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What Is the Difference Between TM (Trademark), R (Registered), and C (Copyright)?

Trademark (™)

TM is used to signify common-law rights in a trademark pursuant to the Lanham Act. Thus, those who have not yet registered their brand name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) should list a ™ instead of a R. The same goes for those applications submitted but not yet accepted. TM is typically used to protect an unregistered mark by alerting potential infringers that a term, slogan, logo or other indicator is being claimed as a trademark. However, the use of TM does not guarantee the owner’s mark will be protected under trademark law. To succeed in a common-law infringement action under the Lanham Act, the trademark owner must prove: 1)  s/he was the first to use the trademark and 2) the infringing party’s use of the trademark confuses the public from distinguishing the goods’ source.

Registered ®

The R symbol denotes a trademark which has been registered with the USPTO. The use of the symbol may only occur after the USPTO registers the mark. Registering your trademark gives you superior rights over others in the U.S. to use your trademark in your industry, and it provides you the ability to obtain treble damages against infringers. Not only will a registered trademark deter imitators, it also provides you with a heavy presumption of ownership in the courts. Because a registered trademark is much more preferable over an unregistered trademark, take a look at this past answer to gain further insight on how to register a Trademark

Copyright ©

The “C” with a circle around the letter, or the use of the word “copyright,” gives notice to the public that the work is copyrighted and that you own the work. However, the C symbol is no longer required to protect your work as it’s automatically protected when the work is created. To learn some more on copyrights, check out Stanford University’s amazing Copyright and Fair Use Center.

Have more questions? Feel free to visit LawTrades.

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1 Comment

  • hiimruju
    Inquiry for patent procedure I would like to get more information regarding patent filing for an improvement idea of product. A brief about product improvement idea: # A product X already exist in particular industrial domain. It functions in a particular fashion in that domain. Any variation in its style/way of functioning neither have been seen across. If an idea is to give/fit some attachment to it, so that it can function in some different way as well i.e. for example, instead of working as stationary mode, change its orientation/give motion etc.. This helps in many ways. The change of style/orientations give some advantage of increase in product life, efficiency etc. Can it be termed as improvement of product X? # Product X sometimes work as a part of a system. System consists of many other equipment/accessories also. Product X itself does not come with said accessories. Accessory fitted/built in into it can enable it to do different function which it normally doesn't do in normal field of application. So can this be termed as improvement of product X? # Suppose a similar product exist in different industrial domain (chances of which I assume is rare as, would it had existed, it would have been implemented in this domain also). In that case, will patent filling for product improvement ideas of Product X in this industrial domain still exist?

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