Should I Use The ™ ® or © For My Business?

Small Business

Video Notes & Links

On this edition of Google My Business, we’re joined by Erica DiAngelo of DiAngelo Law.

DiAngelo Law focuses on intellectual property and contract law in Tampa, Florida. Her firm is well-versed in all areas of business law, and has a special passion for helping clients in the tech industry.

This week Erica joins us to discuss the most common symbols seen next to logos and phrases in business. We’ve seen them before; the ™ ® and ©

We see them all the time but do we really know what they mean?

Follow along as we break these symbols down and see whether or not your business is using the right ones.

Which Symbol is Right For My Business?


To start, the ™ logo, most commonly known as the TradeMark icon is used when wanting to claim ownership over a logo or word. The thing with this icon is that you can you can freely use it without actually having the trademark registration in place as long as no one else who already has the ™ mark has it registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office for their logo or branded words.


The next icon may not be as familiar as the others but it does exist. If your offer is a service, you’re able to use the  (SM) icon to claim ownership over your business. The (SM) functions in the same way the ™ icon does. If your business offers a combination of products and services, it’s best to stick to the ™ icon. The (SM) icon identifies your business as one that strictly offers services.


The ® means that your trademarked item, whether it be a logo or a phrase, is actually registered. This is the strongest symbol of ownership you’re able to use for your brand. This icon can only be used if your brand is registered.


If you are using the incorrect icon, there is a legal argument that you may not have all the same rights if an entrenchment case regarding your ownership were to come up.


Make sure you take the time to understand the right icon for your ownership.



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