Trademarks are valuable assets for businesses as they distinguish their goods or services from those of competitors. Registering a trademark provides legal protection and exclusive rights to the owner. Properly using the ® symbol is an essential part of maintaining and enforcing those rights.
2. Importance of Registering Trademarks
Registering a trademark provides several benefits, including the presumption of ownership and the exclusive right to use the mark in connection with the registered goods or services. It also establishes a public record of the trademark and allows the owner to pursue legal action against infringers. Displaying the ® symbol helps reinforce the registered status of the mark and deters potential infringers.
3. When to Use the ® Symbol
The ® symbol should only be used for trademarks that have been officially registered with the relevant governmental authority. In most countries, including the United States, the symbol is reserved for federally registered trademarks. It is important to note that unauthorized use of the ® symbol for unregistered trademarks may result in legal consequences.
4. Using the ® Symbol Correctly
When using the ® symbol, it is crucial to follow these guidelines:
4.1 Placement and Size
Place the ® symbol immediately after the trademark or service mark, either in superscript (®) or subscript format (®). The symbol should be sufficiently close to the mark to indicate its association. Maintain a reasonable size for clear visibility, ensuring that it is legible and not overshadowed by surrounding text or graphics.
4.2 Clear Visibility
Ensure that the ® symbol is displayed prominently and is easily distinguishable. Avoid using the symbol in a manner that diminishes its visibility or readability. The symbol should not be obscured by other elements and should stand out to draw attention to the registered status of the mark.
4.3 Consistent Usage
Maintain consistent usage of the ® symbol whenever the registered trademark or service mark is displayed. Use the symbol consistently across various media, including packaging, labels, advertisements, websites, and promotional materials. Consistent usage reinforces the registered status and helps establish a strong association between the mark and the brand.
5. Alternative Symbols for Unregistered Marks
For trademarks that have not been registered, the ™ symbol can be used to indicate that the mark is being used as a source identifier. The ™ symbol can be placed after the mark in superscript (™) or subscript format (™). While not providing the same legal protection as the ® symbol, the ™ symbol alerts others to the brand owner’s claim of ownership.
6. Displaying Trademarks in Text
When trademarks are mentioned in text, it is customary to use the appropriate symbol for their respective registered or unregistered status. Use the ® symbol for registered marks and the ™ symbol for unregistered marks. It is advisable to include a notice at the first or most prominent mention of the trademark in the text, such as “XYZ is a registered trademark of XYZ Company.”
Properly displaying the ® symbol is essential for brand owners to protect their registered trademarks and communicate their legal status. By following the guidelines mentioned above, businesses can ensure that their trademarks are appropriately marked and reinforce their exclusive rights and ownership.