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How do I use Trademark Symbols?

Trademark words around IP R symbol

As many companies are using a trademark, they often use the ® or TM symbol following their logo or company name. As a trademark owner, it is important to know when you should use these symbols, and more importantly, how they should be used.

To begin, it is necessary to recognize the symbols that can be used for trademarks. These are: TM, SM and ®. TM is used for trademarks, SM is used for service marks or marks that represent a service, and the ® is used for federally registered trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

It is important to know when to use these marks. TM and SM can be used at any point, even without a federal registration. These symbols inform the public that you own the trademark connected with your brand, and that this is a strong source identifier for the goods and services connected with the mark. While these symbols create customer awareness of mark ownership, they do not hold any legal significance, so they have no federal trademark laws connected to them. These marks should be used if there is no federal registration or while the trademarks or service marks are moving through the federal trademark application process.

However, the ® logo signifies a federal registration, prompting awareness of federal protection of your trademark or service mark. This famous ® symbol is not required to be used after a trademark is registered, but it is strongly encouraged that you remember to place this after your trademark or service mark once registration has been granted. In trademark infringement cases, a plaintiff can show that a defendant had actual knowledge of infringement if they were aware of the ® symbol, so it is of great benefit to utilize this when having a federally registered mark.

While there is no strict adherence to a law stating where the symbols should be placed, the common custom is to place the logo in the upper or lower right hand corner of the mark. Also, it is important to note that the symbol does not need to be displayed every time a mark is used. For example, a toy company such as Hasbro may use their mark multiple times on packaging or professional correspondence. However, as long as the use the ® symbol at least once, this will ensure proper use of the trademark.

If you or your business have questions about using trademark symbols, and you require advice regarding trademarks, contact the Business Law and Business Litigation Attorneys at The Jacobs Law LLC at 1-800-652-4783 or email TRADEMARKS@THEJACOBSLAW.COM.

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