How to Display Trademark Wording

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"TM," shows that the word or phrase is to be trademarked.
"TM," shows that the word or phrase is to be trademarked. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design that identifies a product or service in the marketplace. For example, consumers identify the trademarked name, "Nike," by its name and symbol; and the Pillsbury Doughboy and the Coca-Cola bottle by their designs. A consumer recognizes a trademark by its symbol displayed as a small, raised, "TM," beside the word, phrase, symbol or design.

Determine the trademarked word, such as, "Nike," or the trademarked phrase, such as, "Pillsbury Doughboy," for display.

Display the trademark symbol of the raised, "TM," immediately after the trademarked word or phrase to represent trademark registration in process. Use the symbol of the raised, "R," within a circle to represent an officially registered trademark.

Indicate the trademark symbol in just the title of a document or in its first prominent use within a document without repeating the trademark symbol throughout the document. Use the trademark symbol in sections of the document that you intend to publish or distribute.

Display the wording of the trademark as a noun modifier, such as, "London Fog", as the modifier of the noun, "raincoat." Use the trademark symbol after the modifier only and not after the noun.

Capitalize and space the word or phrase exactly as trademarked when displaying the trademark in the public domain. Pay attention to the structure of the upper and lower case of the trademark wording in the public domain, or "London Fog," for example, could soon turn to, "londonfog" and lose its value and protection.

Change the noun, not the trademark, to modify a trademark's plural form, as in, "Lego toy blocks," rather than, "Legos"; "Oreo" cookies, rather than, "Oreos"; and "tic-tac" mints, rather than, "tic-tacs."

Place lower-case trademarks in quotation marks to distinguish it from surrounding text.

Check if a word or phrase is generic or a trademark before displaying the trademark wording.

Tips & Warnings

  • Omitting the trademark symbol does not compromise your trademark rights. Therefore, you only need to use it once in a document rather than throughout.
  • Register the trademark under the jurisdiction of the country in which you will display it. You could file an application for a group of countries, such as the European Union. To avoid infringing on a similar trademark, speak to a lawyer about conducting a trademark availability search.

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