How to Use Trademark Symbols

  • There are a number of symbols associated with your trademark, and the two most common symbols are ® (used in conjunction with registered trademarks) and ™ (used in conjunction with both registered and unregistered trademarks).
  • Each symbol has a different meaning and purpose, and can only be used in certain circumstances.
  • You can use the ™ symbol whenever you want to signify your business’s trademark.
  • You are not required to file any paperwork or apply for permission to use the ™ symbol: it can be used freely by any business in conjunction with both registered trademarks and unregistered marks.
  • The ™ symbol is generally used to identify your mark to consumers and to your competitors.

How to Use Trademark Symbols

The use of the ® symbol, however, is restricted to registered mark holders only. To lawfully use the ® symbol, you must have applied and been successful in your application for trademark registration of a specific mark. You cannot use the ® symbol if you have a pending application: you are only able to use the symbol if you have been granted registration by IP Australia, the governing body for trademark law.

In addition, you may only use the ® symbol in conjunction with the specific products and services outlined on your registration certificate.

The Purpose of Trademark Symbols

As an unregistered mark holder, you are not required to use the ™ in conjunction with your mark: however, we recommend that you always use a trademark symbol to signify yourself as the creator of a mark. This way, your competitors will recognise your mark and, in most cases, respect your exclusive use of your intellectual property. To truly protect you mark, however, you should apply for trademark registration. Using the ™ symbol to mark your mark will also help consumers identify your business through your mark.

The use of the ® symbol in combination with your registered mark essentially tells your competition that you are the registered owner of that mark, and that you are in a strong position to protect your intellectual property against infringement or unauthorised copying.

How to Place Trademark Symbols

When you are displaying your mark, always use the appropriate symbol. No matter what the context, always ensure that your trademark is displayed conspicuously so that it is immediately noticeable to consumers. If you are placing your trademark within a body of text, use a different typeface, or write your trademark in bold, uppercase, superscript, or italic. This will effectually make your trademark separate from the surrounding text, and therefore recognisable as your mark.

You should always use your trademark as an adjective and never as a noun. Your trademark is the product identifier: it is not the product itself. Using your trademark as a noun can lead to it becoming a generic term, thereby voiding its status as a registered trademark.

When you are placing trademark symbols, place then at the upper-right of your business name, logo, or other type of mark. Bear in mind that you must always use the correct symbol: ™ for unregistered trademarks and ® marks registered by IP Australia. It is unlawful to use the ® symbol in conjunction with any mark that is unregistered in Australia.

You are not required to place your symbol in a specific area. The aim of the use of the symbol is to signify your mark: you could place your symbol in sub-script or in a different adjacent position, so long as it is easily noticed by the consumer or your competitors.

Techniques for Trademark Symbol Placement

Here are three effective ways to place a trademark symbol.

  1. Place either the ™ or the ® symbol directly beside your mark wherever you display it.
  2. Place either the ™ or the ® symbol, or an asterisk (*), dagger (†), or double dagger (‡) symbol directly beside your trademark. You can then add a footnote that describes your mark. You would use this technique predominantly for business-related documents.
  3. Make your trademark stand out in surround text by using a bold, italic, uppercase, or superscript typeface. You could also provide a footnote that describes the mark.

Your footnote description will vary depending on the use of your trademark within a body of text. If your mark is registered with IP Australia, you would mark it with a dagger and include the following footnote:

TRADEMARK and the trademark logo are registered trademarks of Business Inc.

If your mark is unregistered, you would still set it apart from the text in bold and uppercase, and include the following footnote:

TRADEMARK and the trademark logo are trademarks of Business Inc.

Using the ® or ™ Symbols in Business Documents

You can find either symbol in the ‘insert symbol’ or ‘special character’ section of your word processing program. Either of these functions will provide you with a whole range of different symbols, within which you will be able to find the ® or ™ symbols as your require them

Service Marks

Another less common mark you might see in conjunction with trademarks is the ‘SM’ or service mark symbol, which is used to identify services rather than goods. The ‘SM’ symbol is, however, rarely used, and the ™ symbol is effective in its use for both goods and services.

Shortcuts on your PC to Make Trademark Symbols

  • ™ to create the TM symbol for an unregistered trademark simply hold Alt then type 0153 – ALT+0153
  • ® to create the R symbol for a registered trademark simply hold ALT then type 0174 – ALT+0174