After much contemplation, you now have successfully filed your trademark application and next what? Okay, it is time to show-off or cause notice to the public regarding the usage of that trademark. Let us see how and why we should do so.
Why and how to use trade mark symbols?
The symbols ®, TM and SM provide notice to the world that you are claiming trademark rights in any mark using these symbols. You may use the TM on marks identifying goods, and the SM on marks identifying services as soon as you have filed the application and allotted with an unique TM application number. You need not have a registration to use the TM or SM symbols. However, the ® symbol, which provides “statutory notice” can only be used if your mark is registered.
You do not always need to use the ® symbol in order to provide notice of your trademark rights. Instead you may place the phrase as shown in the following example at the bottom of a page, for example, “CocoCola is a registered trademark of CocoCola & Co.”
Advantages of providing notice
There is no requirement that you use any of the symbols, however there are two important advantages to using them. First, the symbols provide notice to the world that you are claiming the symbols as trademarks, and this will deter others from attempting to use the name for their own business. Second, if you ever find yourself in a lawsuit for infringement of your mark, and you haven’t used the statutory notice (i.e. the ® symbol), then you won’t be able to sue for damages or profits unless you can prove that the infringer had actual notice of your trademark rights.
Unauthorized use of the ® symbol
Unauthorized use of the ® can result in penalties, unless you can show that the unauthorized use was a good-faith mistake. Inadvertent unauthorized use can occur when the Indian Trademark Registry cancels your mark without your knowledge. It is quite likely that your labels and materials will still display the ® when the cancellation issues, thereby leaving you vulnerable to an attack that you were acting in bad faith and should be penalized for unauthorized use.