Trademark Specimens and USPTO Quality Control

Clients with new trademark applications and renewals pending may note TMF’s detailed/persnickety questioning regarding the proof of use (specimen photos) and dates of first use in interstate commerce.  In late 2019, the USPTO issued examination guidelines to ensure that the photos and screenshots submitted by Applicants truly reflect the underlying goods and services.

As such, website images must include the date the screenshot was taken and the full URL.  Likewise, photos of trademarks on plain packaging must be submitted with a clear view of the actual product inside.  While only one specimen is required for proof of use, as USPTO examination has become stricter, we may ask clients for multiple images, and always urge a conservative approach when it comes to interstate use dates.