Trademark Talk with Erin, Ep. 9: When can I use the “TM,” “SM,” and “®” symbols?
Episode 9 of Trademark Talk with Erin is now out! In this week’s blog post, we will discuss some of the topics mentioned in Episode 9 of Trademark Talk with Erin. Namely, when can you use the “TM,” “SM,” and “®” symbols? Additionally, what exactly do these symbols mean?
The “®” symbol
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) states that if a mark is “registered with the USPTO, use the ® symbol after your mark.” The ® indicates that the mark is federally register trademark. Federal registration of the mark generally provides nationwide protection for the registered trademark. However, the USPTO does not automatically give a federal registration to every trademark. A party must apply for federal registration. Further, the trademark must satisfy several statutory requirements before it can qualify for federal protection.
What about the “TM” and “SM” symbols?
As for the “TM” or “SM” symbols, the USPTO states that if a mark is “not yet registered, you may use TM for goods or SM for services, to indicate that you have adopted this as a “common law” trademark or service mark.” Common law protection is generally not as expansive as protection under federal law. Additionally, common law protection usually only provides protection in a certain geographical area.
To learn more about the basics about trademarks, click here.
Why Having a Trademark Attorney is Helpful
Federally registering your trademark may be complicated at times. For starters, you may first have to determine whether your trademark is inherently distinctive or whether it has acquired distinctiveness. If the mark is not inherently distinctive or it has not acquired distinctiveness, it may not qualify for federal trademark protection. Additionally, you may have to determine whether there was use in commerce and whether various other requirements have been satisfied. A trademark attorney knows the ins and outs of the trademark application process and can facilitate the process.
What are your thoughts on when you can use the“TM,” “SM,” and “®” symbols? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think!
Here is Episode 9 of Trademark Talk with Erin!
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Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice. It is only for educational or entertainment purposes only. Please do not use the article or contents of the article without permission. For legal advice and questions, please contact registered Patent Attorney Vincent LoTempio.