Trademark symbol: Why, How & When to Use ™, ®, ©

Companies often apply the trademark symbol “™” and “®” to display the standing of their trademarks. However they are used incorrectly, at times, and trademark owners may not be conscious of the fact that misuse can have significant consequences.

In some countries such as Chile, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, the marking is compulsory, and that in the absence of marking with the symbol “®” a trademark registration cannot be opposed against third parties.

For the countries where their usage is not mandatory, companies should consider this as a warning that the owner of the trademark will defend against unauthorized use and that would have a dissuasive influence on third parties.

The “®” means that the trademark has been registered with the governing body of the territory, while the “™” implies that though the mark has not been registered but is in use by the company.

As the rules differ for each country, here are some details and advice about the proper use of these symbols internationally and how to avoid potential problems.

Although these symbols are visible commonly, generally people are unaware that they have different uses and applications. What’s more, most of us don’t even know how to write (type) them on our systems. Here is a brief guide on why, how, and when to use and write the symbols of Trademark™, Registered®, and Copyright©, as well as some related symbols.

Though copying the symbols from here would prove to be quick & helpful, but a little learning goes a long way, too. So read on!!

Meaning of Different Trademark Symbol ™, ® and ℠

  • ™ TM symbol indicates an unregistered trademark used to endorse brand goods.
  • ℠ SM symbol implies a service mark, a mark used to boost brand services, usually unregistered. Though some may use the word trademarks to refer to both trademarks and service marks. The word service mark isn’t used much.
  • ® R circled symbol signifies a registered trademark. A registered trademark owner may initiate legal proceedings against unauthorized use of that trademark to prevent infringement. You are not allowed to use this symbol until you have got it registered. Otherwise, the government may reject your application for trademark registration, because using it without owning it is a violation of the law.

For certain countries, registration is not required. The owner of a common “TM” trademark may also file suit in such legislations, but an unregistered mark would get protected only inside the geographical area where it has been used or in areas into which it may be reasonably expected to grow.

Also see: What is the difference between Trademarks and Service Marks?

How to write ™, ®, ©, and ℠ symbols

  1. Typing in these symbols have keyboard shortcuts. Shortcut techniques working for Desktops and most Laptops running Microsoft Windows. Press Alt and, while holding it, type the below given numerical sequences on Number Pad. The most frequently used symbols can be types with this method. Do try here, by holding “Alt” (left of the space bar) with the:
  • 0153 for trademark symbol tm ™
  • 0169 for copyright symbol c ©
  • 0174 for registered symbol r ®
  • 8480 for service mark symbol sm

Microsoft Office provides a few more options.

  1. The simplest one is to type in ™, (r), or ©, i.e. with brackets, and autocorrect will take care of it. This is not valid for servicemark.
  2. Alternatively, we can also obtain these symbols using Insert > Symbols.
  3. Pressing and holding together Ctrl + Alt + T for the symbol of a trademark is another way. Ctrl + Alt + C for copyright symbol. Similarly, press together Ctrl + Alt + R for a registered trademark.
  4. Using Character Maps is also a good option. Press the Windows key + R on the keyboard to open the Run command box, type charmap and Enter. The Character Map will start. You will be amazed at the wide variety of characters that could be inserted into a document. But the servicemark symbol is not found here either.


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Symbol Mark Unicode Windows MAC HTML E-MAC
® Registered Sign U+00AE Alt+0174 Alt+r ® C-x8R
Trademark Sign U+2122 Alt+8482 Alt+2 C-q20442RET
Servicemark Sign U+2120 Alt+8480 C-q20440RET
© Copyright Sign U+00A9 Alt+0169 Alt+g © C-x8C
Sound Recording Copyright Sign U+2117 Alt+8471 C-q20427RET


Unfortunately, many platforms, though recognizing the “service mark” symbol, have not provided a standard way to type-in. So not all have a shortcut to writing it.

The shortcuts provided for this symbol above may not work for a browser, for instance. So, the best solution is to copy it from elsewhere. If you have some knowledge of advanced usage, you could use HTML to insert it in your texts using the code: “℠” just like I have done here.

Trademark Symbol

What protection does a Trademark Symbol grant?

Now that we know how to insert them in our text, let’s analyze the level of protection that comes with each of the symbols. Mostly these are used indistinctly, but it’s very important to be clear of where and how to utilize them to keep on the right side of the law. Moreover, using them incorrectly may also prove excessive information to potential infringers rather than providing any protection to the trademark.

Trademark TM™ (and SM℠) Symbol

This symbol is used to make it be known that you have the claim to exclusive use of this specific trademark. Generally, this symbol is used for a trademark that is yet to be registered but in use by the trademark owner. And that whoever tries to use it will be contested.

Furthermore, the ™ symbol may also be in use for the lesser-known and used ℠ symbol, used for trademarks that protect services of any kind.

However, just claiming a trademark for yourself doesn’t necessarily result in its protection or that it would never be infringed.

You can keep on using it despite the rejection of your trademark registration application by a trademark office.

Though using this symbol may benefit in those countries in which protection and ownership of a trademark are awarded to “first to use” users. However, those countries where the rules of “first to file/register” for trademark registration apply, these do not prove to be of many advantages.

The R ® Symbol

This symbol is an ownership signal used in many countries to warn and let the public know that this trademark (for products and/or services), is registered and lawfully protected. This symbol is only to be used for a registered mark. In many countries, the use of the ® symbol by an unregistered trademark can bring legal consequences including fraud accusations.

  1. By registering you have the right to file a trademark infringement lawsuit in a court of law and obtain monetary damages.
  2. It acts as a bar to getting someone to register another confusingly similar mark.
  3. Ability to ensure that the customs service block the import of goods bearing an infringing trademark.
  4. It serves as the support while applying for international trademark registration.

The C © Symbol

Used to notify the claim to copyright or authorship of non-audio works.

The © symbol is recognized globally and is used widely, to this day. However, with the Berne convention, this symbol lost its importance as now the protection is granted automatically to the creators.

The Symbol P ℗

This symbol covers audio works only, in other words, copyrighted sound recordings, which are not covered by Copyright. The symbol P ℗ comes from “Phonogram”, a legal term applied to the master recording of music, spoken words, or sounds on LPs, audiotapes, cassette tapes, compact discs, etc. One sound recording copyright would not apply to any other version or rendition, even if performed by the same artist(s). It is usually treated in the same way as the more common copyright symbol. The author of the sound recording is usually the performer(s), the record producer, or both.

How and where to use the symbols TM™, SM℠, R®, C ©, P ℗

No specific rules exist when it comes to the placement of the different symbols. Generally, these are found at the top right corner of the trademarks. If it is not viable or is aesthetically displeasing at this place, it should be dropped to the lower right-hand corner. It should not, however, be placed above, below, or to the left of a mark. Both ways are appropriate. The placement is not fixed by law, but adherence to normal procedures is strongly advised.

In written documents – articles, promotional materials, press releases, and such – the symbol is necessary only to be used with the first instance of the mark, or at the most prominent placement. A common misconception is that each instance of the mark should have a trademark symbol. Overuse gives visual clutter and may decrease the aesthetic appeal of the piece. So it is recommended to eliminate any extra superfluous markings.


Now that you are aware that regulations concerning logo marking in the countries where you market your products may be different, you must take the help of a local trademark attorney. When selecting one, do provide the list of the most important markets for your product. So the countries where marking is mandatory or where sanctions can be issued in cases of misuse get identified. In certain situations, it might be wiser not to use the “™” or “®” symbol and avoid unlawful use.

Though the use of the TM or SM symbols has no legal significance, sometimes it is wise to do so. When you use the TM or SM, it works to dissuade others from adopting the same or similar mark for the same or similar products or services. This wards off unwitting trademark infringement.

The use of the registration symbol, however, is regulated by most country’s laws. Only to be used with a thoroughly registered mark and, as such, applied to the goods and/or services listed in the registration. While you are not required to use the symbol once you have registered legally, failure to not use it is not without consequence. In an enforcement action, your rights to recover lost profits, and money damages may be forfeited unless if the defendant can prove he had no knowledge that your mark was registered before infringing. This is an unnecessary burden to bear.


If you are looking to get your mark registered, get connected with Trademarkcart Now!!

Let us assist you while deciding registering in which countries is crucial and where a simple TM would work as efficiently.

To avail of exclusive services of trademark search, international registration, WIPO registration, and much more.

Mail us at [email protected] or call on +1-3024672224.


Do Check:

What are Different Types of Patents?

What Can I Trademark: Everything you must know before filling



Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Trademark?
What is a service mark?
What is Copyright?
How are trademarks, copyrights, and patents different?
What does a trademark do?
How to use a trademark or service mark?
When to use the TM or SM symbols?
When can I use the ® symbol?
Do I need to register my trademark?
What are the rights of trademark owners?