Small business owners seeking to establish trademark protection for their brands often times run into issues regarding the statement of use requirement when seeking to register their trademarks. In particular, trademark clients may not be commercially using their trademarks when the initial requirement to demonstrate commercial use comes due. Additionally or alternatively, small business trademark owners may not be displaying their trademarks correctly on their products.
Trademark attorneys should readily impress upon their clients that the United States Patent and Trademark Office is quite particular when it comes to what types of evidence of commercial use is acceptable to meet the statement of use requirement involved with federal trademark registration. The statement of use requirement includes providing a sworn statement that products or services were being sold in connection with the trademark specified in a federal trademark application. A trademark attorney can make this sworn statement on behalf of his client.
The Use in commerce requirement further includes providing evidence of how a trademark is displayed in connection with a product or service. Trademark attorneys must be sure to advise clients of the different evidentiary requirements for demonstrating use of products versus services. Use of trademarks on webpages is not always sufficient depending on the product in question.
In general for goods, an image of the trademark on the product, the product packaging, point-of-sale displays will satisfy the trademark requirements. An image of check-out or shopping cart page on a webpage with the trademark, a description of the good, and a price may also be sufficient to satisfy the trademark requirements.
For services, an image of the trademark on advertisements, invoices, letterhead, webpages describing the services will generally satisfy the trademark requirements. It is easier to satisfy the use in commerce trademark requirements for services than it is for goods, in general.