What is the difference between ® and ™ symbols?

Photo of Igor Demcak

Written by Igor Demcak

Founder & Trademark Attorney

The symbol ® stands for a registered trademark, i.e., a trademark that has been officially registered with an intellectual property office. In most countries, it can only be used after the registration process has been completed.

The use of the ™ symbol is less constrained. There's no requirement you have to meet to start using it, but typically, it is used by entrepreneurs to signal their intent to get a registered trademark. Often marks denoted with the ™ symbol will undergo the registration process at that point in time. As the process can take several months, this marking allows brand owners to make potential copycats know they are currently working towards proper legal protection for their business.

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