Registered trademark symbols: Types, differences and uses

Registered trademark symbols

Although we are used to seeing these symbols everywhere, we have noticed that most people do not have a clear knowledge of their different uses and applications. What’s more, they don’t know how to write them. 

This is why we have created this brief guide, to avoid misunderstandings and above all so that you can learn how to write and use the Trademark™, Registered Trademark ® and Copyright©.

NOTE: If you end up having trouble writing these symbols, we advise you to simply copy them from this page. The best way to have them always at hand is to bookmark this article.

How to write the registered trademark and copyright symbols ™ ℠ ® and ©

Depending on the system you are using (Windows or Mac), there are some keyboard shortcuts or symbology that you can quickly access to obtain the different symbols.

For instance, in Windows, the keyboard shortcuts are as follows:

  • Alt + 0153 for the trademark symbol ™
  • Alt + 0174 for the registered trademark symbol ®
  • Alt + 0169 for the copyright symbol ©

On the other hand, when using Microsoft Office, you can either write the symbols with parenthesis: (c), (tm), (r) and autocorrect will automatically modify them, or go to the “Insert - Symbol” menu option and select them from there. 

With a Mac, the best way to obtain those symbols is to type the following:

  • Option + 2 for the trademark symbol ™
  • Option + R for the registered trademark symbol ®
  • Option + C for the copyright symbol ©

How to write the service mark symbol ℠?

It is a special character and although it is recognized by all word processing tools, it’s not obtained the same way in all of them. As we explained above, in Microsoft Office it can be inserted from the “Insert - Symbols” menu.

However, if you want to use the SM symbol in a browser, the best way to obtain it quickly is using the HTML code “℠”. 

What are the differences between the TM, SM, R, C and P symbols?

Now that we know how to type them, let us see what each of these symbols protects. It is important to clarify that these symbols do not provide IP rights protection, but are merely informative.

Keeping this in mind, let us delve into the specificities of each symbol:

The TM ™ symbol (and SM ℠)

TM (Trade Mark) is a symbol used to indicate to consumers and competitors that one is claiming a trademark and that it is in use (for products), regardless of whether the trademark is registered officially before a trademarks office.

A similar concept to the ™ symbol is the SM symbol, but the SM one is used for trademarks that protect services only. 
Those symbols are only valid in the countries where trademark ownership and protection of a mark is granted to the one who first uses it (and not to the one who first registers it).

An example of a mark that uses ™ with its logo is Starbucks.

The R ® symbol

This symbol is reserved for registered trademarks, protecting both goods and services. 

For this reason, you can use this symbol with your trademark when you have an official certificate of registration of the trademark in the country where you are using the mark with the ® symbol. In some countries, if you use the ® symbol without the mark being duly registered, you expose yourself to legal actions. 

Examples of brands using this symbol are McDonald’s and Adidas.

The C © symbol

The copyright symbol is used to warn the public that the (non-audio) work is original and cannot be reproduced without its author’s consent, due to the legal and moral rights that law grants its owner for its creation. 

It is a widely recognized symbol all over the world, yet since the Berne convention it is no longer necessary to use the symbol to obtain protection.

In the European Union, for instance, the author’s rights expire 70 years after the death of a work’s author.

The P ℗ symbol

The ℗ symbol is used to notify of a copyright over audio works. Its name comes from “Phonogram”.

Where to place the registered trademark symbols and when to use them? 

There is no specific rule regulating the placement of the different symbols. However, the common usage is to place them in the top right corner of the trademark name or logo, or at the same height to the right of it. 

Finally, we would like to remind you that the use of the ® symbol is appropriate only when a trademark has been officially registered; it is not valid before this. For this reason, we must not include the registered trademark symbol ® before our trademark has been registered.

In case you include the symbol in the trademark application (without waiting for it to be approved), the trademarks office could issue an objection to the application, considering that you do not comply with the registration requirements.

We hope this information has been useful to you. If you have any doubts, please write to us. We would be delighted to help you!

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