Is trademark marking essential?
Get Legal Help Today
Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.
We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.
Trademark marking is a way to give the public notice of your ownership. In formal terms, “marking” refers to the use of commonly recognized or statutorily created designations that identify a word, logo, graphic or slogan as a trademark. This is the letter “R” or “TM” you see after certain words or logos (trademark) on products.
Reasons to Use Trademark Marking
Because a trademark owner’s rights can be infringed on by unauthorized use, it is important to register and give notice of this ownership. Additionally, if a mark is widely used, authorized or not, it is subject to dilution. This means it becomes something of common use and the owner loses his or her right to enforce the mark. Marking helps protect this right and the owner’s right to any potential monetary damages from an infringement lawsuit.
Marking also helps to distinguish the mark from other text or graphics on the associated product. When multiple trademarks appear in advertising or promotional materials, it helps distinguish one from the other. It can also be an ad unto itself, helping the public associate the mark with its owner and the owner’s product or service.
Types of Marks
Some marks that you may be familiar with are “TM” and “SM.” The first describes a trademark, which is usually associated with a product, like Coca Cola. The letters “SM” stand for service mark and are associated with service related businesses, like Roto Rooter. Another widely used trademark mark is the use of the ® symbol, which lets the public know that the mark is registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”).
Having a trademark registered means it is searchable by other potential registrants looking to make sure their trademarks are not already being used. It is a type of notice and gives the owner additional legal support in the event of a lawsuit. If you think your mark has been infringed, consult an intellectual property lawyer. To learn more about using marks, see the USPTO website www.uspto.gov.