Where to Place a Trademark Sign on a Logo

By Lee Roberts

Logos convey brand information quickly, with or without text. It is vital that business owners choose an appropriate logo and then protect that logo with a trademark. State law and federal law control trademarks. Marks registered at the state level are valid only within that state, while marks registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office are valid in all 50 states.

Purpose

The trademark symbol informs anyone who sees it in conjunction with your logo that you, as the logo's owner, are asserting a right over a specific graphic. It defeats the purpose of displaying the symbol if you confuse the public about what you are claiming as your trademark. If you place the symbol within the graphic or where it cannot be distinguished easily from part of the design, you make it more difficult to protect your trademark.

Best Practice

The USPTO does not mandate a specific location for the trademark symbol. The most common location for the symbol is to the right of the logo, at the top or bottom, according to the International Trademark Association. The symbol should be immediately adjacent to the logo, regardless of which side you place the symbol. If you place the symbol where most people expect to find it, you increase the chances that the public and competitors will understand your intent to assert your claim to the logo.

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Symbol Types

If you are asserting a claim in a logo, whether you have started the application process to register your trademark or not, the USPTO regulations permit you to use the TM or SM symbol for trademark and service mark, respectively. You may only display the symbol of a registered trademark, an R within a circle, if you have duly registered your trademark with the USPTO. If your application is pending and not finalized, federal regulations do not allow you to display the registered trademark symbol.

Effect

Choosing to place a symbol next to your logo does not mean that you will prevail in a trademark dispute. Many other factors are involved in the successful prosecution of a trademark case. Placing the symbols may help to prevent other parties from using your design. If no one else uses your logo, you reap all the benefits of your trademark and avoid all of the ill effects of infringement without having to bring a lawsuit.

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How to Display Trademark Wording

References

Resources

Related articles

How to Apply for a Trademark

A trademark is a distinct design, symbol and/or phrase that distinguishes and identifies the services and goods of a company from other entities. Registering a trademark with United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) gives a business exclusive use of the mark. It also gives businesses the right to use the federal registration symbol for trademarks. The USPTO offers online registration of trademarks.

Enforcing A Trademark

Trademark law grants a monopoly on the use of a word, phrase, symbol or design that distinctively identifies a product used in commerce. You can protect your trademark locally by using it in commerce before anyone else does. You can protect it nationally by registering it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It is also possible to protect your trademark internationally. You are entitled to sue an infringing party and collect damages.

Trademark Vs. Logo

Logos distinguish your business from the competition. Trademarks ensure that you maintain exclusive rights to this highly identifiable feature of your company. Rather than being at odds with each other, trademark rights provide protection for your logo, and this protects both you and your customers.

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