Can I Use ™ Or ® After My Name?

What symbol should you use after your business name? And when can you use ™, or ®?

Any time you use your trademark, you should use a trademark symbol with it to let consumers and competitors know you are claiming your product and brand as your own. The symbols let others know you are asserting your trademark rights and you plan on protecting your legacy.

But first, what symbol should you use?  

There are three trademark symbols you can use, and it is quite easy to determine which symbol is right for your brand.

If you haven’t filed your application for your mark or you are still in the process of filing your application with the The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you can use the symbols little SM (℠) to represent a service mark for services and little TM (™) to denote a trademark for goods. Both indicate that you’re claiming common-law protections over your product. Typically though, companies just use the ™ symbol for unregistered trademarks regardless if the trademark is for goods or services. 

However, while your mark is unregistered, it is much harder to legally protect your claim of ownership, which is why you MUST consider registering your trademark. 

Once your trademark is federally registered with the USPTO and listed in the federal trademark registration, you can use the circled R ®. This symbol carries more weight and provides notice that you are the legal owner of the trademark in question. This symbol also applies nationally which is not a protection afforded to non-registered trademarks. 

You are not able to use the ® symbol before you are federally registered with a registration certificate from the USPTO. Using it prematurely is a violation of federal law unless you own the trademark registration, and it can even be grounds for the government to deny your application. 

Now that I know which symbol to use, what do I do with it? 

Once you know which symbol you should use, you can place it anywhere around the trademark to indicate your ownership of the mark. However, all three symbols are commonly used in superscript or subscript form to the right of the trademark (for example, Coca-Cola ®). You do not have to use the trademark symbol to have trademark rights, but it is better to use it more often than not.


The process to register your trademark with the USPTO may be a long one, but it is worthwhile to protect your legacy. If you would like to read a little more about the filing process, click here. To book a consultation, reach out to us at www.paigehulse.com/contact.

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