It happens to everyone, you are filling out a form and get to a question that doesn’t quite make sense.  This handy guide is here to help.

Who is the Applicant/Owner of the mark?
Your trademark application must be filed in the name of the individual or entity who will own the mark if and when it registers. The owner of the mark is the individual or entity who controls the nature and quality of the goods or services identified by the mark. The owner is not necessarily the name of the person filling out the form. The owner may be a person, corporation, partnership, LLC, or other types of legal entity.

What is the mark you want to register?

If you do not want to limit your mark to one particular design, we suggest you type just the exact words that make up the mark. For instance, Google® changes the display of their mark often so they would just type in GOOGLE.

If you want to seek registration both the words and the design of the words, still type the words you want to protect. You will have the chance to attach an image of the mark later.

If there are no words in your mark, simply type NA or NONE. You will have the chance to attach an image of the mark later.

What type of mark do you want to register?

A standard character mark is not limited to any particular font style, color, size or design features. This allows the mark to be changed in the event that your logo is modified over time but your mark stays the same.

A special form drawing includes a design or lone, which may or may not include wording. If you are seeking registration of a word(s) combined with a design element, the drawing must depict both the word(s) and the design element combined as one image.

What is your mark going to be used to sell or promote?

The goods or services should be for the goods or services you are going to be using your mark for not necessarily all the things your mark may be presented on. For example, if you are using your mark to promote and sell your new restaurant you would input “steakhouse restaurant.” You would not list menus, shirts, door signs, nametags, etc. as you are not using your mark to sell these items, but you are selling your restaurant services. Don’t worry about getting this perfect, we will help you out. We just need you to get us pointed in the right direction.

What is the first date you used the mark anywhere?

The date of first use anywhere is the date that your goods were first sold or transported or the services were provided under the mark. This date can be the same as the first date of use in commerce, but it is impossible for it to be later than the first date of use in commerce.

What is the first date you used the mark “in commerce”?

The date of first use in commerce occurs on when your goods are first sold or transported or the services are first provided under the mark between states or with another country. This can include having ads using your mark in the media that go across state lines or ads that shown on TV or billboards that people from other states are likely to hear. In commerce use can also be achieved by advertisements that encourage visitors or purchasers from people outside of your state. One way of showing that this has occurred is by reviewing credit card records or invoices for the sales of goods or receipts for services rendered.

What is a specimen?

A specimen is a sample of how you actually use the mark with your goods or services. A specimen is not the same as a drawing.  A drawing only shows your mark, but a specimen depicts how your mark is encountered by consumers.

A specimen can include a label that includes the mark or an image of the mark displayed on the good or its package. A photograph of the sign on the outside of a business rendering services that uses the mark can be acceptable as a specimen.

The specimen cannot be a mock-up but must be an image of the mark being used. A design that incorporates the mark on a shirt or notepad is not an acceptable specimen, as these are simply using the mark for decorative purposes. It is possible to have the mark displayed on a shirt in a small, as is often seen with sports apparel, to identify the source of goods, which would be acceptable.

Need more help?

If you are still stumped, you can either contact us for help using the box below or fill in the blank with “Don’t Know” and we will contact you to get things figured out.