When a possible mark is tied to a product, a trademark is a symbol that can be used (books, clothing, rugs, etc.). An individual does not need to hold a registered trademark with the USPTO to use the TM symbol next to a trademark. The TM does not claim the mark’s registration status with the USPTO, but it does serve an important function in telling competitors that the mark is being considered in connection with the proposed goods. Importantly, using the trademark symbol does not grant trademark rights or ensure that the mark will be protected under trademark law.
The SM stands for Service Mark, and it can be used when the proposed mark is related to a service (accounting, bookkeeping, legal services, personal training services, and so on), rather than a good (accounting, bookkeeping, legal services, personal training services, and so on) (clothing). To use the SM symbol next to a mark, an individual does not need to have a USPTO-registered trademark, but the SM still has the significant symbolic connotation of Use-in-Commerce with the defined service, similar to the TM symbol. The SM symbol is only used in the United States, where it is used to distinguish an SM from a TM. The TM mark is used for both goods and services in most other countries, rendering the SM symbol obsolete. Use of the SM does not grant trademark rights and does not guarantee that the mark will be protected under trademark law.
The Circle R symbol is the most well-known and unquestionably the most sought, and it can only be used once a valid trademark registration has been issued by the USPTO. Indeed, if the applicant filed a trademark application with the USPTO and began using the Circle R sign before receiving a registration number, he would be breaking federal law and his trademark application would almost definitely be rejected. As a result, this trademark symbol fulfills an important function: it provides constructive notice of the mark’s legal ownership. The aesthetics of the Circle symbol, like those of the TM and SM, are important to observe, and it’s written as a little superscript sign typographically.
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STEP BY STEP IN ORDERING A ® TRADEMARK SYMBOL
- Select a distinctive name, logo, or slogan.
- Check the USPTO’s trademark database to see if the desired trademark is available.
- Choose either a 1(a) Use in Commerce or a 1(b) Intent-to-Use trademark application as the filing foundation for your trademark application.
- Select the appropriate Goods/Services Class.
- Enter the products and services that fall under the trademark’s cover.
- Please provide a sample of the trademark’s commercial application.
- Please provide both the first use date and the first use date in commerce.
- Government filing costs of $225.00 or $275.00 per class of goods/services must be submitted.
WHERE SHOULD MY TRADEMARK SYMBOLS BE PLACED?
The trademark symbol (whether it’s a TM, SM, or ®) is nearly always placed on the top right corner of the mark, whether it’s a TM, SM, or ®. If the applicant chooses to use a regular-sized font for the symbol, it is completely acceptable to place it straight after the conclusion of the trademark.
HOW DO YOU WRITE THE TM SYMBOL?
Trademark symbols are typically written in Superscript, which means they are smaller and in a distinct typeface. Simply type “tm” and press enter on an iPhone to generate the trademark sign; the user interface will immediately generate the registered trademark symbol ®. On a Mac computer, simply hold down the “Option” key while pressing the R letter, and the registered trademark symbol ® will appear.
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SHOULD I INCLUDE THE TRADEMARK SYMBOL IN MY TRADEMARK APPLICATION?
NO! Unfortunately, this is a common mistake made by trademark applicants. TM, SM, and ® are unregistrable trademark components that will most probably result in a trademark office action. Worse, if the applicant includes the ® in their trademark application, they have broken federal law and their trademark application will be rejected. What is the reason for this? Upon receiving the trademark application for review, the examining attorney will carefully consider each submitted specimen, and if the federal registration symbol is used with the mark or any portion of the mark, the examining attorney will consult USPTO records to determine the existence of the registered portion of the mark and thus the acceptability of the symbols used. If the examining attorney is unable to locate a USPTO record that validates the usage of the registered trademark sign, the application will be denied. 906.03 TMEP
WHEN CAN I USE THE TM SYMBOL AND WHICH ONE TO USE?
Keep in mind that the use of various TM Symbols is subject to varying restrictions. Before a trademark is registered with the USPTO, or even before a trademark application is filed with the USPTO, a “TM” can be used. Indeed, the “TM” only indicates that the trademark is protected and has common law rights.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office takes trademark infringement very severely. Consider TMEP 906.04., which emphasizes the importance of just using the appropriate Trademark Symbol for one’s mark.
“Fraud is the purposeful misuse of the federal registration sign, ®, with the intent to deceive or mislead the public or the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Wells Fargo & Co. v. Lundeen & Assocs., 20 USPQ2d 1156 (TTAB 1991); 945 F.2d 1563, 20 USPQ2d 1295 (Fed. Cir. 1991).”
This is a life-or-death crisis.
If the examining attorney suspects that the trademark application was fraudulently filed, he must conduct further investigation.
Bring the situation to the notice of the managing attorney.
The managing attorney will alert the Administrator for Trademark Policy and Procedure if the managing attorney feels the USPTO has been the victim of fraud.
If the Administrator determines that additional action is required, he or she will make a recommendation to the Commissioner for Trademarks. The abbreviated version of TMEP 720 is TMEP 720.
The list might go on forever. FRAUDULENT USE OF THE TRADEMARK SYMBOL IS PROHIBITED.
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Trademark And Copyright Symbols
A trademark sign informs others that you own the brand and are the only one who can use it. When a trademark has not yet been registered and you simply want others to know that you are using it and will object if someone else does so without your permission, you should use a trademark symbol. In the same manner that the TM symbol is used for trademarks, the SM symbol is used for service marks.
Trademark owners use the ® sign to show that their trademark is legally registered and protected. This symbol cannot be used for a trademark that has not been registered.
A superscript circled C or the symbol alerts the public to your copyright claim over a piece of creative work. Copyright refers to the creator’s exclusive right to use and distribute an original work. Copyright is granted for a limited period. It’s a sort of intellectual property that includes, among other things, music, poetry, books, plays, paintings, photographs, and computer graphics.
Using Microsoft Office To Insert Trademark Symbols
To insert a symbol, use a keyboard shortcut. Simply input the following numerical sequence while holding down the Alt key:
- By hitting Alt + 0153, you can insert a trademark symbol: TM
- By hitting Alt + 0174, you can insert a registered mark symbol: ®.
- By hitting Alt + 0169, you can insert a copyright symbol:
You must use the numeric keypad while Num Lock is activated. With the numeric keys above the alphabets on the main keyboard, this will not work.
In Microsoft Office, there are two more options for putting these symbols:
Simply type (TM), (r), or (c), and the autocorrect tool will automatically transform it to a symbol.
Any of the symbols can be inserted using the Insert > Symbols option in the Word document.
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