By: Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth, Esq., Fort Lauderdale | International Trademark Lawyer
What does TM or ® mean next to a brand?
"TM" next to a brand identifier means trademark. It is an indication that the owner intends the mark or symbol to be an identifier for the source of the service or product. A trademark can be a name, logo, or design. You do not need to have a registered trademark to use "TM." "TM" can indicate that a source is claiming common law rights.
® means that a particular trademark has received registration in a state or with a federal government. Registered trademarks have stronger legal rights than common law trademarks. Moreover, it could be less expensive to prosecute an infringer if you have a registered trademark, as opposed to merely common law rights.
Should I use TM or ®?
It depends. You can use TM at anytime in which you believe a mark is a trademark for your brand. However, you can only use the ® if you have applied for and received registration from a trademark office.
You could face a lawsuit and fines, and lose trademark registration rights if you use the ® without having received registration from a trademark office.
Do I need to use TM or ®?
You are not required to use the TM or ® for your trademark. However, using TM or ® can prevent others from copying your mark. In addition, using the ® after you received federal registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office could allow you to recover damages in an infringement suit without having to show actual notice of the registration.
The USPTO manual states:
Notwithstanding the provisions of section 1072 of this title, a registrant of a mark registered in the Patent and Trademark Office, may give notice that his mark is registered by displaying with the mark the words "Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office" or "Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off." or the letter R enclosed within a circle, thus ®; and in any suit for infringement under this chapter by such a registrant failing to give such notice of registration, no profits and no damages shall be recovered under the provisions of this chapter unless the defendant had actual notice of the registration.
Should I register my trademark?
In most circumstances, it is best to register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or the equivalent in your country.
You are working hard to build up your company's reputation within the community. You also spend money and resources developing your company's name, logo, and designs. You do not want another company to copy your trademarks and capitalize off of your hard work.
Trademark registration makes infringement prosecution more efficient and cost effective. It can also serve as a deterrent against potential copycats.
Moreover, a trademark clearance search (the first phase of trademark registration) can inform you if you are potentially infringing on another company's brand.
Therefore, if your trademark is eligible for registration, it is best to submit an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
If you have any questions, feel free to set up a call with Trademark Attorney Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth, Esq. by calling (754) 800-4481 or booking an appointment online.
To learn more about trademarks, please read our other articles:
Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth, Esq. MDGR LAW Trademark & Business Law Firm www.mdgrlaw.com email@example.com (754) 800-4481