Examination of Specimens for Use in Commerce: Digitally Created/Altered or Mockup Specimens [Revised]

Diligence for web specimens trending idea

Several bullet points in Section III reference some signs that a webpage specimen may be fake, including missing information or signs that the mark is only used outside U.S. commerce. Given that applicants and registrants are now required to provide a URL and access date for web specimens, it seems reasonable to direct examining attorneys to conduct some limited diligence before issuing an Office Action. A sentence like the following could be added: "Where the specimen is a screenshot of a website and the applicant has provided a URL, the examining attorney should visit the cited URL to conduct further research regarding the validity of the screenshot and/or the information depicted on the specimen." The examining attorney could then be directed to follow the same procedures set forth in Section IV. A. for entering a Note to File. Adding a limited diligence requirement for web specimens may help avoid some Office Actions or provide additional support for a refusal.

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Idea No. 131