Specimen guide for Class 36

Examples of trademark specimens for Class 36, which comprises financial, insurance and real estate services.

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 Class 36 - the best format, requirements, and examples from the USPTO.

What is a proper specimen for Class 36?

Class 36 includes financial, insurance and real estate services.

For service classes in general, the specimen should show the use of the mark in the sale or advertising of the service. Therefore, for Class 36, we would recommend the following options as specimens:

  • Website screenshots
  • Advertising materials, such as brochures, flyers, magazine ads or newspaper clippings

Other acceptable formats include copies of invoices, photos of physical storefronts bearing the mark, business cards, etc., but in our experience, these often don't fulfil all the requirements, so we would only recommend them to a more experienced filler. We usually ask our clients to provide either a screenshot or marketing material. If they can't, then we move on to the other options.

What requirements does my specimen for Class 36 have to meet?

Besides the format mentioned above, your specimen must meet a few general requirements to be accepted. For a service class such as Class 36, 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/screenshot, not a digitally altered or created image.

Showing connection

The specimen has to show a clear connection between the mark and the applied-for service. This means the specimen must explicitly reference the services and then show the mark directly associated with them. For example, a business card wouldn't make a good specimen if it doesn't explicitly include a service description matching the items listed in the trademark application.

This is why website screenshots and advertising materials are better choices for novice applicants, as they will likely already include a sufficient service description.

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 services I said I was offering in my trademark application?"

Examples of suitable and unsuitable specimen for Class 36


This website specimen includes the mark and makes the connection to the applied-for services (Banking) apparent. View source or view image at full size.


The mark is displayed in an advertising material. The connection to the applied-for services (Underwriting, brokerage, claims administration, and claims processing in the field of property and casualty insurance) is clear. View source or view image at full size.


For real estate, for sale/sold signs are an acceptable form of specimen. View source


The mark in the specimen (right) differs from the originally filed mark (left) - the bottom stripe with stars is missing, and the bottom text is not displayed with the other elements of the mark. View source


This specimen was refused because the applicant's real estate services cannot be inferred from the specimen. Therefore, it is unclear whether the mark is being used in connection with the services identified in the application. View source


This specimen was refused because it's a printer's proof and thus does not prove the applied-for mark is used 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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