The use of trade mark symbols
Many brand owners can be confused as to whether they need or should use a symbol to indicate their trade mark. Some symbols can be used whether the mark is registered or not but be clear about what the symbol represents.
One of the most recognised symbol used to indicate marks is ®. It is not essential to use this symbol, but you can to show that your mark is registered. The mark does not have to be registered in the UK but it has to be registered as a trade mark in a country somewhere in the world. The normal position of this symbol is on the right hand side of the mark, slightly raised and normally in a smaller font. This is not compulsory but is largely recognised as the default position of the symbol. However, if the mark is not registered, the use of this symbol is illegal. Under section 95 of the Trade Marks Act 1994, the use of the registered symbol ® on a mark that is not registered anywhere in the world is prohibited.
Another symbol that is widely recognised is the ‘TM’ symbol. This differs from the ® as the mark does not have to be registered in any country as a trade mark to use the ‘TM’ mark. It just indicates that it is in use as a trade mark for a business. The ‘TM’ symbol has no legal impact in the UK therefore there is no sanction for use on an unregistered trade mark.
Be clear on the symbols you use and if you have any queries do not hesitate to contact trademarkroom
By Ellis Sweetenham