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Specimens of Use for Trademarks

I’ve detailed the concept of specimens before but it’s a good idea to get into details about specimens as they apply to trademarks.

The simplest explanation is that the USPTO wants something that clearly shows the mark (i.e. the name, the name & logo, etc.) AND something that once read it is obvious that the mark is tied to the good.

In regard to trademarks, this can be accomplished several ways: "a label, tag, or container for the goods, or a display associated with the goods."

1) The Hanes clothing line has been in existence since 1901. One of the specimens they've provided for one of their many trademarks is a photograph of the tag printed on to their t-shirts. Check it out here.

2) Cover Girl is another well known American business, operating since 1958. One of the specimens they've provided over the years falls into the 'container' category, specifically the packaging lipstick comes in. You can see it here.

While there are only four ways mentioned in the USPTO's somewhat generic quote regarding acceptable specimens, there are several others that are within acceptable limits as well:

• Stampings, whether it be metal, rubber or inked on.

• Catalogs as long as it passes a three-fold test – a picture of the goods, shows the mark near the picture of the goods and provides ordering information, be it an order form, phone number, etc.

• An electronic display aka a web page. The same three-fold test that applies for catalogs is in play here.

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