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What Is The Proper Use of a Trademark Symbol?


Padlock and chain on fence (paper negative)
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Question: What Is The Proper Use of a Trademark Symbol?
Are there federal regulations governing the use of the TM or SM trademark symbols? When is it proper to use the federal registration trademark symbol, the letter R enclosed within a circle ® ?
Answer: The use of the symbols TM or SM are not governed by federal law. However, sometimes these symbols are governed by local, state, or foreign laws. Otherwise, you can freely use the symbols TM for trademark or SM for service mark to indicate that you are claiming rights to the marks without (or before) having federal registration.

Federal Registration Symbol ®

The traditional trademark symbol or federal registration symbol may be used once the mark is actually registered with the USPTO. Even though an application is pending, the registration symbol may not be used before the mark has actually become registered. The federal registration symbol should only be used on goods or services that are the subject of the federal trademark registration.

[Note: Several foreign countries use the letter R enclosed within a circle to indicate that a mark is registered in that country. Use of the symbol by the holder of a foreign registration may be proper.]

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