USE of TM, SM, ® and international trademark protection

The assets of a company can be divided into two categories: tangible assets, including buildings, machinery, equipment, cash, etc., and intangible assets, which do not exist physically and are the result of the company's intellectual activity. If you want to start your business from scratch, one of the most important things to consider is how to protect the company's IP.

Intellectual property (IP) includes a wide range of assets (trademarks, patents, copyrights, trade secrets). Protecting intellectual property assets can have a critical impact in the context of ensuring the long-term success of a business. One of the options for protection is trademark registration.

The registration of trademark rights gives a company preferential rights to use the mark for commercial purposes in a specified geographical area. There is often confusion as to which trademark symbol to use ("™", "℠", "®"). All these aspects are explained in detail in the publication.

Registration and protection of trade marks

In the contemporary epoch, impalpable holdings have gained ascendancy over their corporeal equivalents as they furnish the groundwork for augmenting a firm's worth. Cerebral estate holdings (such as trademarks) can be sheltered by statute, and this safeguard can be upheld in tribunal. They are autonomously discernible, negotiable, and possess an economic tenure.

An important way to protect a brand is to formalise trade mark rights. The value of trade marks can be described as follows:

  1. Identification of products/services of a particular brand among many similar offerings.
  2. Creating a unique brand identity and increasing trust among consumers.
  3. Globalisation of trade increases the risk of counterfeiting, accordingly, registration of a TM gives its owner the right to legally prevent counterfeiting of its products and protect itself from unfair competition.
  4. It is one of the most stable business assets. TM registration provides protection for a long term, provided that the mark is used and the registration is renewed.

Upon formalization, a marque becomes an authoritative property of the corporation. It can subsequently be vended, accredited. A brandmark is a prized commercial holding as it certifies that your marque is singular and sets it apart from contenders in the marketplace. Granting a brandmark can be a potent tactical maneuver as it embodies a plausible origin of income for the entitlement bearer and can additionally aid in broadening your marque's influence into novel markets.

A symbol patent accord is a pact between the possessor of a symbol (licensor) and another entity (licensee). In symbol franchising, the possessor bestows another individual a circumscribed entitlement to utilize the emblem in reciprocity for royalties, whilst upholding possession. For instance, a privilege to enlist a symbol may be conveyed to another individual on an exclusive or non-exclusive footing.

Exclusive licence

Non-exclusive licence

A singular grant entails that the grantor can no longer confer grants for the intellectual property in query throughout the duration of the extant license pact. This empowers the licensee to be the solitary tertiary party who acquires the privilege to utilize the grantor's intellectual property.

A non-proprietary mark entitlement covenant permits the licensor to broaden the breadth of its symbol by bestowing entitlements to exploit the emblem to numerous licensees.

Grantees may be constrained to specific entitlements to exploit the symbol, such as territorial or sectoral constraints, restraints on avenues of commerce.

Stamp esteem can be utilized to ascertain the comprehensive worth of a firm in the instance of a consolidation or procurement. Scrutinizing the worth of a hallmark via its cerebral assets is a tactic for adjudicating upon myriad investment chances, formulating singular marketing schemes that will aid augment the hallmark portrayal. Accountable stamp stewardship and safeguarding are pivotal constituents of a thriving commercial ploy.

Differences between assignment and licensing of a trademark

The consignment of a tradename encompasses the conveyance of complete prerogatives to a enrolled tradename from one individual (or corporation) to another. In alternate expressions, consignment is the transference of proprietorship of a tradename from one entity to another. In turn, trademark franchising is a compact between the tradename possessor (grantor) and a tertiary party (lessee) that bestows upon the lessee specific prerogatives to utilize the TM. The tradename possessor (grantor) maintains ownership but bestows upon the lessee circumscribed prerogatives to utilize the mark in accordance with the stipulations of the compact.

Usually the assignment is a paid assignment, which allows for a large amount per sale, however, licensing allows for a long term revenue stream that, in the long run, may exceed the economic benefits of the sale.

Explaining the difference between "™", "℠", "®"

The glyphs "™", "℠" are employed for non-owning trademarks and the glyph "®"is employed for enrolled trademarks."TM"/"SM" are situated adjacent to a seal, brand designation, byword, any different promotional glyph and display that the hallmark is guarded. These glyphs accomplish two pivotal roles. They subsist to furnish "common observation" and to avert substandard imitations of your product/service.

Use of "™", "℠", "®"


A corporation may utilize the "™" emblem whenever it desires to articulate a trademark entitlement. You need not submit any documentation to acquire authorization to utilize it. The utilization of "™" may attract the notice of your rivals to the reality that your corporation regards this emblem as its trademark.

The "℠" emblem denotes a service mark. It resembles TM, but pertains to amenities instead of commodities.


Sanctioned for utilization subsequent to a credential of enrollment has been dispensed by the adept bureau of the relevant realm. The emblem "®" shall not be employed until the petition has been sanctioned. Furthermore, it may solely be employed for the wares/amenities enumerated in the Certificate of Enrollment.

The primary disparity amidst these emblems is that TM (Trademark) or SM (Service Mark) can be employed for emblems that are not formally enrolled, whereas the "®" symbol is employed solely for enrolled emblems. Despite TM/SM not being legally binding, it is plausible to procure a defense in the occurrence of litigation.

In many countries around the world, trade mark protection arises from actual use of a trade mark, even if it is not registered. If there is evidence of actual use of the mark in commerce or the provision of services under the mark, this can be used in court to protect your rights to it.

The exclusive right to a trade mark is usually valid for a period of 10 years, after which the right holder may extend this period for successive 10-year periods, provided that the owner continues to use the trade mark in commerce and renews its registration on time by paying the relevant fees.

Where to place the trademark symbol?

The trademark emblem is typically positioned in proximity to or adjacent to the appellation or emblem of the commodity or amenity it embodies.

  • Impressed substance. A sole commercial mark character employed in conjunction with the chief mark on impressed substance like pamphlets or concise pamphlets is satisfactory. In broader substances, it is preferable to employ the label (commercial mark character) at minimum once on every folio where the commercial mark surfaces.
  • Cyberspace substances. Should you employ your trade mark on the Internet, you ought to situate the commercial mark character at least once on every network folio where you employ your commercial mark.

When you accredit tertiary entities to utilize your insignias for promotion and vending intents, it is judicious to ensure that they employ the emblems fittingly (pursuing your branding tactics). One approach is to furnish all third party users with lucid directives regarding how to employ insignia emblems, like where to situate the mark, type size, hue, and fashion.

Use of the TM symbol

The use of the "™" symbol by a third party may create different legal consequences. A few general aspects that should be considered:

Notification of assertions of entitlements
The utilization of the TM emblem might be interpreted as an admonition that a specific corporation is asserting entitlements to a specific emblem as its hallmark. It might be a bid to caution other corporations against employing such an emblem, or at the very least to alert them against doing so. It might also be an effort to safeguard unofficial entitlements to the emblem.
Absence of enrollment
Should a hallmark remain unregistered, the utilization of TM could be rather elucidative and may not inevitably connote safeguarded trademark standing. However, in particular legal domains, bona fide utilization of a hallmark in trade might bestow specific entitlements despite the hallmark's non-registration.
Feasible Judicial Ramifications
If the MN symbol is utilized erroneously, the trademark proprietor may undertake legal actions to safeguard its entitlements. This might encompass dispatching admonitions to cease employing the emblem, initiating litigations, or implementing alternative actions.

Each jurisdiction has its own rules regarding the use of trademark symbols. If you have specific questions, contact YB Case's experts directly for personalised trademark protection advice.

How do I use TM, SM and ® in different countries?

The prerequisites for enrollment and utilization of proprietary marks fluctuate from nation to nation. The utilization of TM (trade mark) and SM (service mark) is more prevalent in Anglophone realms such as the United States and the United Kingdom. In these realms, these designations are frequently employed by enterprises to signify that a specific emblem is a trade or assistance emblem, notwithstanding its absence of patent protection.

In additional European nations, especially in continental Europe, it is customary to utilize alternative designations. For instance, in continental Europe, greater emphasis might be accorded to the enrollment of the emblem itself with the pertinent intellectual property bureau, and the utilization of the TM and SM symbols might not be as widespread.

Recruit the aid of adept jurists who possess expertise regarding the juridical facets of intellectual proprietary entitlement preservation on a jurisdiction-to-jurisdiction basis.

Trade mark protection abroad

In the maneuver of enterprise progression, hallmark enrollment is a pivotal stride to safeguard the marque and singular hallmarks. Marque effigy and discernment hold paramount significance, thus enterprises endeavor to fabricate and sustain a robust marque persona that articulates its principles, purpose, and the caliber of the merchandise/services you proffer. From comprehending the procedural phases of hallmark enrollment to acquiring hallmark credentials, each juncture necessitates a measured strategy and rigorous conformity to entrenched protocols.

There are myriad methods to safeguard trademarks overseas. The rarest approach is to lodge a territorial solicitation in every jurisdiction wherein safeguarding is to be acquired. This technique grants the entitlement possessor comprehensive safeguarding in the designated nations. However, it is equally dear and protracted.

Manufacturer proprietors intrigued in broadening their commerce can petition for global earmark enrollment to secure defense in numerous realms simultaneously. Trademark safeguard in a multitude of nations initiates with the submission of a sole international petition utilizing the Madrid system. The manufacturer proprietor can administer and revise the earmark centrally via the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), which renders the maneuver more opportune. Upon extending into fresh nations, the manufacturer proprietor can modify the enrollment via the Madrid system, which is more economical than submitting new petitions.


Supplementary global frameworks incorporate the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), which safeguards marks of commerce in all EU constituent entities through a solitary enrollment. The determination whether to utilize the Madrid Protocol, the territorial schema, or straight domestic submission relies on a corporation's distinctive aims and enlargement exigencies.

Diversified juridical quandaries and intricacies may emerge throughout the course of trademark enrollment, both domestically and globally. In such instances, juridical aids can prove to be priceless in circumventing commonplace errors and expediting the progression. The amenities of cerebral wealth barristers encompass counsel, aid in crafting manuscripts, and advocacy of your concerns afore intercontinental institutions.

In addition, professional assistance in trademark registration can significantly reduce the risk of refusal of registration due to non-compliance of the application with the requirements or infringement of third party rights. Experts will provide support at every stage of the process.

Development of a global trademark protection strategy

Developing a global trademark strategy aims not only to protect the brand, but also to ensure that the identity of the startup/company remains unchallenged in different markets. Such a strategy includes two key elements:

Identification of key markets for trade mark protection

The inaugural stride entails ascertaining which bazaars exhibit the most auspicious prospects and are consonant with business ambitions. This necessitates comprehensive market scrutiny to evaluate product or amenity requisites, burgeoning potential, and the rivalrous milieu.

Once target markets have been identified, the priority is to secure trade mark registrations in those regions. Factors such as market size, legal framework, consumer behaviour patterns, existing or potential commercial relationships may influence the identification of key markets.

Adaptation to local TM laws

The array of trademark statutes diverges significantly from nation to nation. Although global accords such as the Paris Convention and TRIPS aim for synchronization, the specifics of enrollment, implementation, and extent of safeguarding are regulated by indigenous statutes.

When developing strategies for protecting trademarks abroad, it is important to take into account jurisdictional differences in legal systems. It is advisable to engage specialists with specialised expertise to provide comprehensive support in the registration of trademarks abroad.

Trade mark infringement: legal remedies

If trademark infringement is established in court, the trademark owner is entitled to the following remedies:

  1. Recompense for detriments, comprising remuneration of a segment of the transgressor's gains that were procured as an outcome of the violation.
  2. Duty to obliterate all commodities, substances, and wares that transgress the petitioner's entitlements.
  3. Public avowal of the violation and repudiation of the entitlement to utilize the pertinent IP prerogatives.

Furthermore, there exist felonious transgressions for unauthorized utilization of brandmarks concerning commodities, entailing incarceration or a pecuniary penalty. The duly registered possessor of a commercial symbol can lodge a suit for brandmark encroachment. Brandmark lessees can likewise file suits if particular stipulations are fulfilled.

Vindication of a trademark encroachment accusation. A preliminary missive, alternatively termed a missive of assertion or desist-and-refrain missive, is a missive dispatched by one party to another beseeching the addressee to desist specific undertakings, such as trademark encroachment. The dispatcher, habitually the documented possessor of the TM (or its legal intermediary), delineates the foundation for the accusation, the entitlements asserted, the purported encroaching undertaking, and the redresses pursued. Frequently, the missive of assertion is accompanied by scripted pledges articulating what the addressee should or should not execute if they accede to them.

It is commendable to pursue jurisprudential counsel beforehand on how to safeguard the TM..


Firms engage with their patrons under a singular appellation so that patrons can discern commodities or amenities in the marketplace. In an epoch of marquetry acknowledgment and the vogue of digital technology, acquiring proprietary mark prerogatives precisely is a pivotal measure that not solely aids in retaining market participation, but can also facilitate commercial expansion.

Advantages of registering a trade mark:

  • Affords exclusive privileges to a insignia in a distinct geographical domain or in other locales where the insignia is documented.
  • Augments brand capital. Brand capital is the worth of a brand predicated on consumer impression, i.e. it is the sum of money consumers are eager to expend for your merchandise or provision predicated exclusively on its prestige.
  • A registered hallmark can serve as an ancillary reservoir of revenue. You can generate revenue from a hallmark by rendering it accessible for licensing or transaction.
  • Nurtures repute among patrons.
  • Through a universal enrollment with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), you can uphold the prerogative to utilize your brand or emblem anywhere globally.

Formalities and prerequisites for enrollment of trade symbols in diverse nations harbor specific disparities, hence it is imperative to adhere to the statutory statutes of the jurisdiction wherein you intend to enroll the TM.

YB Case specialists can furnish intricate counsel on cerebral wealth safeguarding, aid in the composition of paperwork for lodging a domestic or worldwide plea, and proffer backing in the enrollment of in Europe.

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