Identifying Intellectual Property Claims
We often get requests from clients to add a trademark to their logos. Most people have no idea what the little symbols are meant for they just assume it is required to pick one. It’s important to know when and where to use each one. Here is a basic down low on proper use and standards.
There are three commonly used trademark symbols:
- TM symbol is used for trademarks that represent goods
- SM symbol is for service marks that represent services
- ® (the capital letter R inside of a circle) symbol is used for registered trademarks
The TM and SM symbols are used with unregistered marks. There is no legal significance or requirements and anybody can use the TM and SM symbols. When you use TM and SM you are simply telling the public that you claim that branded mark and to pursued other companies not to use it.
The ® symbol is more legit and is used when the mark is actually registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. You should only adopt the ® for federally registered marks.
The placement of the symbol should appear in superscript (small) in the upper right corner of the mark. If it doesn’t look good there, You can also drop it to the lower right corner of the mark. Although placement of the symbol isn’t really regulated by law, it’s pretty much standard.
For more details check these links below
- More info on TM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unregistered_trademark
- More info on SM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_mark
- More info on ®: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Registered_trademark_symbol
- Search the trademark database: https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-application-process/search-trademark-database