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  • Writer's pictureTamara Pester

4 Reasons why a Good Specimen of Use Matters in Trademark Applications

Updated: Apr 28

A trademark is a unique symbol, design, or phrase that identifies a product or service and distinguishes it from similar products or services offered by others. To obtain a trademark, you must submit an application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). One of the most important elements of a trademark application is the specimen of use.

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A specimen of use is a sample of how you are using the mark in commerce to sell your goods or services. The USPTO requires a specimen of use as evidence that you are actually using the mark in commerce, and not just claiming rights to it. The specimen of use helps the USPTO determine whether the mark is eligible for trademark protection and whether it is being used in a manner that would cause confusion with other existing trademarks. Having a good specimen of use is crucial to the success of your trademark application.


A good specimen of use should:

  1. Show the mark in use with the goods or services listed in the application: The specimen of use should clearly show the mark in use in connection with the goods or services listed in the application. If the specimen does not show the mark as it is actually used in commerce, the USPTO may reject the application.

  2. Be clear and easily understandable: The specimen of use should be clear and easily understandable so that the USPTO can easily see how the mark is being used. If the specimen is unclear or difficult to understand, the USPTO may reject the application.

  3. Be a proper specimen: The specimen of use should be a proper specimen, meaning it should be representative of the mark as it is used in commerce. Examples of proper specimens include product packaging, advertisements, brochures, or a website showing the mark in use.

  4. Show the mark in its current form: The specimen of use should show the mark in its current form, as it is used in commerce at the time of the application. If the specimen shows an outdated version of the mark, the USPTO may reject the application.

In conclusion, having a good specimen of use is essential to the success of a trademark application. It serves as evidence that the mark is being used in commerce, and it helps the USPTO determine whether the mark is eligible for trademark protection. By providing a clear and easily understandable specimen of use, you increase your chances of obtaining a trademark and protecting your brand. Contact us if you'd like to have an expert trademark attorney take this off of your plate!


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