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Where Does the Trademark Symbol Go? A Comprehensive Guide

Laptop on desk with the words "Where does trademark symbol go?"
Where does trademark symbol go?

This blog post answers the question: "Where does trademark symbol go?"

Have you ever wondered, "Where does the trademark symbol go?" The answer is that the trademark symbol is placed either directly after the mark, in the upper-right corner (superscript), in the lower-right corner (subscript), or level with the mark. All of these placements are acceptable and no specific placement is required but you should keep reading to make sure you place the mark in the most appropriate spot for your situation.

Navigating the world of trademark symbols and trademark law can be daunting, especially when you consider the potential legal ramifications of improper usage.

What if there was a comprehensive guide that demystified the process, making it easier to protect your brand and maintain its integrity? The good news is that you’ve come to the right place! Our guide will provide you with a wealth of knowledge on how to use trademark symbols correctly, ensuring your brand thrives in the competitive marketplace, and answering the question: where does trademark symbol go?

As we dive into this essential topic, you’ll learn the ins and outs of trademark symbol placement and usage, the differences between various symbols, and their significance in protecting your intellectual property. We’ll also discuss the importance of monitoring third-party usage, understanding international trademark symbols, and much more. Get ready to become a trademark symbol expert and know exactly where does trademark symbol go!

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the meanings and proper placement of trademark symbols is essential for protecting a brand’s intellectual property.

  • Trademark symbols should be positioned in the right corner, with superscript or subscript font size being an option. They may also be integrated into logo designs.

  • It is important to research international trademark symbol usage to ensure legal compliance and promote global recognition.

Trademark Symbols: Placement and Usage

Trademarks are brand identifiers. Trademarks identify the source of a good and/or service. Trademark registration in the United States is implemented by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A trademark owner can file a trademark application to register a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office so that the owner can have exclusive rights to the mark. The trademark owner can then prevent all unauthorized use by infringers.

Trademark symbols like the registered trademark (®), the trademark (™), and the service mark (℠) are pivotal in safeguarding and recognizing a brand. They serve as visual cues that inform customers and competitors alike that a specific logo, brand name, tagline, or other marketing elements are claimed as trademarks or service marks. Trademark symbols identify these elements, ultimately helping to minimize potential infringement issues and augment brand value and recognition.

Effective trademark symbol usage involves:

  • Correct selection

  • Positioning

  • Consistent usage

  • Regular deployment

Obtaining the registered trademark symbol (®), which offers the highest level of trademark protection, necessitates undergoing the federal trademark registration process.

Next, we’ll delve into a deeper understanding of the three primary trademark symbols and their general placement guidelines.

Understanding Trademark Symbols

A solid understanding of the three primary symbols is key to mastering trademark symbols: TM, SM, and ®.

The TM symbol represents an unregistered trademark for goods, the SM symbol denotes an unregistered service mark, and the ® symbol signifies a registered trademark.

The TM and SM symbols indicate that the trademark is unregistered with the US Patent and Trademark Office, while the ® symbol confirms that the trademark is registered. In this context, the trademark symbol SM stands for an unregistered service mark, and both TM and SM symbols can be considered unregistered trademarks.

Knowing these symbols and their meanings is a cornerstone of protecting your brand’s intellectual property. By using the correct symbol, you can:

  • Condition consumers to recognize your trademark as a brand

  • Alert competitors that the trademark is claimed

  • Enable the buying public to identify trademarks

The USPTO states:

The owner of a mark registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office may give notice that the mark is registered by displaying with the mark the words "Registered in United States Patent and Trademark Office," the abbreviation "Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.," or the letter R enclosed within a circle, ®. 15 U.S.C. §1111.

The registration symbol should be used only on or in connection with the goods/services/collective membership organization listed in the registration.

The federal registration symbol may not be used with marks that are not actually registered in the USPTO. Even if an application is pending, the registration symbol may not be used until the mark is registered.

Registration in a state of the United States does not entitle a person to use the federal registration notice. Du-Dad Lure Co. v. Creme Lure Co., 143 USPQ 358 (TTAB 1964) .

A party may use terms such as "trademark," "trademark applied for," "TM" and "SM" regardless of whether a mark is registered. These are not official or statutory symbols of federal registration.

Now that we have a better understanding of these symbols, let’s explore the general placement guidelines.

General Placement Guidelines

When dealing with trademark symbols, placement holds significant weight. The customary placement of a trademark symbol is to the right of the trademark, immediately following it. This positioning ensures visibility and legal security, as it alerts the public that you hold trademark registration in that jurisdiction and value your mark.

There is some flexibility in the positioning of the symbol, with the choice between superscript and subscript. A subscript is positioned beneath the trademark, while a superscript is positioned above the trademark.

Both are smaller in font size compared to the trademark itself.

Having covered the basics, we will now address the specifics of placing trademark symbols on names, words, and phrases.

As an experienced trademark attorney, I believe that it is a good idea to place the circle r trademark symbol on the right-hand corner of a mark so that the general public can understand the registration status of a mark. You can do this on promotional material and similar products to social media and business cards.

Do not use the circle r until you have officially received trademark registration from the USPTO. Improper use of the federal registration symbol could jeopardize your trademark registration. Use of the sm and tm symbol prior to registration is advised.

Where to Place Trademark Symbols on Names, Words, and Phrases

Proper placement of trademark symbols on names, words, and phrases is vital to guarantee visibility and legal protection. For instance, registered trademarks like Twitter®, America runs on Dunkin’®, and Pepsi® all use the symbol correctly, positioned to the right of the mark.

Adherence to general placement guidelines and positioning the trademark symbol on the upper-right side of names, words, and phrases will ensure easy recognition and legal protection for your brand.

Now, let’s explore specific placement guidelines for the upper-right corner and the use of superscript and subscript.

Upper-Right Corner

The upper-right corner is the go-to area for placing trademark symbols in relation to names, words, and phrases. It provides optimal visibility and ensures that the symbols are not overlooked. For example, the trademark symbol for the word “Apple” should be placed in the upper-right corner as “Apple™”.

The preferred method for positioning the trademark symbol in the upper-right corner is through superscript, which elevates the symbol slightly above the baseline of the text. Now, let’s discuss the use of superscript and subscript in more detail.

Superscript vs. Subscript

The choice between superscript and subscript for trademark symbols largely depends on personal preference and aesthetics. As mentioned earlier, superscript raises the symbol slightly above the baseline of the text, while subscript lowers it slightly below the baseline.

Superscript is generally used for trademark symbols, mathematical equations, and other distinctive characters.

In contrast, subscript is typically employed for chemical formulas and specific symbols in mathematical equations.

With these guidelines in mind, let’s move on to the placement of trademark symbols on logos and designs.

Where to Place Trademark Symbols on Logos and Designs

Trademark symbols, integral to protecting the brand and maintaining its integrity, are also crucial for logos and designs. To ensure your logo or design is legally protected, it’s crucial to position the trademark symbol correctly, usually in the lower-right corner or integrating it within the design itself.

Let’s take a closer look at the specific placement guidelines for logos and designs, starting with the lower-right corner.

Lower-Right Corner

The lower-right corner is the most common area for placing trademark symbols in relation to logos and designs. This placement allows for optimal visibility and ensures that the symbols are not overlooked by consumers or competitors.

For instance, if you have a logo with a stylized apple, the trademark symbol (™ or ®) should be placed in the lower-right corner of the apple design. This placement indicates that the logo is a claimed trademark, alerting others to your legal rights in the mark.

Integrating Symbols Within the Logo

Another option for placing trademark symbols on logos and designs is to integrate the symbol within the design itself. This approach creates a seamless appearance and can enhance the overall aesthetics of the logo.

To incorporate the trademark symbol into the logo, you can select a font that matches the logo’s font or use a graphic that reflects the design of the logo.

Whichever method you choose, be sure to use a trademark symbol consistently across all marketing materials and platforms to maintain brand recognition and protection.

Frequency of Trademark Symbol Usage

The frequency of trademark symbol usage varies depending on the platform and the specific legal requirements of the jurisdiction. For example, websites and social media require the trademark symbol to be used in conjunction with any mention of the trademarked name or logo, while printed materials necessitate the trademark symbol to be included at least once per page.

The consistent and appropriate use of trademark symbols across all platforms is crucial in maintaining brand integrity and legal protection. Let’s explore the frequency of trademark symbol usage for print materials, online content, and social media.

Print Materials

In print materials such as brochures and packaging, consistent use of trademark symbols is critical to safeguard your brand and uphold its recognition. In short print materials, such as press releases or business writing, use the trademark symbol on the first instance of the trademark.

For more extended materials, include the designation (trademark symbol) at least once on every page that contains the trademark. This approach ensures that your brand is protected and easily recognizable by consumers and competitors alike.

Online Content

In the case of online content like websites and blogs, the consistent use of trademark symbols is vital for the protection and recognition of your brand.

Generally, it’s recommended to include the trademark symbol at least once in the copy, preferably in a header or introductory content.

By using trademark symbols in your online content, you not only protect your brand but also foster consumer recognition and deter potential infringement. Remember to monitor third-party usage and compliance to ensure your brand’s trademarks are being used correctly and legally.

Social Media

On social media platforms, the use of trademark symbols often requires a balance between maintaining legal protection and preserving a clean, uncluttered appearance. In general, brands and blogs should include the trademark symbol only once, such as in their bio or username, rather than in each post or tweet.

This approach safeguards your trademark and deters others from using it without permission, while still maintaining a visually appealing presence on social media. As always, consistency is key to ensuring your brand’s trademarks are protected and easily recognizable across all platforms.

Third-Party Usage and Monitoring

It’s vital for brand protection and the maintenance of your legal rights to ensure third parties use trademark symbols correctly and monitor their compliance. Establishing clear guidelines for third-party usage and monitoring adherence can help prevent potential legal issues and protect your brand’s standing in the marketplace.

Let’s take a closer look at how to provide guidelines to third parties and the importance of monitoring their compliance.

Providing Guidelines

Providing clear guidelines on proper trademark symbol usage is crucial when allowing third parties to use your trademarks for marketing and sales. By offering written instructions on the proper use of trademark symbols, you can ensure that your brand’s trademarks are utilized correctly, legally, and consistently.

Establishing guidelines not only preserves the authenticity and protection of your trademarks but also prevents potential legal issues that may arise from improper usage. Remember, it’s essential to monitor adherence to these guidelines to guarantee that your trademarks are being used correctly and legally.

Monitoring Compliance

To prevent loss of trademark rights and maintain brand integrity, monitoring third-party compliance is of utmost importance. Regularly reviewing third-party usage of your trademarks and confirming that the trademark symbols are being used in accordance with your guidelines is essential for brand protection and legal security.

Both manual monitoring and software solutions can be employed to keep an eye on trademark usage. By staying vigilant and proactive in monitoring third-party compliance, you can ensure your brand remains protected and its trademarks are used appropriately.

International Trademark Symbols

As your brand expands globally, comprehending international trademark symbols and their usage in various countries is vital for sustained success. Different countries have distinct rules and regulations regarding trademark symbols, making it essential for you to research and understand these differences to protect your brand on a global scale.

In this section, we’ll explore the importance of researching international trademark symbol usage and the potential consequences of failing to do so.

Different Countries, Different Rules

Recognizing that trademark symbols and rules, including common law trademark rights, may differ between countries is important.

Failing to research and understand these differences can lead to monetary penalties, litigation, and forfeiture of trademark rights. To ensure that your brand is protected and legally compliant in various jurisdictions, it’s essential to investigate the laws in each country before utilizing trademark symbols.

By understanding the discrepancies between trademark symbols and regulations in various countries, you can prevent potential legal issues, protect your brand, and foster consumer recognition on a global scale.

Importance of Research

To ensure legal compliance, safeguard brand protection, foster consumer recognition, and enable global expansion, researching international trademark symbol usage is of paramount importance.

Failing to research international trademark symbols could result in legal issues such as trademark infringement, dilution, and counterfeiting.

By conducting thorough research and understanding international trademark symbol usage, you can protect your brand globally, guarantee legal compliance in different countries, and ensure your brand’s trademarks are not infringed upon.


Throughout this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored the proper placement and usage of trademark symbols, ensuring your brand is protected and easily recognizable.

By understanding the distinctions between the various trademark symbols, following general placement guidelines, and monitoring third-party usage, you can maintain your brand’s integrity and legal protection across different platforms and countries.

As you continue to navigate the complex world of trademark symbols, remember that research and vigilance are key to your brand’s success. With the knowledge and insights gained from this guide, you are well-equipped to protect your brand’s intellectual property and foster its continued growth and recognition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where should trademark symbol be placed?

Typically, the trademark symbol is placed either directly after the mark, in the upper-right corner (superscript), in the lower-right corner (subscript), or level with the mark. All of these placements are acceptable and no specific placement is required.

Does the trademark symbol go before or after?

It is customary to place the trademark symbol (TM, SM, or ®) immediately following the mark and on the right side. It is usually in superscript in the upper-right-hand corner, or in subscript in the lower right-hand corner.

How to do the TM symbol?

Use the keyboard shortcut "Alt + 0153" (numeric keypad) on a Windows computer or "Option + 2" on a Mac to insert the trademark symbol. Alternatively, you can also use the Advanced Symbols library in Microsoft Word or copy and paste from this page. Press and hold ALT+0153 for the TM symbol or ALT+0169 for the copyright symbol c.

Is the trademark symbol TM or R?

The trademark symbol (TM) is typically used for unregistered marks or marks in the process of being registered, while the small, raised “R” in a circle (®) is only used by federally registered trademarks.

What are the three main trademark symbols?

The three main trademark symbols are TM, SM and ®, representing unregistered trademarks and a registered trademark respectively.

Please schedule a call with me if you'd like to discuss the best way to register your trademark, use of the registered trademark symbol, violations of federal law trademark infringement, and more!​

This article does not contain legal advice. We recommend that you schedule a consultation with our office or seek the legal services of a licensed attorney to understand your legal rights relating to federal law, common law rights, money damages, and other courses of legal action.

I’d be happy to help if you want to know more about your intellectual property rights, and how you can properly use a logo. Reach out to me anytime at or (754) 800-4481.

This blog post answered the question: "Where does trademark symbol go?"


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