Which Trademark Symbol Should I Use?

Question: Which trademark symbol should you use?

Answer: If you have obtained a federal registration for your trademark in the United States, you may use the “circled r” symbol:


If you have not filed an application fore your trademark, or your trademark is still pending, you should use the small capital letters TM next to your name.

It’s very important that you only use a circled R symbol if you have federally registered your trademark. Even if you have applied for the registration and received a serial number, you must wait until the registration officially issues. In fact, it’s a violation of federal law to use the symbol without proper registration. If the USPTO sees that have used the circled R symbol prematurely in the marketplace, the agency will deny your application.]

That said, while you are waiting for your registration to issue, you can use the TM symbol next to your trademark. You can also use this symbol before you have even filed a trademark application. This is because, in the United States, we recognize common law rights in trademarks. By putting a TM next to your trademark, you are indicating that you are claiming rights in the mark, even though it is not registered with the government.

Josh Gerben, Esq.

Josh Gerben, Esq. is the founder and principal of Gerben IP. In 2008, Mr. Gerben started the firm to provide high-quality trademark services at reasonable prices. Today, he is recognized by the World Trademark Review as a top trademark filer, having registered over 7,500 trademarks. The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and may not be relied on as legal advice.

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