Proper Usage of Trademark Symbols TM and ®

Proper Usage of Trademark Symbols TM and ®

April 10, 2021 This article provides general guidelines for using trademark symbols ™ and the ®. A trademark is a company brand name that identifies the source of origin of a product or service to the consuming public, not the product or service itself. A typical trademark portfolio includes both registered and unregistered trademarks rights. Some examples are shown below. 

Use of the ™ or the ® symbol after a trademark places the public on notice of one’s claims to trademark rights. The TM is used for terms that the user considers a trademark, but that are not registered with the Trademark Office.  Sometimes an SM is used with an unregistered service mark, however the TM is also appropriate. The ® symbol is used with trademarks that are registered with the Trademark Office. While these symbols are not required by law, we recommend using them on websites, marketing documents, and product packaging pursuant to the following guidelines:

Placement of the Symbol

The trademark symbol should be placed immediately following the mark. The norm is to place the symbol in superscript in the upper-right-hand corner. The symbol can be smaller than font used for the mark or the design, so as not to interfere with the stylization.

Should I Include a Symbol with Every Use? No.

Use of a trademark symbol in the first prominent mention of a trademark (e.g., in a heading) is more important  than repeated use throughout a brochure or webpage. The symbol does not have to be used every time the mark is used. Instead, the symbol should appear in the first instance the mark is used, in the most prominent use of the mark, or both. Repeated use of trademark symbols can become cluttered and is unnecessary.

Recommendations for Print Materials

If the print materials consist of 1–2 pages, designation in the first instance of the mark is sufficient. For longer materials, it is recommended (but not a hard and fast rule) that the designation be used at least once per page in which the mark appears. A good way to achieve this is to place the designation anywhere there is a static representation of the mark that is duplicated on each page, such as in a header or footer.

Electronic Materials - Websites

Use the designation at least once per web page in which the mark is used. Placing the designation in any static representation that is repeated on every page is also a good idea.

Using Trademark Symbols In Social Media

The guidelines for marks appearing on social media can be more relaxed. Most companies only use the designation in their username/bio portion of a social media account. The majority of companies will not use the designation following their mark in every blog post, status, or tweet.

Welsh IP Law is an intellectual property law firm based in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Our passion is increasing the value of our client’s business through strategic patent and trademark protection. We work directly with engineers, scientists, and executives to develop and grow intellectual property portfolios that protect and strengthen the client’s business. Our clients include Fortune 500 companies, global brands, family businesses, and start-ups from around the world.