Intellectual PropertyTrademarks

Difference between TM and R Symbols

Confusion around various elements of trademarks abound. Queries such as whether you can use a particular mark and whether you need to file an application to register a trademark are common. One area of confusion lies around the TM and R symbols, what they represent, and why and when you should use them. 

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Introduction: Difference Between TM and R Symbol

To intimate the fact that a particular mark is an intellectual property of someone else, two types of symbols are used: ‘™’ and ‘®’.  In India, there is no obligation to use the ® or ™ symbols along with your trademarks in order to actually claim or secure the rights for the same. The Paris Convention also expresses the same in Article 5. Despite the fact that the use of trademarks symbols is not mandatory, it is recommended as it warns infringers.

 Applied Trademark Symbol: ‘™’

When a trademark registration application is successfully filed with IP India in India, the owner of the mark can use the symbol next to his or her mark. It serves as a warning to infringers by indicating that trademark registration for a specific trademark is already under process. Companies may use the trademark superscript, TM, after text, images, or other information that they claim is theirs but has not been properly registered with a regulatory authority. Businesses will occasionally use TM to signify that it is their first use or that they have sought for registration. From a business standpoint, it implies that the person selling a product or service believes it has a distinct identity.

Registered Trademark Symbol: ‘®’

The R sign indicates that the trademark has been registered successfully with the Indian Trademarks Registry. Once a trademark is registered, the owner of the mark has the exclusive right to use it to represent his or her goods or services. No one else would be able to use the mark without the trademark owner’s permission or license. As a result, the ® symbol alerts others to the fact that the trademark has been registered.

This symbol indicates that the logo is protected by the Trademarks Act of 1999. Trademark registrations have a ten-year validity period, with the option to extend it through the renewal process. A person or business may be charged with trademark infringement if they use the registered name, logo, or symbol without the owner’s permission.


Key Differences: TM and R Symbols

Both these symbols have different implications and convey different meanings in terms of:


  • Both the symbols have relevance at different stages of the trademark application. After successfully registering the business’s trademark, the ® sign can be used.
  • The TM symbol, on the other hand, might be used when a trademark is pending registration for a specific product or service.

2. Legalities

  • The trademark sign TM has no legal standing or protection. In the event that the TM mark is duplicated by someone else, it is legally protected and punished.
  • The ® mark is legally protected and punishable in case of being copied by someone else.

3. Branding purpose and value

  • While waiting for the procedure to complete, the TM symbol is typically a preference for the brand identification of the specific firm, group, or individual.
  • Using the ® sign to sell your product or service will provide you with the assurance that you can leverage your intellectual property to generate strong brand equity.


Regardless of whether your mark is a word or a graphic mark, the TM and ® symbols can be utilized as a visual element alongside it. The mark is commonly put on the top right or bottom right corners, though there is no set positioning. Some brands, however, do not always adhere to this rule. 

Because the top right-hand corner is already claimed by Celio’s trademark red dot, firms like Celio have little choice but to move the symbol elsewhere. Overall, there are no limitations on the placement of the ® symbol once you complete the trademark registration in India.

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