A specimen and a drawing are different. A drawing depicts what the trademark looks like while a specimen will show how you use your trademark for your products or services.

It should show how your trademark appears based on the type of drawing. A specimen is not the same thing as a drawing. Drawings show your mark only, while specimens show the mark as your customers encounter it on the market (e.g., labels, your website).

Table of content

Depiction of The Mark “A Drawing”

What is a “standard-character” drawing?

What is a “special-form” drawing?

What to submit? A black-and-white or color drawing?

What are the requirements for submitting a color drawing?

What is a “specimen?”

What’s an excellent example of using a mark on products (goods)?

Is my website a suitable specimen for goods?

What is the proper specimen to use a mark and services?

What is NOT a valid specimen for goods

Examples of unacceptable specimens

Depiction of The Mark “A Drawing”

A clear image of one mark (a drawing) must be included with every application. The USPTO uses the drawing for uploading the mark into its USPTO search database. It also prints the mark in Official Gazette and on the registration certificates.

Each variation of the mark you wish to register requires its application and fee. There are two types, “standard form” and “special form,” of drawings.

What is a “standard-character” drawing?

A standard character drawing can be used in cases where the mark you are trying to register is purely words, letters, or figures. This is because the standard character mark protects only the wording and does not limit it to a particular font, style, or size. It is, therefore, more secure than a specific drawing of form.

The following characteristics are required for a standard character sketch:

  • No design element;
  • No stylization of letters and numbers
  • All Latin characters and Latin letters;
  • Any numbers in Roman numerals and Arabic numerals
  • Only common punctuation marks or diacritical marks are allowed.

Note: The USPTO developed a standard character set. It lists the letters, numerals, and diacritical characters used to create standard character drawings. The set is available on the USPTO’s website at http://teas.uspto.gov/standardCharacterSet.html.

What is the best way to file a standard character sketch?

TEAS generates a standard drawing of the character you submit electronically based on the form’s information you have entered.

If you file on paper, the standard letter-size paper must be used. In addition, you must include the following elements in your application: the applicant’s name, correspondence address, and the following statement: “The mark will be presented in standard character format, without any claim to any font style, size, or color.”

What is a special-form drawing?

A “special form” drawing format must be used if your mark includes a logo or design, either with or without wording. If you wish to register a word or combination of design elements, your drawing must include both the word and the design element as one image.

How do you file a “special type” drawing?

Upload an image of the mark when filing electronically. The mark image must be saved in.jpg format, not having any white space around it. Mark images must not contain the trademark, registration symbol, or service mark feature of the mark, and the mark images should be in black and white.

If you are filing on paper, it is necessary to use standard letter-size paper. The applicant’s name must be included at the top and address as part of the application. The entire mark must appear on the page in the middle.

What to submit? A black-and-white or color drawing?

You can submit a black & white drawing, even if you use your trademark in color. A black & white drawing includes any use of your mark. You may want to limit the use of your mark so that customers can associate your product with specific colors. If you submit a color claim, you will need to submit a color drawing that matches the colors in your mark.

What are the requirements for submitting a color drawing?

You must submit:

(1) a color claim naming the color(s) and stating that they are part of the trademark;

(2) a separate description of the mark and stating the location where the color(s), or both, appear in the mark.

What is a “specimen?”

A specimen is an example of how you use the mark in commerce with your goods or services. A specimen is a sample from a trademark Used in commerce. This is real-life proof of how a trademark is used in the marketplace.

Consumers see it when deciding whether or not to buy the goods and services you offer in connection with your mark. A specimen is a proof that a trademark was used in commerce to identify the goods.

It could include a label, tag, packaging, or product container that displays your trademark or a website listing your trademark. A specimen should show the trademark used in commerce in connection with your services. This will allow you to associate the trademark with the services directly.

For example, a specimen could include an advertisement, brochure, or website printout showing your services’ trademark used in commerce. Moreover, it might consist of business signs indicating that the services were rendered using the trademark or a vehicle carrying your trademark.

Acceptable specimens must:

  • Provide a tangible example of how you use your trademark to sell your goods and services.
  • Display your trademark with the goods and services listed in your application.
  • Depict the trademark shown on your drawing.
  • Show your trademark’s use (not by someone else, such as press releases sent only to news media).
  • Consider whether you have services or goods to be a suitable specimen. Advertising material is acceptable as a specimen for services but not for goods.
  • Your trademark should be used to link the mark to the goods or services directly.
  • Use your trademark so that consumers will perceive it as a source indicator for the product or services described in your application. (It functions as a trademark).
  • Include the URL and date that you accessed or printed this web page in your submission.
  • Attach TEAS forms to JPG files not exceeding 5 megabytes.

What’s an excellent example of using a mark on products (goods)?

A sample for a mark applied to goods is usually a picture of the mark on actual goods or labeling and packaging. A specimen for a mark used on goods may include a tag, label, photograph, or label showing the mark. You can’t use the specimen as a mock-up of these items.

However, it must include a sample of what you use or a photograph showing the packaging. A display of the mark is not enough; the specimen must clearly show that the mark is present on the goods. A specimen that displays the mark in a decorative or ornamental way may not be acceptable.

For example, if the specimen is perceived as ornamental, decorative, rather than a trademark, a slogan or design displayed on a shirt, t-shirt, or other clothing, or a bag or tote bag, it might be unacceptable.

However, a small word, or design, such as a small animal, on a shirt’s pocket creates the commercial impression of being a trademark, and it is considered acceptable as a specimen.

Is my website a suitable specimen for goods?

A website can be considered acceptable if the mark appears next to a photograph of the goods, or a description of the goods. Your customers will also be able to order the goods via the website. It is unacceptable for a website to advertise the goods. A screenshot must be provided of the website.

What is the proper specimen to use a mark and services?

A specimen must be used to prove the use of the mark in advertising or providing services. A photograph of a service sign, brochure, advertisement, website, or stationery with the mark may be an example of your specimen.

However, the specimen must include or show a reference to the services. This means that it cannot just be a display of the marks.

A specimen showing “T.MARKEY,” a mark for men’s sportswear retail stores, might not be accepted. But, a specimen displaying the wording T.MARKEY printed on clothing store signs might be acceptable.

What is NOT a valid specimen for goods

Invoices, notices, order forms, and leaflets are generally not acceptable specimens of goods.

If the specimen is unacceptable, it usually means that:

  • The required specimen was not included in your application.
  • The specimen you have provided is not correctly verified.
  • Your specimen does not meet one of the specimen requirements.

Examples of unacceptable specimens

The following examples do not meet the requirements of specimens.

Your drawing does not include the trademark on your specimen

  • Take, for instance, your specimen.
  • Do not display your trademark; it will be illegible.
  • It shows only a portion of your trademark does not include your entire trademark.
  • The drawing does not include the exact trademark but rather a variant.

Your sample does not include trademarks.

  • The application might identify tee shirts as your goods. However, the specimen contains your trademark advertising custom tee-shirt printing services.

This specimen does not demonstrate your use of the trademark

  • If the specimen is a press conference sent only to news media, it could also be a printed publication resulting from such an announcement. Publicly accessible press releases, such as those found on the website or elsewhere, can be used to demonstrate the use for services, but not for goods.

the specimen is not intended for commercial use

Take, for instance, your specimen.

  • Is there proof for a printer?
  • Is it a digitally edited or altered image, mock-up, or photo?
  • You use this material only for your day-to-day business of selling products (e.g., packing sheets, business stationery, and order forms),
  • Is it a drawing or depiction only of your trademark?
  • This page doesn’t contain the URL or date accessed/printed.
  • It indicates that your goods have not been sold or transported yet (e.g., preorders for goods that are not yet available).

Your specimen is not the correct type of material for your goods or services

If your example is advertising for goods like:

  • A website with insufficient purchasing or ordering information
  • Website for downloading software. There is no way to download the software or buy it.