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How to Use Intellectual Property Right Symbols

6 November 2019

There are a number of different symbols that can be associated with trade marks and other intellectual property rights.

While it is not strictly necessary to use the symbols to claim intellectual property rights, the symbols are widely recognised and serve as a warning or notification to others that an IP right claim exists.

In this post we explore some of the common and lesser-known symbols that can be used to indicate intellectual property rights.

How to type the IP Right Symbols

Each of the IP Right symbols can be represented in HTML, CSS or Unicode. By default, Microsoft Office also supports some autocorrect replacements and keyboard shortcuts for common intellectual property right symbols.

The ® Symbol

The ® symbol stands for Registered Trade Mark.

When can the Registered Trade Mark Symbol be used?

The Registered Trade Mark symbol should only be used to indicate a registered trade mark - ie a trade mark that has been formally registered with a government intellectual property office. A common mistake is to apply the ® symbol to all branding materials - even if the business does not hold a registered trade mark.

The Registered Trade Mark symbol should not be used for unregistered trade marks as this may be an offence in some jurisdictions.

In Australia, the use of the ® symbol for unregistered trade marks may also constitute misleading and deceptive conduct under the Australian Consumer Law, as using the ® symbol conveys an implied representation that the trade mark is registered. It is also an offence under the Trade Marks Act to falsely represent that a trade mark is registered.

Where a trade mark is used in multiple jurisdictions, such as on a website, it may be necessary to use the ™ symbol instead of the ® symbol to avoid the risk of confusion. Otherwise, a clarification may need to be provided, such as a reference to the trade mark number and jurisdiction(s) where the trade mark is registered.

Care should also be taken when using the Registered Trade Mark symbol with different kinds of trade marks. For example, a word trade mark is not the same as a logo or device trade mark. And one logo is not the same as a different logo. If a trade mark owner has registered a word trade mark, it would be incorrect to use the Registered Trade Mark symbol next to a logo. As well, if a trade mark owner has registered a logo as a trade mark, it would be incorrect to use the Registered Trade Mark symbol next to a plain-text representation of the words contained in the logo.

How to type the Registered Trade Mark (®) Symbol

Symbol ®
Meaning Registered Trade Mark
HTML ®
®
CSS \00AE
MS Office (R)
Ctrl+Alt+R
Unicode 00AE

The ™ Symbol

The ™ symbol stands for Trade Mark.

When can the Trade Mark Symbol be used?

The Trade Mark symbol can be used to indicate a registered trade mark or unregistered trade mark.

Frequently, the Trade Mark symbol is used where a person wants to assert a proprietary claim over a trade mark or indicate that they are in the process of applying for registration of the trade mark.

Some traders may choose to use the Trade Mark symbol in connection with temporary brands or slogans, for example, in relation to a slogan or tagline used for a temporary promotion or advertising campaign.

In some cases, the Trade Mark (or Registered Trade Mark) symbol can be used to acknowledge a third party's trade mark rights. For example, if a business advertises the products of a third-party or wishes to indicate that their products are ‘compatible’ with those of a third party, the reference to the third party's trade mark may be indicated with the Trade Mark (or Registered Trade Mark) symbol. It may also be necessary to provide clarification or a disclaimer to identify the owner of the third-party trade mark and to dissociate the user with that trade mark.

How to type the Trade Mark (™) Symbol

Symbol
Meaning Trade Mark
HTML ™
™
CSS \2122
MS Office (TM)
Ctrl+Alt+T
Unicode 2122

The ℠ Symbol

The ℠ symbol stands for Service Mark.

When can the Service Mark Symbol be used?

The Service Mark symbol is not widely used in Australia, but it can be used to indicate a registered or unregistered trade mark that is used exclusively in respect of services, rather than in respect of goods.

For example, if a business provides professional services to clients, they might choose to use the Service Mark symbol in connection with their branding.

How to type the Service Mark (℠) Symbol

Symbol
Meaning Service Mark
HTML ℠
CSS \2120
MS Office -
Unicode 2120

The © symbol

The © symbol stands for Copyright.

When can the Copyright Symbol be used?

The copyright symbol is commonly used with creative works that are subject to copyright protection and often appears as part of a Copyright Notice.

How to type the Copyright (©) Symbol

Symbol ©
Meaning Copyright
HTML ©
©
CSS \00A9
MS Office (C)
Ctrl+Alt+C
Unicode 00A9

The ℗ Symbol

The ℗ symbol stands for Phonographic Right.

When can the Phonographic Right Symbol be used?

This symbol is used to indicate a claim of copyright in a sound recording. It is normally found on recorded audio media such as CDs, DVDs and records. Often the ℗ symbol is used in conjunction with the more familiar © symbol.

How to type the Phonographic Right (℗) Symbol

Symbol
Meaning Phonographic Right
HTML ℗
CSS \2117
MS Office -
Unicode 2117

Can we help?

Xuveo Legal provides advice in relation to intellectual property matters, including trade mark and copyright protection. Contact us today to see how we can help protect your IP.

This post is intended for general information only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should obtain appropriate professional advice for your circumstances or contact us for further assistance.

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