Specimen guide for Cosmetics

Examples of trademark specimens for Cosmetics.

What is a trademark specimen?

When you apply for/renew a US trademark, you must prove to the USPTO that your trademark is "used in commerce", i.e., that your goods/services are available for purchase or ordering to US customers. In practice, you will prove the use in commerce by submitting a so-called specimen, which is usually a photograph or a screenshot of your trademark used together with the goods or services you applied for (e.g., depicted on the product packaging, on your storefront, etc.).

What is considered a sufficient specimen will depend on multiple factors, including whether you offer goods (Classes 1-34) or services (Classes 35-45).

In this guide, we will look specifically at trademark specimens for cosmetics - the best format, requirements, and examples from the USPTO.

What is a proper specimen for cosmetics?

When trademarking a cosmetics brand, your products will most likely fall under Class 3, which is a goods class including items such as perfumery, make-up, soaps and body washes, deodorants, and more.

Therefore, the most suitable specimens for cosmetics include:

  • Photos of the product
  • Photo of the packaging or a label attached to the product

What requirements does my specimen for cosmetics have to meet?

Besides the format mentioned above, your specimen must meet a few general requirements to be accepted. For goods class such as cosmetics, these requirements include the following:


The mark must be clearly visible, meaning it must be legible, not cropped off, etc.

Correct mark version

The mark shown on the specimen has to match the mark in the original trademark application exactly. For example, if you applied for a mark consisting of a graphical element and the brand name, the specimen can't display just the graphical element.


The specimen must be a real photograph, not a digitally altered or created image.

Showing connection

The specimen has to show a clear connection between the mark and the applied-for goods. Compared to the previous rules, this one is more broad and can translate to different things in practice because it's related to your use of the trademark.

For example, if you submit a photo of the product bearing the mark, that connection will be inherently there. However, if you submit a picture of a container bearing the mark, it should suggest what product it contains. Otherwise, if the connection cannot be inferred from the packaging alone, the specimen can't prove that the mark is used in connection with the applied-for goods, and the USPTO will likely refuse it.

Therefore, for packaging, make sure they clearly indicate what you are selling and that this information matches the items listed in your trademark application. This can be achieved in a number of ways - by including a product depiction or description (you don't have to use the exact same wording from your trademark application), making the product visible through the packaging, or at least taking a picture with the packaging open and showing the product inside.

We also have to note that the actual mark can play a role here. Some marks include wording or imagery that suggests what the goods are, so putting them on the packaging makes fulfilling this requirement easier. However, having such a mark is by no means necessary.

Generally, to meet this criterion, a good rule of thumb is to ask: "Is it clear from the specimen that the trademark belongs to the items I said I was selling in my trademark application?"

Can I submit a website screenshot as a specimen for cosmetics?

There's nothing wrong with submitting this type of specimen for cosmetics; it's just that it must meet more requirements than the previous types:

  • The screenshot has to show that the goods can be purchased by US customers (in practice, it's enough to show the price in USD).
  • The screenshot has to show the means of ordering (e.g., button "Add to cart").
  • You must provide the URL and the date of taking, either on the specimen itself or by filling it out in the form.
  • The specimen has to be an actual screenshot of a page the examiner can access, not a mockup or an altered screenshot.
  • The specimen must include a picture or sufficient textual description of the product.
  • As we already mentioned above, the specimen must show the mark associated with the goods. Screenshots sometimes get refused if the examiner believes the trademark is associated with the website itself rather than the goods listed in your trademark application.

Meeting all these expectations can be challenging, and sometimes, brand owners have to change their websites before they can take a screenshot and submit it as a specimen. This is why we usually recommend clients provide photo evidence for tangible products if they can. If they can't, then we move on to screenshots.

Examples of suitable and unsuitable specimen for Cosmetics


The mark is displayed on the product and packaging. Since the mark is registered for "Perfumery" and the packaging specifies the product as an "eau de toilette spray, " each of these would make a suitable specimen individually. View source


A webpage display specimen must include a picture or sufficient textual description of the goods and show the mark associated with the goods, which are both met here (the mark is depicted on the product). The screenshot also includes the means of ordering and the price in USD. View source or view image at full size.


This specimen was refused due to appearing digitally created or altered. View source


While this specimen wasn't insufficient on its own, the mark was filed for "Cosmetics" in Class 3, under which false eyelashes don't belong. Therefore, the specimen didn't prove the use in commerce for any Class 3 goods. View source


This screenshot doesn't show the mark associated with the goods and doesn't include a way of ordering the goods. Therefore, the website was deemed merely promotional rather than an actual point of sale, meaning it couldn't prove actual use in commerce. View source

Submit specimen with ease

Whether you are registering a new trademark, proving its use in commerce, or prolonging its validity, we are here to make sure your submission with the USPTO goes through.

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