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use of the trademark symbol

use of the trademark symbol

There is sometimes confusion over when and how trademark symbols have to be included in documentation—particularly because overuse can clutter an otherwise neat-looking text. Do I have to use the trademark symbol every time I mention the trademarked product? Can dropping the trademark symbol compromise rights in a trademark or have legal consequences?

Here are some general rules on the use of these symbols.

 

WHAT TRADEMARK SYMBOLS ARE THERE?

There are three commonly used trademark symbols: TM, SM, and the R-in-a-circle—®.

  • TM is used to indicate an unregistered trademark. It is an informal notification that there is a public claim as a trademark.
  • SM represents an unregistered service mark. It is an informal notification that there is a public claim as a service mark.
  • The R-in-a-circle, or ®, advises the public that the mark is registered and its use gives trademark holders exclusive rights over names, logos, colors, or sounds that distinguish their goods or services from others. The ® may be used only with registered marks. Use of an ® with an unregistered trademark may lead to claims of fraud.

 

MUST I USE THE TRADEMARK SYMBOL EVERY TIME I USE A MARK?

The TM or ® symbol needs to be added only with the first or most prominent mention of the mark. Omission of the symbols does not invalidate or compromise rights in a trademark.

 

DOES A TRADEMARK PROTECTION APPLY INTERNATIONALLY?

No, trademarks are territorial and must be filed in each country or jurisdiction where protection is sought. For example, Austrian trademarks are registered with the Austrian Patent Office (österreichisches patentamt), and US trademarks are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

International agreements make it possible to register a mark in more than one country. For example, a European Union Trade Mark (EUTM) registration protects a trademark in all the member states of the European Union (EU). The Madrid Agreement makes it possible to register a trademark internationally.

 

References

 

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