What is a good trademark specimen?

My trademark clients often have questions about what to use for a proper trademark specimen. Many times a client will suggest using a letterhead that shows the trademark, pilule or a website that has the mark somewhere on it. However, the USPTO lists the following as proper specimens for use of a trademark with goods (products):
“Normally, a specimen for a mark used on goods shows the mark on the actual goods or packaging for the goods. You may submit a tag or label for the goods; a container for the goods; a display associated with the goods; or a photograph of the goods that shows use of the mark on the goods. Do not submit the actual product.

Invoices, announcements, order forms, bills of lading, leaflets, brochures, publicity releases, letterhead and business cards generally are NOT acceptable specimens for goods.”

With respect to trademarks used with services,the USPTO .states the following:
“A specimen for a mark used in connection with services must show the mark used in the sale or advertising for the services. You may submit a sign; a brochure about the services; an advertisement for the services; a business card or stationery showing the mark in connection with the services; or a photograph showing the mark as used in rendering or advertising the services. There must be some reference to the type of services rendered on the specimen, i.e. , not just a display of the mark itself. For example, if the mark sought to be registered is “XYZ,” a business card that only shows the mark “XYZ” would not be acceptable. A business card that states “XYZ REAL ESTATE” would be acceptable.”
So, using a website or stationary with letterhead is normally NOT a proper specimen for goods, but may be proper for services.

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