E-File or You'll Have to Refile: Trademark Filings Gone Digital
New USPTO rules make electronic filing mandatory and update requirements for specimens of use.
The goal of mandatory electronic filing is to have end-to-end electronic processing of applications and registrations. Not only will this speed up the processing of documents filed at the USPTO, but it will increase the USPTO's efficiency and improve the accuracy of the Trademark Register. Accordingly, as of February 15, all new applications must comply with the above requirements in order to receive a filing date, and all other submissions will only be accepted if filed electronically.
In addition, the rules of practice regarding specimens of use have been updated to conform with existing statutory requirements and precedential case law. Specifically, for goods, the specimens must show use of the mark on the goods, on containers or packaging for the goods, on labels or tags affixed to the goods, or on a display associated with the goods (which must be of a point-of-sale nature). For services, the specimens must be used in the sale of the services, including use in the performance or rendering of the services, or in the advertising or marketing of the services. Furthermore, the specimens must show a direct association between the mark and the services. Significantly, webpage specimens submitted as proof of use must include the URL and access or print date. Specimens that do not meet these requirements, or that appear to be mock-ups, will be refused.
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