The Final Rule promulgated by the USPTO in July is now in effect; amending the requirements for acceptable specimens of use.

On October 5, 2019, the USPTO’s Final Rule published this July (available under Addtional Resources) mandating electronic filing became effective together with amendments to 37 C.F.R. § 2.56, governing the requirements for specimens of use.

Notable Changes to the Requirements for Specimens of Use

The Final Rule makes two major amendments to the requirements for submitting a specimen of use under § 2.56:

1. Website screenshots must show the full URL of the web page on which the goods are offered for sale or the services are advertised and described and include the date on which the screenshot was taken.

2. Product packaging specimens must now also include an image or description of the actual product being sold either on the product packaging itself or in addition to the product packaging specimen. Thus, if the trademark appears on a plain box, the trademark owner must also include a picture of the actual product next to the box. As a result of this change, trademark owners can no longer submit hangtags or product labels alone but must show such tags or labels as affixed to the actual goods sold in commerce for specimens to qualify as acceptable specimens of use.