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I'm guessing that ™ is the symbol for Trademark and ® is the symbol for Registered Trademark. So the first one is for a trademark that is not registered, and the second one is a symbol for one that is?
Do you have to file any paperwork with any entity in order to make the first symbol legit, or is simply using the symbol good enough? How much protection does it give you?
And what does one have to do in order to be able to use the second symbol legitimately? How much does it cost?
Any time you claim rights in a mark, you may use the "TM" (trademark) or "SM" (service mark) designation to alert the public to your claim, regardless of whether you have filed an application with the USPTO. However, you may use the federal registration symbol "®" only after the USPTO actually registers a mark, and not while an application is pending. Also, you may use the registration symbol with the mark only on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the federal trademark registration.
Completing the registration process is definitely the way to go. While you have a trademark pending or haven't started the process at all, it becomes much more difficult to prove you were the first business to use that particular term. But once a trademark is granted and you can use the ® symbol, it is easy to prove your ownership should the need arise.
How much protection does the TM symbol actually offer
Laws vary from country to country, but where I am from (and generally countries which derive their legal system from the British), this is my understanding:
The TM symbol is just a 'deterant'. You don't need to show the TM symbol for the mark to be a trademark, and you can defend a trademark whether or not the TM symbol is there. I agree with Jenstar that it is easier to defend a registered trademark, but with an unregistered trademark, it makes little difference whether the TM sign is there or not, except perhaps to show your intent.
to show your intent.
This is a good point. Also, the TM sign often will make people stop and think before they take. There are surprisingly many people who think that just because the business/name/product isn't as well known as a big corporation, that it is just fine to go ahead and use that name too. So a TM sign can be a deterent in that regard as well.
...the TM sign often will make people stop and think before they take. There are surprisingly many people who think that just because the business/name/product isn't as well known as a big corporation, that it is just fine to go ahead and use that name too. So a TM sign can be a deterent in that regard as well.
That is exactly why I am doing it. Thanks.
Good reason to include it on my 'brands' then, as every time I see one of those marks -> it feels more 'official', wonder too if that might help sales in some way?
That would be an interesting side effect of it, since it might instill a degree of consumer confidence. Imagine - TM = brand protection + $$$, possibly.
Fascinating stuff you learn here. :)
perhaps if I'd been using the 'tm' instead, they would have thought twice? Hm.
This is precisely why I use it now, because I had someone do that exact thing, then claim total ignorance. I am hoping others will now think twice, because it is so common to see it as an official and legal mark these days.
Interesting thought about consumer confidence. I have the name with the TM all over a couple of my sites, since the names are very brandable. I am going to have to go back and see if there was any noticeable difference from before and after I began using the TM. I agree that I feel more comfortable when I see the TM or ®, but I had never considered it from the sellers point of view in terms of being a possible reason for increased sales.