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Proper Use of a Trademark


Two recent events have reminded us of the importance of the proper use of a trademark.  First, the TTAB issued a precedential opinion concerning the specimen of use for a service mark.  In re Pitney BowesIn this case, the TTAB ruled that the applicant's explanation of the specimen clarified the specimen and that the Trademark Office should have accepted the specimen as proper use of the mark.  The ruling was based on precedent and The TMEP (specifically, Section 1301.04).  Second, Alexandra Roberts, an Associate Professor at UNH Law School wrote a gif filled article about trademark use.  We aren't sure we would use that many gifs, however the article provides a brief overview of the requirements of trademark use.

Use of a trademark gives the owner common law rights in the U.S.  Proper use is required for registration (with exceptions for foreign applicants that own foreign registrations under certain requirements).  Even though Pitney Bowes was able to get their mark registered, the TTAB case re-emphasizes that you should make sure you are using your mark properly before alleging use with the Trademark Office.  This will improve your chances of registering your mark and prevent additional hassles and requirements during the registration process.