TMEP 1301.04(h)(iv)(A): Sign-In Screens

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1301.04(h)(iv)(A)    Sign-In Screens

Applicants often submit screenshots of sign-in screens as specimens for online services, such as non-downloadable software services and application-service-provider services. Sign-in screens show that the services are available and the context indicates that they are accessed by inputting credentials, which is a generally known and accepted means of accessing many online services. In re Metriplex, Inc., 23 USPQ2d 1315, 1317 (TTAB 1992) (finding the submitted specimens acceptable to show use of applicant’s mark in connection with data transmission services because "we have a situation where the service are rendered through the means of a tangible item, namely, a computer terminal, so that the mark can appear on the computer screen, and the specimens show such use").

Some sign-in screens may include a reference to the services and effectively function as an advertisement. See TMEP § 1301.04(i), Example 6 (MYFITAGE). Other sign-in screens may contain no reference to the services, but may nonetheless be acceptable if the overall content of the specimen sufficiently indicates the services. Or, the specimen description may explain the context of the services by stating the specimen is a sign-in screen for accessing the services and that applicant is offering the type of services being applied for. Such an explanation may provide a sufficient basis for accepting the sign-in screen specimen, as long as there is no contradictory information in the record indicating that the mark is not associated with the identified services. See TMEP § 1301.04(i), Example 4 (STAFFTAP).