Maintaining Your Trademark.
To maintain your trademark, you need to continue using the trademark in interstate commerce continuously, and then to provide a specimen of use for each good or service that you claimed in your trademark. The specimen has to show the exact trademark that you obtained. Among the common errors we see are:
1. Clients who add or delete words from their trademark after it issues. Again, the specimens have to show the trademark exactly as it was issued. For a “words only” trademark, this means the specimen has to show these exact words. For a “stylized” trademark, this means that the specimen has to have the exact words in the exact location on the trademark, and any colors or shapes that appear in the trademark have to appear on the specimen exactly as they appear on the trademark.
2. Clients who provide us a specimen of use from the wrong class of goods or services. Your specimen has to be from the exact class of goods or services we filed for originally. So, if you have a trademark on engineering services, you have to send us a webpage showing your engineering services, or an advertisement you ran advertising your engineering services; a t-shirt with your name on it is not a valid specimen of use.
3. Special note on Clothing (class 025). We often get specimens of use for clothing showing the name in the front of a t-shirt. This is not a suitable specimen. What we need is proof that you are selling clothing under the brand name that we trademarked for you. So, a hang tag with your trademarked name attached to an item of clothing is good, as is a website page with your trademarked name at the top with clothing that a viewer can purchase under the trademarked name.
4. Clients who do not provide proof of use for every good/service listed in the trademark. Let’s say you have a trademark on a name for Clothing (025) for “shirts, pants, socks, and hats”, and yet you only provide us a specimen for shirts. The USPTO can issue an “audit” in which they demand specimens for “pants, socks and hats”.
Responding to an audit gets costly ($2,500 or more) very quickly, so our
advice is to either send a specimen of each good/service you have on your trademark, or allow us to “cancel” any goods/services for which you don’t have a specimen of use.
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