Congratulations! You are thinking about protecting a unique name or symbol as a trademark to distinguish your brand. There are two important symbols used to identify trademarks. Do you recognise the ™ or ® symbols from popular logos? Once you have a registered trademark, it is important to know what is the correct symbol to use, why the symbols are used and how to use them correctly.

Which Symbol should I use, ™ or ®?

The ™ Symbol is used when a business intends to claim a trademark. This symbol can be utilised by anyone. If you are yet to register your trademark or file the paperwork, this symbol can be used to put competitors and consumers on notice that your business considers your mark a trademark. This symbol is characteristic of the intention to register a trademark and is also used while your trademark is being processed by IP Australia.

The ™ symbol may or may not stand up in court should a trademark dispute arise; it can be a costly process disputed through common law, as the mark is not registered. It can show that you are prepared to defend the trademark in an event that the mark is disputed.

The ® symbol can only be used once a trademark is granted to your mark and you have received a registration certificate from IP Australia.

The ™ symbol is used as a precursor to using the ® symbol.

Why Use Symbols?

The use of the ™ or ® symbol is not required to consolidate your trademark but can be used to show others that your IP must be respected. Marketers may find that the symbol takes away from the aesthetic of the trademark, whether this is on the packaging or advertising material, however, there are advantages that the use of a trade mark symbol creates outweighs this small disadvantage.

Symbols are used to put competitors and consumers on notice that you have a trademark. This can serve as an important notification to potential infringers that a mark is registered.
In the event of disputing a trademark, it can be important to show that you have displayed the ® symbol, putting competition on notice of the rights by having a registered trademark. Often damages for trademark infringement commence once notice is given.
The use of an ® can communicate to the potential future infringer to tread with caution.

How to Insert a Symbol Correctly

If you choose to display a symbol, it is important to use the correct symbol. When using your trademark, whether it is a ™ or ®, place it prominently on your mark name or logo. It is typically placed on the upper right-hand side of the name, word or logo. It is important to display the symbol next to your trademark for each use to ensure it is seen by competitors.

How to Use Symbols Legally and Correctly

Is your trademark used internationally? Perhaps you export goods overseas that display your domestic packaging. In this case, you may be misusing your trademark. Incorrect packaging – even without intent – can result in fines or competition claims for deceptive conduct by competitors.

False marketing claims are taken seriously in certain countries such as China, Germany, India and Japan. Mark owners must ensure any international trading is marketed appropriately. As a business looking to distribute internationally, you will need to think about registering your domestic trademark in the new country you plan on emerging into. This legal risk poses a challenge to companies with new products and multiple brands that can be exposed internationally.

Key Takeaways

In these instances, using the ® symbol may be risky and it may be required to be removed from export products to ensure misleading advertising or infringement does not occur.

Whether your business is trading with a trademark domestically or internationally, it is important to consider displaying a ™ or ® symbol correctly to maximise brand protection and differentiate your brand from competitors.

For a fixed-fee quote on any trademarking services, get in touch with LegalVision at 1300 544 755.

Sophie Glover

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