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Trademarks Must Now Be Filed Digitally

Paper trademark files
Are no longer accepted;
Digital only

As of February 15, almost all new trademark applications and all associated submissions must be filed online using the Trademark Electronic Application System (“TEAS”). Only this portal can be used; email submissions aren’t accepted.

Also, all applicants and their trademark attorneys must maintain valid email addresses for correspondence from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as well as a mailing address in case the email bounces.

Email and physical addresses are part of the public record, so applicants may want to create special-use emails and use a PO box.

Except for limited cases, trademark submissions via paper and fax will no longer be accepted. The exceptions include submission made pursuant to international trademark treaties and specimens for smell-based trademarks (such as the smell of Play-Doh).

In 2018, only .03% of trademark applications were filed on paper, so this change will not affect a large number of people.

According to the USPTO,

If you filed an application or registration maintenance document using TEAS Regular or on paper before February 15, 2020, you are not required to use TEAS for submissions related to that application or registration, even if those related submissions are filed after February 15, 2020.

  • You may only file submissions on paper until either of the following occurs:
    • Your application registers or is abandoned and cannot be revived or reinstated.
    • Your post-registration filing is accepted or your registration is canceled or expires and cannot be revived or reinstated.

Making everyone file electronically is intended to improve the USPTO’s processing speed, efficiency, and accuracy.

Another internal USPTO rule has been updated to match statutory requirements and case law. For trademarked goods, the specimens presented must show the mark being used on the goods themselves, or on their containers, packaging, labels, tags, or point-of-sale display.

For services marks, specimens must be shown in the context of the sale of the services, such as in advertising or marketing. A webpage submitted to prove use of a service mark must include the URL and access or print date. An image of a mock-up of a proposed webpage, rather than an actual website, won’t be accepted.


Just like the haiku above, we like to keep our posts short and sweet. Hopefully, you found this bite-sized information helpful. If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact us here.

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