Trademark Notices

Use of the ™ or SM Symbols. Unless and until you obtain a federal trademark registration for your mark(s), you can (and should) use the ™ or SM (for trademark and service mark, respectively) symbol in connection with your marks to indicate to others that you claim rights in the marks.

You do not need to have filed a state or federal trademark application or obtained a trademark registration to use the ™ or SM symbol, as common law trademark protection subsists from the time a mark is first used in commerce…although there are several benefits to registration.

You may also want to include a trademark notice on your documents and website.

 Example: I’M WITH THE B(R)AND SM is a service mark of Danica L. Mathes. registered-98574_1280

Use of the Federal Registration Symbol ®.  You cannot use the federal registration symbol ® until you receive a federal registration certificate from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Even if you have a pending trademark application, the registration symbol may not be used before the mark has actually registered. The federal registration symbol should only be used on goods or services that are the subject of the federal trademark registration.

You may also want to include a trademark notice on your documents and website.

Example: CAST A BIG SHADOW.® is a registered service mark of Bell Nunnally & Martin LLP.

NOTE:  JUST BECAUSE A MARK IS REGISTERED FOR ONE ITEM DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN USE THE ® FOR OTHER ITEMS.  If a specific product or service is not listed in the identification of goods/services for a registered mark, then ™ or SM would be the correct notice to use in that case.

Trademark Notices in Other Countries. Some countries have severe civil and criminal penalties for improper use of trademark registration symbols.  Therefore, you should not use ® in countries where your marks have not been registered.  If you are unsure if a trademark is registered in a particular country, you should use the ™ or SM symbol.

Use of Third Party Marks.  You should observe the trademark ownership of others by including the following:

“[Enter trademark name here] is a [registered] trademark of [enter trademark owner’s name].”

If the trademark owner information is unknown, you may want to include the following:

“All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. [Company Name or Your Name] is in no way endorsed, sponsored, approved by, or otherwise affiliated with the owners of such trademarks.”

NOTE: IN MANY INSTANCES, YOU WILL LIKELY NEED PERMISSION FROM THE OWNER OF A MARK IN ORDER TO USE THAT PARTY’S MARK…especially if use of a third party mark is likely to lead consumers to believe that there is an affiliation, connection or association with the third party mark or that the owner of the third party mark sponsors, approves or originates your products, services or commercial activities.

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