Fact Sheets
Global Trademark Resources
Fact Sheets
Introduction to Trademarks


Trademark Symbols

1. What does the symbol TM mean?

The symbol TM is used to provide notice of a claim of rights in a trademark. A TM is usually used in connection with an unregistered trademark and is used to inform potential infringers that a term, slogan, logo, or other indicator is being claimed as a trademark. Use of the symbol TM does not guarantee that the owner's mark will be protected under trademark laws.

2. What does the symbol SM mean?

The symbol SM functions similarly to the TM symbol, but is used in connection with services, such as banking services or legal services, rather than tangible goods. Use of the symbol SM does not guarantee that the owner's mark will be protected under trademark laws.

3. What does the symbol ® mean?

The ® symbol is a notice of registered ownership used in many countries or regions to advise the public that a trademark or service mark is registered and providing constructive notice of the legal ownership status of the mark with which it is used. The ® symbol should be used only in connection with registered marks. Use of ® with any unregistered trademark may result in claims of fraud or other difficulties in trying to obtain and/or enforce trademark rights.

4. How should the TM, SM or ® symbol be used?

There is some flexibility on how and where to use the TM, SM and ® symbols. Placing it at the upper right hand corner, the lower right hand corner, or level with the mark or logo itself are all typically acceptable ways of displaying the appropriate symbol. These symbols are most often placed adjacent to the mark in superscript (smaller, raised) form. EXAMPLE: COCA-COLA®. The TM, SM or ® need only appear with the first or most prominent mention of a mark in all documentation, such as press releases, articles, and company reports.

See also Marking Requirements

Please give us your feedback on whether this fact sheet was helpful or if you have suggestions for other fact sheet topics.