vs. ® - Unregistered And Registered Trademarks

What's the difference between registered and unregistered trademarks? When should you use the ™ sign and when should you use the ® sign?

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NARRATOR [Female]: Jeff is an business coach. He came up with the name, logo and many memorable visuals for his business.

JEFF: I don't get it! I just don't get it!

JEFF: Hello!

LAWYER: Hello, Trademark Factory here

JEFF: How come some brands have a TM symbol next to them, and some have an R in a circle symbol? What's the difference? Which one should I use?

LAWYER: Once you have decided to use a particular brand for your business, start putting the TM symbol next to it.

JEFF: Oh, that's simple

LAWYER: What the TM symbol says to the public is that you are using this logo, name, or tagline as your trademark. In fact, this means that YOU, yourself think that it is your trademark.

JEFF: Well, I certainly think that!

LAWYER: It actually has an added advantage because a lot of people don’t know trademark laws and think that there is something more required from a business owner before they can place the TM sign next to their trademark. Customers may take you more seriously, even though all you had to do was insert an extra character in all of your branding and marketing materials.

JEFF: Do you mean I can just place it next to my names and logos, just like that?


JEFF: And I don't need YOU to do anything for me?

LAWYER: No, you can do it yourself

JEFF: And I don't need to pay anything to anybody to do it?

LAWYER: No, just go ahead and do it!

JEFF: Then what does the R in a circle mean?

LAWYER: This means that the trademark is registered. While the TM sign means that you yourself think that it is your trademark, the R in a circle sign means that you yourself think that it is your trademark, AND the government agrees.

JEFF: Well, my trademarks are not registered, can I still use the R in a Circle symbol?

LAWYER: No, you may run into a lot of trouble if you do, especially in the United States.

JEFF: Thank you.

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Disclaimer: Please note that this cartoon is not and is not intended as legal advice. Your situation may be different from the facts assumed in this cartoon. Your watching this cartoon does not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and Trademark Factory International Inc., and you should not rely on this cartoon as the only source of information to make important decisions about your intellectual property.

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