What is a "specimen unacceptable" trademark refusal?

Photo of Igor Demcak

Written by Igor Demcak

CEO & Legal Mind

If your US trademark application has received an office action stating your specimen is unacceptable, it means the examiner considers your specimen of use to be insufficient for one reason or another.

The office action will further state the reasoning behind the examiner's decision, but common reasons for specimens being unacceptable include:

  • The specimen being illegible.
  • The specimen showing a different mark than the one submitted in the original trademark application.
  • The specimen appearing to be digitally created or altered.
  • The specimen not proving the mark's use in commerce in the applied-for class, which happens when the specimen shows the trademark labelling products that don't belong under the class where the applicant seeks registration.
  • Website specimen for goods not including any means of ordering the goods.

A specimen refusal can be overcome by submitting a substitute specimen.

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