Sometime, it is said that trademark is an adjective, not a noun or verb. Two symbol normally people seen when it refers to trademark i.e. they are ® and ™ but most of the people don’t know when to use what symbol. So, understand the basic things about trademark usage correctly which are as follows:
- The correct symbol to use;
- Why ™ symbol is used;
- Where ™ symbol is placed; and
- Using ™ symbol in the documents.
First, understand that we can use ™ symbol after filing the trademark application regardless of its registration or objections on trademark application. Using a ™ symbol is like a notice to the competitor that a mark is your trademark. There is no requirement to submit any paper or obtain any permission.
Similarly, for the registered trademark, you must use trademark symbol ® if you really want to sue your business competitors to claim damages. In case, you don’t mention your trademark properly then you can not claim the damages. Don’t use ® symbol until your trademark is finally registered. After registration, the trademark authority gives a trademark certificate.
Therefore, always keep in mind that, place your trademark on place prominently so that people can notice it immediately. Also if you are using your trademark within the body of text use some different style or fonts like bold, italics or UPPERCASE so that your trademark looks different from the surrounding words.
Placement technique of Trademark:
- Symbol ® or ™ is always placed adjacent to the trademark, not to the general description. For example:
Wrong way: Nike athletic shoes®
Correct way: Nike® athletic shoes
- Placement of ™ or ® or * (asterisk) or † or (dagger) or ‡ (double dagger) symbol right near the first use of the trademark. Then provide a detail in the footnote about the trademark.
- A trademark must be different from the surrounded words so that it can be easily observed by the audience and competitors.
Some guidelines how to use trademark while advertising and promoting your brand
- Try to use basic detail of the goods with trademark: For example, wear Nike® athletic shoes. Here, athletic shoes, is generic description of the goods.
- Never use your mark as a verb. For example, don’t Xerox. Xerox is the registered trademark but using it as verb, can confuse the target audience.
- Never use your trademark generically because generic can never be registered as trademark; they are simply a way to describe the product.
- Make sure that you use a trademark consistently because if the trademark is not being used consistently then it means that, you are weakening your mark by reducing the chances that consumer will recognise the mark and relate to your product.
Have you seen the ? symbol?
The ? symbol means "service mark", which denotes services instead of goods. However, because the abbreviation SM has another, derogatory meaning that’s why it is rarely used. Therefore, people use symbol ™ which works identically, and, should be preferred.