What the Heck is Up With All the Little ™ Trademark Symbols

by Kathy Dannel Vitcak 3 min read

Trademarking 101

Have you ever read an article or been to a website and it seemed like every other word had a trademark symbol (™) riding along like a tacky little caboose? I admit to having it be one of those things that bugs me (Am I weird? Don’t answer that). The overuse of the ™ seemed like a pretentious little flag waving at the end of a word, whispering, “Look how cool I am, my words need to be PROTECTED.” A few months ago, when I first applied for the trademarks, I spoke to an attorney about trademarking the terms Nose Butter™, Paw Butter™, etc. and was told that I need to add that little ™ every single time I use the terms to secure the start of the”protection” process.

Trademarking is one of those processes that feels like buying a used car, in an alley, behind an adult movie theater…well, to me it feels that way, no offense to all the hard-working trademark attorneys out there. It is a convoluted, confusing process and one I hope goes smoothly. Ten years ago, when I first started making and selling Nose Butter™ it never occurred to me to actually trademark anything. When I DID think of it, I never seemed to want to spend the money (there were shoes to be purchased and Apple kept coming out with cool stuff that demanded my disposal income). Luckily I did start the process a few months ago!

In a nutshell, you start by trademarking and then move onto getting a registered name so the ™ becomes ®. WHEW!

So, if you see a plethora of little ™ symbols dancing around and wonder if I just discovered how to create the ™ symbol (option/2 on a Mac) or just befriended a trademark attorney, well, neither and both! Just making sure the term Nose Butter™ is protected. So, if you see others using the phrase Nose Butter™ you know that The Blissful Dog HAS taken the steps to secure the name legally. Below is info from the Patent Website.

Trademark, Patent, or Copyright?

trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.  A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. The term “trademark” is often used to refer to both trademarks and service marks.

Must all marks be registered?  No, but federal registration has several advantages, including a notice to the public of the registrant’s claim of ownership of the mark, a legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and the exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods or services set forth in the registration.  

patent is a limited duration property right relating to an invention, granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in exchange for public disclosure of the invention.

A copyright protects works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed

The Trademark Operation of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) handles trademarks only.  For information on patents, please visit Patents or contact 800-786-9199.  For information on copyrights, please contact theU.S. Copyright Office (a division of the Library of Congress).

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