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Difference between TM[™]  and R[®] symbol in Trademark

TM [™ ]VS R  [®]. – What’s the Difference?

A trademark is a unique symbol or phrase that identifies and distinguishes the products or services of a particular business from those of its competitors. A Trademark is a significant intellectual property for its holder but still, it’s a topic of confusion amongst many. Every trademark holder uses either ™ or [®] symbol with their trademarks which gives the idea about the status of the trademark registration.

Many people have an ideology that both these symbols are interchangeable but there is quite a bit of difference between these two. Both symbols have relevance at different stages of trademark application. Using these symbols with your trademark isn’t mandatory but it is advisable as it warns and prevents infringement of the trademark.

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What does the TM [™ ] symbol mean?

The TM symbol denotes an unregistered trademark and is often used by companies to indicate ownership over their intellectual property. It can be used to brand products when a trademark application is in the trademark registration process but has not yet been registered with a regulatory authority.
The TM symbol does not provide the same level of legal protection and trademark benefits as provided by a registered trademark symbol (®).  Companies may use the trademark superscript, ™, after text, pictures, or other content they claim as their own but have not been formally registered with a regulatory authority. ™ symbol is also used to indicate the first usage.

What does the R  [®] symbol mean?

The R symbol on a product indicates that the trademark has been successfully registered with the relevant trademark authority i.e.Indian Trademarks Registry. The trademark owner has exclusive access to trademark benefits and the exclusive right to use it to represent their goods or services, and the use of the same by any third party without necessary approvals may lead to trademark infringement. The registration of a trademark is valid for 10 years from the date of registration, after which it can be renewed for another 10 years. The trademark owner can renew the registration before the expiry of the 10-year period to ensure that the trademark remains valid and protected.

Key differences between TM[™] and R [®] symbol

Many people use ™ and r symbols synonymly but there are some key differences between both.

1. Usage

  • The TM symbol is typically used during the trademark application process for registering a specific product or service.
  • While the ® symbol can only be used after a trademark has been successfully registered.

2. Legalities

  • The TM symbol has no legal standing or protection in and of itself.
  •  While the ® symbol is legally protected and can lead to penalties if copied by someone else.

3. Branding purpose and value

  • The TM symbol is typically used for brand identification while a trademark is pending registration.
  • Whereas using the ® symbol can provide a sense of assurance and help to generate strong brand equity once a trademark has been successfully registered.

Why should we get our Trademark registered?

Trademark is a significant intellectual property for its owner which also acts as an asset that can be sold, purchased, pledged or mortgaged. But this property is safe only when it is protected or you can say registered with the relevant authorities.

The trademark registration process is a simple process and offers bundles of benefits.  Here are some of the benefits of trademark registration:

  1. Legal Protection: Trademark registration gives you a superior and legal hand over someone who tries to copy your trademark.
  2. Trust Building: Trademark helps you maintain and increase your brand value in the market. It builds trust between a consumer and the brand. Registering a trademark creates the face of the company or the goods and services.
  3. Valuable Asset: Trademark registration in India creates an intangible asset. Registered TM can be sold, assigned, franchised, or commercially contracted to bring benefits to the company or the individual proprietor.
  4. Cost-Effective: Trademark Registration is very cost-efficient. Once you have registered your Trademark, you need not worry about it for at least 10 years until you renew your trademark registration again.


In a nutshell, the TM [™] and R [®] symbols may look similar but they have distinct differences in terms of legal protection, branding value, and usage. The TM symbol is used to indicate ownership of an unregistered trademark, while the R symbol represents a registered trademark. As a trademark holder, it’s important to understand the difference and use the appropriate symbol to protect your intellectual property and build a strong brand.