In the course of obtaining a trademark registration from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, you will need to file a statement of use, which is a statement by the applicant attesting to the fact that the trademark you are seeking to register is actually in use in commerce in the U.S. Below I outline how to go about preparing and filing the statement of use.
Collect the Specimen
The statement of use will make reference to a specimen, which is a sample of how you actually use the mark in commerce on your goods or with your services. A specimen shows the trademark you are seeking to register as purchasers encounter the mark in the marketplace (e.g., on hanging tags or on your business card). Usually, a specimen for a mark used on goods shows the mark as it appears on the actual goods, or
on tags or packaging used for the goods. For example, your specimen may be a photograph of a hanging tag or label displaying the mark, or a photograph showing the mark on the goods or its packaging.
A specimen must comply with certain criteria. A specimen that shows the mark being used in a purely ornamental or decorative manner is not an acceptable specimen. A slogan or a design across the front of a t-shirt, for example, would not be acceptable, since it is likely to be perceived as ornamental - otherwise known as "emblazoned use." However, when used in small format, such as a small logo on a breast pocket, the specimen would be acceptable.
For tangible goods, such as food items, invoices, announcements, order forms, leaflets, brochures, publicity releases, letterhead, and business cards are not acceptable specimens. For services, like AC repair, a proper specimen may be a photograph of a business sign, a brochure about the services, an advertisement for the services, a website or webpage, a business card, or stationery showing the mark. The specimen must show or contain some reference to the services, such as a reference to AC repair. For services, printer's proofs for advertisements or news articles about your services are not acceptable specimens.
Identify the Date of First Use
The statement of use will make reference to a date of first use in commerce, which is the date on which the goods were first sold or transported or the services were first provided under the mark between more than one state or U.S. territory, or in commerce between the U.S. and another country.
File the Statement of Use
The statement of use must be filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. If the statement of use is submitted with the original filing of the application, then the filing forms for a 1(a) use-based application includes a section where you enter the data for a statement of use. If the statement of use is submitted subsequent to the original filing of the application, then the statement of use is submitted as an amendment to allege use.