Which Trademark Symbol Should I Use, and When?

Which Trademark Symbol Should I Use, and When?

Your trademark is in the process of being approved, or has been successfully registered in your designated country – now what?

A common question from our clients pertains to the use of trademark symbols. How, what and when can businesses start using trademark symbols to signal to third parties that they have legal ownership of their logo, brand or inventions?

Using recognised trademark symbols is a way for businesses to associate a mark as his or her intellectual property. Businesses may choose not to use trademark symbols for aesthetic purposes as the lack of use will not result in the loss of intellectual property rights.

Why Should I Use Trademark Symbols?

It is recommended however, that businesses take full advantage of trademark symbols as they notify competitors that your name, brand or logo is a trademark. This information helps to stop others from potentially infringing upon your mark. The use of trademark symbols gives you the upper hand should you be involved in a trademark infringement lawsuit.

To enforce and protect your trademark to its maximum potential, use the appropriate trademark symbol next to your name, brand or logo.

Which trademark symbol should I use?  


® and ™ are two well-known and commonly used trademark symbols.

™ symbol: If your trademark has yet to be registered, or is in the process of being registered with MyIPO, you should use the ™ to claim your trademark. Businesses ought to know that using the ™ symbol does not protect your trademark legally, nor do you need to receive legal permission to use the ™ symbol. By placing the ™ symbol next to your mark, you are signalling to competitors that you consider the mark to be an intellectual property of yours, or that you are in the process of registering your mark. The ™ symbol can be used for either goods and/or services.

® symbol: If your trademark has been registered with MyIPO, you should use the ® symbol to claim your trademark. In doing so you will be indicating to third parties that using your mark without your authorisation or permission will be a violation against your intellectual property rights. Businesses may not use the ® symbol if their goods and/or services are yet to be registered to MyIPO. Furthermore, the ® symbol can only be used in connection with the relevant goods and/or services registered with MyIPO.

There are also SM,  © and ℗ to indicate trademark registration.

SM symbol: Much like the ™ symbol, the SM symbol should be used if your mark has yet to be registered, or is in the process of being registered with MyIPO. Businesses should use the SM symbol for services, rather than goods.

© symbol: The © symbol should be used to indicate a copyright notice for non-audio works, such as arts, literary or film works. Individuals and businesses ought to know that it is not necessary to use the © symbol to declare a new copyright.

℗ symbol: The ℗ symbol should be used for sound recording works that have been copyrighted.

In our next article, we will discuss placement techniques for trademark symbols. Learn more about trademark laws and Intellectual Property Protection at Quality Oracle. We are proud of our 28 years of professional experience in Intellectual Property and we are ready to defend your IP rights in Malaysia and internationally: anything, anytime, anywhere.

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