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Trademark Symbols & its meanings | TM-™, R-® & C-© Symbols


Introduction to the IP Symbols (®, ™, ©)

We often encounter various signs and symbols in our daily life like ®, ™, ©. Usually, people relate them with some legal and business compliances but don’t actually know what exactly they are and what the difference between them is. Let us have a look at the meanings of these symbols and their use cases. It will be helpful to know about these Intellectual Property Symbols for those who hold any kind of intellectual property and are willing to register it as a trademark or copyright.

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™ - TM Symbol

The TM symbol is also known as the trademark Symbol. It is represented by the letters TM written in superscript - ™. The Trademark or TM Symbol is used to indicate that the owner has filed the trademark application and the application is in process. It can be at any stage. The purpose of a Trademark Symbol is solely to avoid confusion and prevent others from unknowingly infringing the rights of the business. It is not necessary to use this mark with your business name. The applicant of a trademark can decide whether he wishes to attach TM Mark (™) with his name or not.

® - R Symbol

The R symbol is also known as the registered trademark symbol. It is represented by the letter R written in a circle - ®. The trademark owners use it to indicate that they have successfully registered the trademark. The R Copyright Symbol (®) means that the trademark application is accepted by the Trademark registry and is not in process now. When the trademark application is in process and not yet completed then the applicant cannot use the R Symbol (®) with his brand name. It must only be used after finally receiving the trademark registration.

© - C Symbol (©)

The C Symbol is also known as the Copyright Symbol. It is represented by the letter C in a circle - ©. Businesses as well as individuals can use this symbol as it is not relating to any kind of trade. The C Symbol (©) represents the copyrighted content. This content can be anything including an article, song, painting, or website. You must have noticed this symbol at the bottom of most websites with the name of the owner and the year. The Copyright Symbol (©) indicates that such property belongs to the original owner and you have no right to reproduce that content or any part of it under your name or even under the name of the original owner without his permission.

As long as copyright law is concerned, you receive the copyright on any content that you create originally. It should be original and should not contain any part of already copyrighted content. Indian law provides copyright to the original creator for the whole of his lifespan and additional sixty years. The Copyright Symbol (©) is also for awareness purposes and not mandatory to use by any law.

℠ - SM Symbol

The SM Symbol is also known as the Service Mark Symbol. It is represented by the letters SM written in superscript - ℠. This is just a variant of the trademark that is provided for the services. The TM Symbol (™) is used mainly for goods while the SM Symbol (℠) is used for services. The trademarks are provided in various classes from Class 1 to Class 45. Among these, the trademarks provided under Class 35 to Class 45 are for the services and these trademarks owners can use the SM Symbol (℠) along with their mark. While the TM Symbol (™) can be used for any goods or services mark.

Difference Between TM and R Symbol

The trademark process is lengthy and complicated. At the start we need to apply for the trademark, then the Registrar of Trademarks examines the mark, then it gets published for opposition and finally granted to the applicant. If anybody opposes the trademark application the process goes even longer. For all this time, the applicant can use the TM Symbol (™) with his brand name which means that the applicant claims his right over the mark but the application is still pending. Once all processes get finished, he can use the R Copyright Symbol (®) with his brand name. Otherwise using the R Symbol is not allowed and may result in penalties.

How to Write Registered Trademarks and Copyright Symbols?

If you are using a physical keyboard, you may have come across the problem of typing the registered trademark symbol and the copyright symbol. In the virtual keyboard, we get options to choose from various signs and these trademark and copyright symbols are available there but on the physical keyboard, you need to use the Alt codes to enter these symbols. The Alt code for the registered trademark symbol and Alt code for the copyright symbol are as follows-

Sr. No. Symbol Alt Code Result
1 Trademark Symbol Alt + 0153
2 Registered Trademark Symbol Alt + 0174 ®
3 Copyright Symbol Alt + 0169 ©

How to Use Trademark and Copyright Symbols?

Now that you have figured out which symbol has what purpose and when to use them, you may need to know how to correctly use them. The TM or Trademark Symbol can be used on the upper right corner of your mark just like the superscript. For example, if your word mark is ‘Benjamin’ then you can use the TM symbol as - Benjamin™. The same goes for the Registered Trademark Symbol (R Symbol) and the Service Mark Symbol (SM Symbol). For example, if your brand name is ‘Benjamin’ then you can use the SM and R symbol as - Benjamin® and Benjamin℠.

Copyright Symbols are often used at the bottom of your work. It is accompanied by the name of the owner and the year. The year depends on the nature of your work. For static works, you should use the year in which that work is published. Some examples of this kind of work are books, songs etc. While on the other hand, for websites and blogs that are updated regularly, you should use a range from the year such website or blog was published to the year in which it was last updated. For example, if a website is owned by Optimist Publishing House and it has published content on this website from 2018 to 2023 then the marking should be like this - © 2018-2023 Optimist Publishing House.


The different symbols are adopted to serve specific purposes. The major purpose of these symbols is to make people aware of the fact that you claim some kind of right on these marks. Which abstains them from using the same mark for their product or service. You can also check a list of all existing trademarks on the Trademark Public Search along with the marks for which applications are pending. These symbols provide security for the mark owner and help in brand recognition. Many countries take part in world conventions where such issues are discussed and a generalized standard is drafted which all the countries agree to follow. This is how things get simplified and we get to use the same symbol on a global level.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not corpseed, and have not been evaluated by corpseed for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.


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Yash Chauhan is a law graduate from the University of Delhi and a skilled content writer at Corpseed. With a keen interest in the legal industry, he specializes in writing articles on contemporary legal developments, corporate compliances,...

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