FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Difference Between TM and R in a Circle When to Use Which

Lots of business "experts" or "gurus" always say the same thing—that trademark registration should only be done when your brand becomes big and successful and that placing a TM sign after your brand or logo is enough. WRONG.

This can be dangerous for a lot of businesses who follow this advice! You may notice that a lot of brands don't have a TM but an encircled R beside their logos. Are they one and the same?

Watch the short video below and find out.



Okay, let's start with an R in a circle. It means a registered trademark. When you register your brand as a trademark, you can but are not required to place an R in a circle next to your brand. It tells the world that the government will recognize that you own certain rights in your brand and that you can enforce these rights in court. It means you really own your brand. Now, there are three situations when you would see a ™ sign next to brands. First, the owner of a registered trademark may have chosen to show a TM next to their brand. It may be because they're lazy and they don't want to change their marketing materials to replace their TMs with R in a circle. Once their trademarks were registered, it happens all the time. It may be that they have no idea about the difference between these two symbols, or it may be that they have some special reasons why they don't want the world to know that this brand is a registered trademark. Whatever the reason, the first situation is when a TM sign is used to identify a registered trademark. And by the way, while it's perfectly legal to place a ™ next to a registered trademark in many countries, it's illegal to show an R in a circle next to a brand that is not registered as a trademark. Now, you have to be very very careful with that. The second situation when you can see a TM next to a brand, it's when the brand owner has a pending trademark application. It means they filed a trademark application and whether or not it will ever get registered is a different issue. It may have just been filed and the owner is waiting for it to go through the trademark office system through all the hoops. Or it could be that the trademark may have long been refused. Either way, this situation relates to when the brand owner at least made an attempt to register the brand as a trademark. And finally, the third situation is when a business owner or the entrepreneur simply slap a TM symbol next to a name, a phrase, or logo, without so much as bothering to file the trademark application with the trademark office at all.

How would you know which of these situations you're dealing with? Well, you would need to do a simple trademark search to see if you can find the trademark application for a brand marked with a TM sign. If you see a registration under that name, you know they are more serious than they're trying to appear. If you see a pending application, you can check its current status. How long ago was it filed? Hasn't been approved? If not, why hasn't it been allowed? If not, again, why? And if you can't see a registration or an application, it probably means that the business owner doesn't actually own the brand. You see the TM symbol means one thing. It means you would like the world to know that you want to own the brand. And R in a circle means that you would like the world to know that you actually own it. Big difference! And the danger of that is while you're playing around with TMs, someone else can actually go ahead and trademark the brand you wanted to own. And chances are, you won't be able to do much about it. In fact, by using the ™ symbol, you're telling the world that you value your brand. Just not enough to protect it. So to give you an analogy, at ™ is similar to you posting a message on social media saying, “Hey! I just came up with a great name for my business SuperDuper awesome! I'm going to build a great website at SuperDuper awesome dot-com okay. Make sure you don't register that domain name yourself because I’d be very upset if you do. Compared to that, an R in a circle is when you actually go and spend ten bucks and buy the domain name so no one else can beat you to it.

To summarize, if you want to pretend that you own a brand, ™ is a great option. If you're serious about your business and your brand, you've got to turn your ™’s into ®’s. You've got to trademark your brand. There's just no other way around it. That's why trademarks were invented. In fact, if there was another way to secure your brand, there would not have been a need for trademarks. I hope this clears things up. At Trademark Factory, we use a unique proprietary method to help you trademark your brands risk-free guaranteed anywhere. We call it ™’s into ®s Brand Protection Formula. Basically, we take your unprotected vulnerable ™’s and turn them into secured ®’s in a circle for a single all-inclusive flat fee with a hundred percent money-back guarantee. If you have a brand that you want to protect make sure you book a free call with one of our strategy advisors right now simply go to and fill out a short form to schedule your call today.

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