What’s the Difference Between the TM and R Symbols for Trademarks?

What’s the Difference Between the TM and R Symbols for Trademarks?

The symbols “®” and “TM” are commonly used to indicate trademark status, but they have different meanings and implications. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences between the circle R (®) and the TM symbol:


1.  Circle R (®)

The circle R symbol, also known as the registered trademark symbol, is used to indicate that a trademark has been officially registered with the appropriate trademark office in a particular country. It signifies that the trademark is legally protected and gives the owner exclusive rights to use it for the goods or services specified in the registration. The circle R symbol should only be used for trademarks that have gone through the registration process and been granted official registration status.


Key points about the circle R symbol:


·  Indicates a registered trademark.

·  Provides legal protection and exclusive rights to the trademark owner.

·  Should only be used once the trademark is officially registered.

·  Can only be used in the country where the trademark is registered.


2.  TM symbol

The TM symbol, also known as the trademark symbol, is commonly used to indicate that a word, phrase, logo, or other symbol is being claimed as a trademark. It can be used without registration and is not limited to a specific country. The TM symbol serves as a notice to the public that the owner considers the mark to be their trademark and asserts some level of rights over it.


Key points about the TM symbol:


·   Indicates a claim of trademark rights.

·   Does not require registration.

·   Can be used for trademarks not yet registered or in the process of registration.

·   Not limited to a specific country.


Additional points to consider

·    The use of the circle R symbol is only appropriate for trademarks that have been officially registered in the relevant jurisdiction. It is illegal to use the circle R symbol for unregistered trademarks or to use it in a country where the trademark is not registered.

·   The TM symbol can be used by anyone to indicate a claim of trademark rights, regardless of whether the trademark is registered or not.

·   The use of either symbol does not guarantee legal protection or prevent others from infringing upon the trademark rights. However, using the appropriate symbol can provide notice to others about the owner’s intent to protect their trademark and may discourage potential infringers.


In summary, the circle R (®) symbol is used for registered trademarks, indicating official registration and legal protection, while the TM symbol is used to claim trademark rights, regardless of registration status. It’s important to use the correct symbol based on the legal status of your trademark to maintain clarity and adhere to trademark laws in the relevant jurisdictions. If you have questions or need guidance regarding trademark usage, it’s advisable to consult with a qualified intellectual property attorney.


For more information on how to file a trademark and how to register your brand, contact Franchise Marketing Systems:


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