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

About Explanation of trademark symbols and their significance

Trademark symbols are a type of graphic symbol that indicates that any brand, logo, word, or design is officially registered or claimed. These symbols give the right of ownership in connection with specific goods or services, listed below are the main three trademark symbols: 

Symbol TM (™) represents “Trademark”, which means that a word, logo, phrase, or design is a trademark even if it’s not registered. Anyone can use ™ symbols freely to assert common law rights to a trademark.

Symbol R (®) represents “Registered Trademark”, only those trademarks that are officially registered can use this symbol. This symbol indicates that the trademark has been officially registered with the appropriate trademark office. 

Symbol C (©) represents “copyright”, this symbol protects works that are original or creative like music, books, artwork, and software. This symbol indicates that the work belongs to the copyright holder who is the owner of the work. 

Read More: How to Register Trademark in India

Trademark symbols are very important, it’s key significance is mentioned below: 

Claimed notice: the key significance of the trademark symbol is that it acts as a notice of claim that the mark is in use and has trademark ownership. It also gives notice by alerting others that a specific trademark cannot be used without its owner’s permission. 

Protection from infringement: a trademark symbol has the significance to discourage infringers from usage of the mark without authorization. It gives a signal that the marks are under law and hence its unauthorized usage can lead to legal action. 

Brand/ International recognition: trademark helps in building brand recognition as well as international recognition of a product, service, or company. Trademark symbols have a universal significance as it’s universally recognized and understood. 

Meaning and usage of TM, ™, R, ®, C, © symbols

Understanding trademark protection

Trademark protection can be understood simply as they are the legal rights that are granted by the official trademark authority to the owners of trademarks which can help them in protecting their marks from getting used by other similar products. This trademark helps in distinguishing the source of goods and services from that of others. 

Trademark protection has many different purposes: 

Brand recognition: trademark helps in the identification of the brand in order to create a unique identity that can help consumers in recognition of their products or services. It also helps in building trust and loyalty among customers and hence improves brand identification power. 

Usage rights: trademark protection helps an owner in enjoying exclusive rights to use the mark with their specific goods or services. It gives the owner rights in preventing other similar products from using the mark and in case some identical products and services start using the similar mark, the owner has the right to take legal action against the usage of their mark. 

Avoiding confusion: Trademarks help in avoiding confusion among the brands hence protecting the consumers from getting confused among similar products and services. This also helps the customers in knowing the origin or the quality of the products they are using. 

Proper usage of trademark symbols

There are many different types of trademark symbols like ™, ®, ©, and SM hence proper usage is very important. Mentioned below are the proper ways of using trademark symbols: 

  • A trademark or ™ symbol indicates a word, phrase, or logo is being used as a trademark or service mark. One can place it after the specific trademark without any space. 
  • A registered trademark or ® symbol indicates that a word, phrase, or logo is a legal symbol that is being registered officially under the appropriate trademark office. One can use the ® symbol after any specific trademark without using space. This ® symbol indicates that the product, service, or brand is an officially registered entity. 
  • SM symbol means service mark which simply indicates that a word, phrase, or logo that is being used is a service mark. Server mark only represents services not products, hence it’s not used with products. The SM symbol can be used without placing any spaces. 

Read More: What is Trademark?

Trademark ownership and rights

It’s important to have trademark ownership and rights in order to establish, protect and maintain brand identity and consumer trust in the market. Trademark ownership and rights are interrelated with each other, once an individual is granted trademark ownership, the individual or organization is. Trademark ownership is given to an individual through a registration process by filling out an application form, paying the fee, and meeting requirements that are required in the relevant jurisdiction. An appropriate intellectual property office is responsible for providing trademark ownership. 

Trademark ownership gives the power, protection, and ability to the mark in getting used unauthorisedly. This ownership gives rights to the individuals to take legal action against those who are using their mark which is confusing the customers and affecting their brand reputation. 

Trademark ownership can also be transferred through trademark transfer procedures to others. Trademarks can be even owned by multiple parties and hence rights can be enjoyed in a co-ownership agreement. 


Trademark symbols are used for enhancing brand identity and protecting the products or services from getting unauthorisedly used. Trademark symbols have a number of benefits like brand recognition power, product origin, and quality indicators, helping customers from getting confused and more. The usage of trademark symbols can easily help a business or individual in gaining popularity and reputation in the market.


What are the commonly used Trademark symbols? 

How does a Trademark symbol help in avoiding confusion? 

What are the main purposes of the Trademark symbols?

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