When you make purchases of some products like books, movies, and songs you might see ™, ®, and ℠ , what these symbols and what do they mean. They are trademark symbols.

Trademark symbols are branding assets, either for goods or services, that will help you navigate the world with your products or service with no fear of infringement or counterfeiting.

Throughout your entire trademark registration process you will have three options with related three symbols, so let’s deep dive into trademark symbols and what are they used for.


A trademark can be a word, symbol, phrase, logo, slogan, or a combination of them, that identifies goods or services in the marketplace from other competitors. The ™ refers to trademarks used for products, and the SM service mark is used for services.

Trademark is a branding tool with many advantages, where it helps you safeguard your brand and protect it from counterfeiting and also, distinguishes your products from others in the marketplace. 

You need to consider that having a trademark for a certain word or phrase doesn’t mean that you own it and no one else can use it too, its a common misconception, by owing a trademark you can only prevent someone to use it for the same service or product and that’s it.

It’s not necessary to register your trademark as you own your trademark once you start using it and applying it to your goods or services, but this is geographically limited. If you want stronger and international protection, we recommend registering your trademark. 

After discussing the trademark and its advantages, let’s focus on trademark symbols.


Basically. There are three trademark symbols associated with trademark rights, depending on the nature of trademarked goods or services and the status of registration with USPTO.

  • Circle R  ®

Refers to USPTO registered trademark. It’s the most common and requested trademark symbol and of course, it needs registration with USPTO to put this  ® symbol. If the applicant started using the circle R symbol before obtaining the registration number, he would be violating federal law and his application will be rejected.

  • Trademarked ™ 

Refers to a trademark that is not yet registered. You don’t have to register with USPTO to put this trademark symbol, but it delivers the same purpose of notifying others that the mark is used in consideration of these goods. Examples of Trademarks are MACBOOK and NIKE.

  • Service trademark SM

stands for service marks that are not registered yet. Similar to the ™ symbol it doesn’t require registering with USPTO to put this trademark symbol. This SM symbol is wild used in the united states of America, which prefers distinguishing between trademark symbol and service mark symbol, in most other countries trademark symbol covers both goods and services. Examples of Service MarksSM are UNITED AIRLINES and FACEBOOK.


There are some criteria that you need to follow while choosing your trademark, you need to know that not all trademarks are equal in protectability they are sliding on the scale. Here is how this scale work:

  • Arbitrary: they are words or names that have no relation or are unrelated to the industry. For example, “Dove” for a brand of soap, and Apple is a technology company. 
  • Fanciful marks are born from the imagination, with little meaning in most languages. like “Rolex” it’s not a real word, but it is highly recognizable now because it is associated with watches, “Kodak” photography, and “Fiverr” freelance employment.
  • Suggestive: they are words that give consumers a hint about the nature of goods or services, For example, “Netflix”  refer to movies  “flix” via the internet “Net”.
  • Descriptive: they are words that immediately convey the characteristics of the goods or services. For example, the “American Airlines” and the “Airbus” aviation
  • Generic: they are words that are the popular term for describing a class of products or services. For example, the shirt brand “T-shirts”.


The process of registering a trademark so you could get the ® registered trademark symbol varies from one country to another, but in general, there are some specific steps that the registration process must follow:

First, you need to hire a professional intellectual property agency for your trademark registration, so he is familiar with the rules and procedures. 

The second step is checking the documents and seeing if the description is according to the country’s standards. Also, check fee payment, and if the applicant is allowed to have a trademark, hiring intellectual property agents will help you with this step and will facilitate it.

If you pass the first and second steps then your trademark will be published in the trademark journal so interested parties can present arguments against its registration. After a specific period if no argument was issued, then you will receive your trademark certificate and now you can use the circle R trademark symbol.

Take note, the trademark is not expired as long as you are using it once it’s granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  there are some exceptions, In china, trademark registration gives you protection for 10 years but if you stop using it for successive 3 to 5 years it might be canceled. Trademarks are valid in Saudi Arabia for 9 years and 8 months starting from the filing date.


  1. Click on the website.
  2. Go to the trademark portal.
  3. Fill out the electronic application. 
  4. The application will be checked and the mark will be examined usually within 7 working days. 
  5. Publishing: In the absence of any objection to the mark, the final registration will be issued for (5000 SAR).


  1. Not searching for similar trademarks before registering.
  2. Choose a different trademark class.
  3. Not having a distinctive trademark.
  4. Using trademark symbol incorrectly.
  5. Not enforcing your trademark and stopping infringement.


There is no specific way to insert or use a trademark symbol. Generally, it’s inserted in the lower or upper right-hand corner of the logo it depending on the visualization and acceptable way of displaying it. 

There are no specific criteria regarding size or font style used in trademark symbols, most often they are used in superscript font.


  • Names like GOOGLE®,  Pepsi®, AMAZON®, Twitter®, America runs on Dunkin’®.
  • Letters like AT&T® & IBM®.
  • Numbers like 501®.
  • A slogan like JUST DO IT®, It’s finger-lickin’ good! ®.
  • Sounds like Netflix’s startup music, Tarzan’s yell, Intel’s startup music, and AOL’s “You’ve Got Mail”.


Filing a trademark application is a complex and time-consuming process, that requires a professional attorney to complete and submit your documents, so you could overcome common mistakes which might lead to unregistering your trademark. 

Enjoy our fast, Precise trademark registration service, and experience exceeding the barriers of 50 years and more than 70.000 registered trademarks.  Feel free to reach out to one of our trademark consultants. 


Do you have to use a Trademark Symbol?

There is no legal need to use trademark symbols it’s optional, and you need to know that not using trademark symbols will not invalidate your trademark protection.

Who can use the TM symbol and when you should use it?

Using the ™ symbol is allowed for any owner at any time even if your trademark application was refused by USPTO. You should use it before filling out the application as you are not allowed to use the circle R trademark symbol.

When you can use the registered trademark symbol?

It’s limited to Federal trademark only, and can only be used after obtaining a federal trademark registration and certification from the US government.

Using ™ symbol can protect trademark?

It will give you limited protection in some countries, but in the rest countries you will not get any protection and you will need to register your trademark so you can have protection abroad.

 I have a registered trademark in China can I use it in another country?

Trademark is geographically limited so a registered trademark in China doesn’t give you the right to use trademark symbols like circle R ® it may be considered as a false trademark symbol.

Can the ® symbol be a part of my trademark when I apply for it?

No, this trademark symbol is unregisterable, so if you put it as a part of your logo you must remove it as no one can get an exclusive right for it so as for other copyright and trademark symbols.


Trademark infringement only happens when someone uses a trademark on similar good or service, at that time you can sue him for infringement.

Do you have to put your trademark symbol every time you use a trademark?

It’s not required to use a trademark symbol every time you use the trademark, instead, you can focus on showing it when the mark first appears.

When should you use Trademark Symbols?

  1. In print materials (Articles, press releases, and company reports).
  2. In websites and mobile apps.
  3. On social media.


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