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Online Point of Sale Displays

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Does your website really link your trademark to its products? Improper use of a trademark can result in the loss of your federal registration and trademark rights. Read this guide for direction.

To secure and maintain a federal trademark registration one must provide proof that the brand (trademark) is associated with the product or service.  This proof is called a trademark specimen.  As so many products are sold online we frequently have clients use “banner” displays of their trademark on a website could be either:

  1. Mere Advertising: which is unsatisfactory to show a trademark linked to a tangible product; or
  2. Point of Sale Display: which is proper because the banner and product are located together.

A point-of-sale webpage display must provide a means of ordering the goods, either directly from the webpage itself (e.g., webpage contains a “shop online” button or link) or from information gleaned from the webpage (e.g., webpage lists a telephone number for ordering).   If the webpage presents no way to purchase the goods, the webpage is merely an advertisement and fails as a point-of-sale display.  

Practice Note:  In speaking to a trademark examining attorney this morning about a specimen he noted USPTO policy was that a phone number is not enough….there has to be some text associated with the number to note one can order product from it. 

Improper

Proper

Call: 800-555-1212

Call now to buy: 800-555-1212

Shopping Cart Link:  However, if you have a “shopping cart” link that will generally carry the day to convince the trademark examining attorney that online purchases are possible.

For more information see the USPTO Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure Section 904.03(g) covering Displays Associated with Goods.   I have also attached an excellent USPTO examination guide for Webpage Specimens as Displays.

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webpage-specimens-as-displays-trademarks.pdf (1.45 mb)






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