™ vs ®
Have you ever noticed the above symbols and wondered what they meant? Many people see these symbols every day and don’t understand that they are both referencing Trademarks. A Trademark is a word, phrase, logo, symbol, etc. that identifies your good or service. You obtain rights in your Trademark by using it. You do not have to register your Trademark, but you will receive greater protection if you do. You can use the ™ symbol for goods or the SM symbol for services even if you don’t register your mark. This lets the public know that you are claiming a Trademark for your particular good or service. An unregistered mark provides some brand protection especially in your local market. If you want national Trademark protection, then you should consider registering your Trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The ® symbol is denoting that the mark is registered with the with a government agency like the USPTO and has been through a registration process. Even a registered Trademark has limitations and will be limited in scope in how you can use. It can be surprising which well-known names, logos, or slogans do not have the ® mark. In today’s world, your brand is more important than ever. Don’t forget to take steps to protect this often-overlooked asset.