One of the most common questions I get is about which symbol to use. Here is a handy cheat sheet I made:

  • ® – a.k.a “circle-R” – Registered trademark with the USPTO
  • TM – Unregistered mark, used with products and tangle items
  • SM – Unregistered service mark, used with services
  • © – Beginning of copyright notice (along with year of creating and author — see lower right corned of the above graphic for example); not necessarily registered with the Library of Congress (can use whether registered or not registered).

For more, see my video:


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  1. Pingback: Where to place your trademark symbol - TM, SM, or R | Erik M Pelton & Associates, PLLCErik M Pelton & Associates, PLLC

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