ARE YOU USING THE TM, SM, ® and © SYMBOLS CORRECTLY?
The symbols ™, ®, ©, and ℠ seem to be everywhere you look. If you have not noticed, just pay attention. You will see them all over social media, and various websites. Each one has a very specific purpose that you, as a business owner, and the public should be aware of.
Using each symbol correctly helps to protect your business. Learn more below:
Should you Use the TM symbol or SM Symbol?
A person or an entity may use the TM (Trademark) symbol to identify a word, logo, slogan, or phrase that they are using as a source identifier for their goods.
A person or entity may use the SM (Service Mark) symbol to identify a word, logo, slogan or any other phrase that they are using as a source identifier for their services.
You do not have file an application to register your mark with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to be able to use these symbols on your mark (word, logo, slogan or phrase). You can and really should use the TM or SM symbol to immediately give notice to the public that the word, logo, slogan, or phrase is claimed as your trademark or service mark. Doing so can also serve as a deterrent towards a person or entity considering using a similar mark.
When is the ® Symbol Used?
The ® symbol may only be used on trademarks or service marks that have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Once your mark has been registered, it is important that you begin using the ® symbol on your mark. Doing so puts the public, and potential infringers, on notice that you have a federal registration for your mark, and therefore, your mark is federally protected.
When is the © Symbol Used?
The © symbol is to be used on certain original work that you have created (and fixed in a tangible medium) and/or claim as copyright. You do not have to register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office to use the © symbol. The use of the © symbol serves to put the public, including any potential infringers, on notice that your work is exclusive to you. Although you can use the © symbol without registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office, you must register your qualified work if you want to sue for copyright infringement.