Trademark fun – Snake Oil

Here’s an example of some fun I had using my own site. I’m watching Mysteries at the Museum on the Travel Channel as they talked about Clark Stanley’s snake oil and showed this picture.

I noticed the Trade and Mark on the left and right sides at about the center of the image. When I paused my dvr I also noticed the all important Trade Mark Registered at the bottom. The term Registered indicates that I should be able to find the registration certificate for the trademark. I reached for my laptop and used my trademark ocr search for Clark Stanley. The
first result was what I was looking for! I clicked on the link to the registration certificate at and found that it says

My trade-mark consists of the words “Clark Stanely’s Snake Oil Liniment,” a portrait representation of myself, and four twisted snakes surrounding the same. These have generally been arranged as shown in the accompanying facsimile.

but the facsimile is not included in the online pdf. I have noticed that sometimes the drawing is included and sometimes it is not. To find the image I used the link to patent gazettes that my ocr search returns when the gazette is online at Hathi Trust. The link dropped me off on the index page for the date the trademark was registered. I used Hathi’s Jump To box to get to page 2202 (where the index page says trademarks begin). The second page of trademarks has the expected picture of Mr. Stanley and his snakes!

(image pieced together to include gazette’s title block)
It took me more time to type this than it did to find the registration certificate and missing image. To toot my own horn, I don’t know of any other site that would have found it any faster if at all. The registration certificate is online at but since it’s a long dead trademark it is not in TESS, the uspto’s live-trademark-favoring search system. (The actual acronym in the glossary.)

Initially my search was for Clark Stanley which matched 34 trademarks. These trademarks would have both names anywhere in the text of the trademarks. To extend the fun I tried adding quotes to see if there were more trademarks containing the phrase “Clark Stanley” (where the words/names were adjacent). Three matches were found! One was the trademark above, another was a more modern false positive (matched Clark, Stanley in the trademark). The interesting match is another trademark for snake oil! It’s stamped “Best Copy Available” and the text recognition software had a hard time trying to decipher its text but it did manage to correctly find Clark Stanley in a sea of otherwise unidentifiable characters! I added it to his page as an example where the image or facsimile is included within the online pdf. The ocr’ed text and pdf link is here: 48425.

(Registration certificate’s first page doctored to be mobile friendly)

So keep an eye out for Registered Trademark, Trademark Registered or the circled R ®. If it’s on a product still being produced like Coca Cola you can search for it in TESS at If it’s something old try my
ocr search for yourself. Either way you should be able to find the registration certificate for the trademark.

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