Can I submit a website screenshot as a specimen of use?

Photo of Jan Buza

Written by Jan Buza

Co-founder of Trama

Yes, in certain cases, a website screenshot can be submitted as a specimen of use to demonstrate the use of a trademark in commerce. However, it is important to ensure that the screenshot meets the specific requirements set by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

If you are selling goods:

  • Your screenshot has to include a picture of sufficient textual description of the goods and then show the mark associated with the goods. If the screenshot gives out the impression that the mark is associated with the website itself rather than the goods, the USPTO might refuse your specimen.
  • The website also has to function as a point of sale; it can't be merely promotional. In practice, this means the screenshot has to include a means of ordering the product, such as an "Add to cart" button. "Contact us", "Send inquiry", "Preorder", and similar buttons are not sufficient. For intangible goods, such as mobile apps, the button can read "Download", Install", "Get" or similar.
  • Prices have to be shown in USD.

If you are offering services:

  • The screenshot has to include a clear reference to the services listed in your trademark application and then show the mark associated with those services.

In both cases, you also have to ensure the screenshot is of sufficient quality to be legible and that the mark on the specimen matches the mark you filed in your original trademark application. The screenshot must also be real and not altered.

Generally speaking, promotional materials are acceptable as specimens for services but not goods, which results in stricter requirements for website screenshots proving use in commerce for goods.

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