Your specimen must show how you actually use your trademark in commerce on or in connection with the goods, or in the sale or advertising of the services. If your specimen is unacceptable, we’ll refuse registration. Common reasons include:
- The specimen does not show use of the applied-for trademark with any of the relevant goods or services.
- The specimen is a printer’s proof of an advertisement for services.
- The specimen is a digitally created or altered image of the goods.
- The specimen is merely advertising material for goods.
- The specimen is merely a picture or drawing of the trademark.
- The specimen is a photocopy of the drawing.
- The specimen is a webpage that does not include the URL or date accessed.
For example, you own a t-shirt business, but don’t realize the specimen you submit must show use of your trademark on a label, hangtag, or other appropriate material. Instead, you find a stock image of a t-shirt hangtag online, superimpose your trademark onto the picture, and submit that as your specimen. Your application will be rejected because the submitted specimen is a mockup or digitally created image. To proceed, you will need to submit a specimen that shows use of your trademark on an actual label or hangtag attached to the goods, packaging for the goods, or an electronic point of sale display for the goods.
We will also refuse registration if your specimen does not show the trademark functioning as a trademark. Common reasons include:
- The applied-for trademark is mere ornamentation.
- The applied-for trademark identifies the name or pseudonym of a performing artist or author.
- The applied-for trademark identifies the title of a single creative work.
- The applied-for trademark identifies a character from a creative work.
For example, The Magic School Bus® is a registered trademark for a series of children’s picture books. The trademark was shown on book covers for a series of different books and in advertisements, and evidence showed the trademark to be widely recognized as a source identifier for the book series, not just for a single book in the series.