® and ™: which symbol to use?

Authors: Daiva Bukniene, Trademark and Design Consultant, Foreign Affairs Coordinator at METIDA, Violeta Sutkiene, Associated Partner, Head of the Trademark and Design Division at METIDA.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 15.25.25To avoid business related problems in the future, always register a trademark for your created products or services. There have been numerous explanations why trademark registration is a smart step, however, not everyone is aware of advantages of marking trademarks with trademark symbols. You have probably seen characters ® and ™, but do you know how to use them properly?

Which symbol to choose?

You can use these symbols if you have filed an application for your trademark registration. One of them can be used before official registration and another one is chosen after the registration.

If you have filed the application and it is being examined by the State Patent Bureau, you can add symbol ™ to the upper right-hand corner of your trademark.  This would indicate that your mark is being claimed as a trademark and has the priority date (filing date). Once you receive a trademark registration certificate, you can start using symbol ®. In this way you will inform your clients and competitors that the trademark is officially registered and its rights are protected.

Symbols are useful to everyone

Including symbols ™ and ® into the trademark is advantageous in many aspects for you, your competitors and consumers for the following reasons:

  • they indicate that your mark is  either being claimed as the trademark or is already registered;
  • the symbols help you warn your competitors and infringers about possible infringement if they attempted to use  identical or confusingly similar trademarks;
  • the consumer is aware that you are a lawful proprietor of the trademark;
  • the trademark is distinguished from other trademarks if they are together used in commercials;
  • the trademark becomes noticeable in texts and other advertisements.

Only recommended and not compulsory

You are not required to use these symbols. Yet these signs could be understood as a red light reminding others that infringing trademark’s rights is the violation of law.

They also help users to identify trademarks which have become common names due to their popularity and intensive use (e.g. Internet). Not everyone knows that a certain name is a trademark and belongs to someone.  Symbols ® and ™ are good reminders about trademark’s status.

Obviously, if the trademark is often advertised, there is no need to include the symbols in every commercial. Yet, if you wish to protect your rights and implicitly request others (i.e. users or competitors) to respect your intellectual property, we recommend you to be more daring and use symbols ® and ™ more often.

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