Specimen guide for Class 42

Examples of trademark specimens for Class 42, which comprises research, science, technology, architecture and it 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 42 - the best format, requirements, and examples from the USPTO.

What is a proper specimen for Class 42?

Class 42 includes services related to research, science, technology, architecture and IT. Additional services encompassed in Class 42 include cloud computing, software as a service, web hosting services, design services and engineering 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 42, 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, 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 42 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 42, 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?"

Additional requirements for software as a service

Besides including a service description and showing the mark associated with the service, the specimen must also:

  • Include a "Login" button. "Contact us", or a similar type of button is not sufficient. "Download", "Install", or "Get" buttons also wouldn't be accepted since downloadable software would be a good, not a service, and therefore would fall under Class 9.
  • Identify the software and not its providers.

This means that a homepage or about us page would probably be your safest bet. Pricing pages can sometimes work too if the packages sufficiently describe the functionality and the screenshot also includes the mark and a correct CTA. As an added benefit, subscription options further prove the mark labels a service and not a product. If you can't fit all of the required information into one screenshot, you can submit more than one specimen file.

On the other hand, while screenshots of app stores and online marketplaces make for goods Class 9 specimens, they are not suitable for Class 42. Remember that if the software is downloadable or recorded on physical media, it belongs under Class 9.

Examples of suitable and unsuitable specimen for Class 42


The mark is displayed on a website. The connection to the applied-for services (Engineering) is apparent. View source or view image at full size.


The mark is displayed on advertising material. The connection to the applied-for services (Engineering) is once again clear. View source or view image at full size.


The mark is displayed on the homepage. The screenshot includes the service description and a "Login" button, appropriately for Class 42. View source or view image at full size.


This specimen was refused because it doesn't prove the use of the mark in commerce for any Class 42 items. The mark was filed for "Engineering", but the specimen shows the mark displayed on some type of metal goods rather than used to label a service. View source


This specimen was refused for being a mockup, therefore not proving the mark is used in commerce. Specifically, the specimen displays the mark in connection with placeholder text, namely, "[l]orem ipsum dolor...", rather than, for example, contextual wording that would appear on an active website offering and describing services. View source or view image at full size.


This specimen was refused for not showing a direct association between the mark and the applied-for services. The mark was filed for "Software as a service (SAAS) services featuring software for video game coaching", but the specimen shows of a web page with a profile of a single e-sports coach. View source or view image at full size.

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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