used in connection with the goods and/or services you listed in your application. 

Products ("Goods") Specimens

If you are providing products, acceptable specimens include photographs of packaging labels, clothing tags or labels on containers that prominently display your trademark.

Invoices, order forms, receipts, brochures, catalogs, press releases, business cards, and stationery are generally NOT acceptable specimens for products.

Goods Specimen Example #1: Hot Sauce
Acceptable:Product packaging
Acceptable Specimen Sample Packaging
Not Acceptable:Promotional T-shirt
Unacceptable Specimen Sample T-shirt
 
Goods Specimen Example #2: T-shirt
Acceptable:Clothing tag
Acceptable Specimen Sample Clothing
Not Acceptable:Invoice
Unacceptable Specimen Sample Invoice
 
SERVICES SPECIMENS

If you are providing services, acceptable specimens include a sign, brochure, advertisement, business card, stationary or website prominently displaying your trademark in connection with the services you've listed in your application. The specimen must include a reference to the service, not just the trademark by itself. For example, a business card simply printed with the trademark "Sunny Real Estate" would likely not qualify, whereas one printed with "Sunny Real Estate" and "Sales Training Services" below it could qualify. 

Printer's proofs for advertisements or news articles about your services are generally NOT acceptable specimens for services.

Service Specimen Example: Real Estate
Acceptable:Website*
Acceptable Specimen Sample Real Estate
Not Acceptable:Promotional hat
Unacceptable Specimen Sample Promotional hat
 
* If submitting a website specimen, the trademark must be featured prominently on the site, in connection with the services listed in the application.

 

No. You can prepare and file necessary paperwork yourself, or you can use The Company Corporation to incorporate your business. If you are unsure if incorporating will benefit your business, please call us at 800-818-6082, our Business Specialists are happy to answer your questions.

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