Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Game App Trademark Specimen

Dear Rich: We're going to launch a game app soon and wanted to trademark the name. It's a download only and we're trying to do the registration by ourselves but we're confused about the sample they want. We're not advertising it so do we don't have ads to send. Should we just send them the whole game? Trademark examiners at the USPTO might enjoy playing your game but they won't accept it as a trademark specimen (the official name for the sample). We'd suggest that you provide a screen shot of the title or launch screen -- that's the graphic typically displayed at the beginning of a game (often with the word "Loading" appearing on screen). According to the USPTO, "title or launch screens may be acceptable specimens as long as the nature of the specimen is clear either from the overall look and feel of the specimen or from the applicant’s description of the specimen." You can also furnish a specimen showing the title screen as displayed on a device such as a smart phone or within a social media framework -- for example, within the context of Facebook -- if that is the delivery or hosting system. For more on service mark specimens, check out the USPTO's Examination Guide 31-14.

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