Trademark vs registered trademark: What’s the difference?
We develop logos, taglines and brand standards for our clients. Along the way, we’ve occasionally been asked about trademarks and the difference between trademark symbols. Here’s a brief overview.
Trademarks protect brand names and logos.
The registered trademark symbol ® signifies that a brand name or logo is a trademark or service mark that has been officially registered with the federal trademark office.
The most important thing to know is that you can not use the registered trademark symbol ® until you have officially registered with the trademark office.
The logo that we created for Waste Management, below, uses the registered trademark symbol.
Alternatively you can use the trademark (TM) symbol. The TM symbol can be used whenever you wish to claim a trademark for your brand name or logo without officially registering with the trademark office.
The logo we created for TakeawayTee Foundation, below, uses the TM symbol.
You can find further information and a more detailed explanation from the US Patent & Trademark Office here: http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-getting-started/trademark-basics
One last point: Don’t confuse copyrights with trademarks. The copyright symbol © is not the same as a trademark. The copyright symbol is intended to protect original works (artistic work, literary work, songs, movies, etc). The US Patent & Trademark Office explains it well: http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-getting-started/trademark-basics/trademark-patent-or-copyright