Trademarks are great. Not only do they allow consumers to identify and differentiate products, but they also act as status symbols and engender feelings of belonging and loyalty. They build brand equity for a firm while simultaneously distinguishing their product from other, more ersatz, products.
What is a Specimen for a Trademark?
How is a Specimen Filed?
The preferred method to submit your specimen for approval is through the United States patent attorneys and Trademark Office website. When filing electronically, a .jpg or.pdf image of the specimen must be included. The image must show the specimen and contextually demonstrate how it is used within the marketplace. If you can’t submit the application digitally, you can turn in a paper copy (just make sure your document is no larger than 8 ½ by 11 inches). Additionally, you can also submit compact discs and DVDs with images or videos of your specimen in use.
When are Specimens Filed?
If the trademark is currently used within the marketplace (i.e. under the Use-In-Commerce basis), the application must include a sample (usually just a picture of the specimen in use) for every category (in-store signage, tags, webpages, etc.). To become filed under the use-in-commerce basis, your trademark must currently be involved with interstate or international commerce. If a trademark is more than just sketch but not quite market ready, you can file under the Intent-to-use basis. However, to make sure that your intent is “bona fide”, you must illustrate evidence that you plan to bring your trademark to market. Such evidence includes business plans, sample models, and other signs of forward progression. Because it is easier to file under the intent-to-use basis, an additional form and fee are required.