If you have successfully filed for trademark registration, then congratulations. You have taken an important step in protecting the use and rights of your intellectual property. But now what? How best to use that trademark you waited so long for?

There are multiple different trademark symbols, and it can be confusing knowing which ones to use and when. We would like to present you with a brief guide to assist with a basic understanding of trademark symbols.

What Are the Different Trademark Symbols?

Trademark symbols provide notice to the public that your brand, name, logo, etc., are trademark protected. This lets both consumers and competitors know that they are looking at a trademark-protected name. A new level of respect and recognition comes along with the trademark symbol.

TM represents any trademarked goods. SM, for service marks, represents trademarked services. The trademark symbol ® represents federally registered trademarks that have been approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

What is the Difference Between TM and R?

The TM symbol can be used for unregistered trademarks and signifies some common law protections or statements of ownership. It says that you are claiming the trademark to that name. This ™ is the most commonly used trademark symbol.

The ® is reserved for trademarks that have undergone proper federal registration with the USPTO. The United States government considers the misuse of the ® symbol to be a fraud. The ® can be used to represent goods or services. It can only be used in regions where you own the registered trademark.

Where Do You Place the Symbols?

In almost all cases, the trademark symbol should appear to the top right of the name that is trademarked. For example, McAfee™ or Google®. If the trademarked product is a logo, then the trademark symbol goes in the lower right of the logo name.

Do You Need to Use a Trademark Symbol All of the Time?

No, you do not need to use trademark symbols all of the time. In fact, it would be best to not use it too often because it can make fields of texts look very cluttered. The best time to use your trademark symbol is when the trademarked name is first introduced. This way, its placement does not seem random, and it lets people know right away that they are looking at a trademarked name or product.

In print materials, we recommend you use your trademark symbol with the first instance of the trademarked names’ usage. Online trademark symbols can appear in the header and footer of every webpage dedicated to the trademarked product. On social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, trademark symbol usage should be more relaxed and rarely used at all.

Should You Use a Trademark Symbol in Your Trademark Application?

Please, do not use any trademark symbol when filing your trademark application with the USPTO. You are looking to register a name or logo with the government. You do not want TM to be part of the official, legally protected name.

If you include a trademark symbol in your application, the USPTO will likely deny your application or ask you to remove the symbol.