Proper Use of Trademark Symbols

Proper Use of Trademark Symbols

Our earlier blog post explained the different trademark symbol options – ®, TM, and SM, and this blog post will explore ways these symbols are used to help optimize their intended benefits. As previously explained, although use of a trademark symbol is not required by law in the U.S., there are many benefits to doing so.

Where should a trademark symbol be placed?
While a trademark symbol can, in fact, be used anywhere around a mark, it is customary to place the symbol either directly after the mark, in the upper-right corner (superscript); in the lower-right corner (subscript); or level with the mark. There are no formal rules regarding the font or size of trademark symbols.

For logos and designs: Typically, logos are accompanied by trademark symbols placed at the lower right corner of the mark, as seen with the logos below:

For names, words and phrases: Meanwhile, word marks, such as names and slogans, are usually followed by superscript symbols, such as with the marks below:

When and how often should a trademark symbol be used?

Trademark symbols are not usually used every single time a mark (whether a name, logo or phrase) is mentioned. If they were, imagine how busy and cluttered marketing materials would appear. Instead, it is customary to use a symbol with either the most prominent use of mark or with the first instance of its use. Below are some examples of ways to use a trademark symbol:

  • For print materials:  In short print materials (1-2 pages), such as press releases and flyers, the symbol is usually placed next to the mark with the first instance of its use. This can be where the mark stands alone on the page or where the mark appears in text, such as in the first paragraph. With longer multi-page materials, the symbol often appears at least once per page in which the mark is used. This can be in the body of the piece or where the mark is repeated on each page, such as in the header or footer.
  • For websites and mobile apps:  On a website or mobile app, the symbol is usually used at least once per page in which the mark appears. As with print materials, the symbol often appears in the body of the page and/or where the mark is repeated on each page, such as in the banner image/header or the footer.
  • For social media: Use of trademark symbols in social media tends to be less formal.  Generally, if a trademark symbol is used, it is usually only used in the username/bio section. Most trademark owners do not use the symbol in every post, tweet, etc.

By considering the above examples of trademark symbol placement and frequency, along with understanding different types of trademark symbols, a company can be better positioned to promote brand recognition in the market and protect its rights to a particular mark. If you have questions about trademarks or the proper use of trademark symbols, please contact Michelle Rosenberg at [email protected].

This publication should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances not an offer to represent you. It is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your attorney concerning any particular situation and any specific legal questions you may have. Pursuant to applicable rules of professional conduct, portions of this publication may constitute Attorney Advertising.

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