Trademark Specimens

The Trademark Office requires every trademark applicant to submit one specimen (example of use) for each class covered in the application. The specimen must show your trademark is used in a way that consumers would perceive it as a source indicator for the good or services in your application (it functions as a trademark). Typically, trademarks are displayed apart from other text in a different font or are stylized.

To be acceptable for registration in the U.S. Trademark Office, a specimen must show the use of the mark in association with the goods and services identified in the application. For goods, the specimen must show the mark on the goods identified in the application or directly connected with the sale or distribution of the identified goods. Specimens for services must show the use of the mark in association with the services identified in the application.

The specimen must be a real-life example of how the mark is used in commerce. A digitally created or altered image or a mockup is unacceptable. If the photo looks like it was digitally altered, the Trademark Office may refuse to accept it. The mark on the specimen must be an exact representation of the mark in the application.

Do not use the ® (“circle R” symbol) until the Trademark Office has issued your registration. If we submit a specimen with the ®, the Trademark Office could delay your application.

The U.S. Trademark Office has specific requirements for specimens for apparel and clothing.

Acceptable specimens for goods:

  • A photograph of the product showing the mark directly on the goods.
  • A label or tag affixed to the goods (e.g., a hang tag on a shirt).
  • A container or packaging for the goods.
  • A product display associated with the goods (e.g., catalogs or display stands).
  • A webpage that:
    • Contains a picture or textual description of the goods;
    • Shows the mark in association with the goods; and
    • Provides a means for directly ordering the goods, e.g., an order form.
  • Instruction manuals or other printed materials that are included with the goods.

In general, advertising materials such as brochures, price lists, press releases, business cards, and online advertising banners are not acceptable as specimens for goods.

Acceptable specimens for services:

  • Advertising that includes the mark and identifies the services (e.g., BLUE PENGUIN PLUMBING SERVICES).
  • Business signage.
  • An invoice that includes the mark and identifies the services.
  • Restaurant menus.
  • Business letterhead stationery or business cards that include the mark and identify the services.
  • Employee uniforms, e.g., shirts and hats.
  • Advertising that does not reference the services is not acceptable.
  • Printer’s proofs are not acceptable.

If you have additional questions about specimens or trademark registrations, please call us at (303) 665-9845.