In our companion post today, we are talking about the importance of using your trademarks in a consistent manner.  This consistency helps consumers know that when they see KalmKap,that it identifies a product coming from a single company and that they can trust that the quality is the same as the last time they bought the product. Consistent use helps to identify your mark as being owned by you. Another way to identify your marks as yours is to use the recognized trademark symbols and to make appropriate attribution statements somewhere within your ads.

Failure to use trademark symbols won’t result in a loss of trademark rights, but using these symbols will help place competitors on notice regarding what you believe you own and that you are serious about protecting and enforcing your valuable trademark rights.

The three symbols that can be used directly with the mark are ®, TM and SM.  If a trademark is registered with the United States Trademark Office, then you can use the ® symbol.  If the mark is not registered, then you should use the TM or SM symbols. The TM symbol can be used for any mark whether in use on goods and/or services.  SM may used for marks that are specifically used for services, rather than a product.

So, a registered mark would appear as KalmKap®.  If you have only registered the word mark KalmKap and not a heart logo, then you can use the ® after the word mark, but should use nothing or the TM after the heart.  So, either KalmKap®© or KalmKap© TM.  Use of KalmKap®© TM might get a bit cumbersome. If neither KalmKap nor the heart logo is registered, you would use  KalmKapTM or KalmKap© TM.

If you have obtained a registration for or use your company’s name as a trademark, be sure to use the ®, TM and SM symbols only when the name is being used as a trademark.  Remember, trademarks are to be used as adjectives to identify the source of specific goods or services – and thus not all references to your company name will warrant use of the trademark symbols. You will not use these symbols on letterhead or in correspondence.  Further, if the company name and address are used at the bottom of an ad, you should not place any trademark symbols there either.

“But,” you say, “all those little symbols mess up the look we are trying to achieve and detract from the look and feel of the ad.”  If that is the case, you can opt to not use them at all, or to choose a single location where their use will be less distracting.  In this case, you should be more diligent in including an attribution statement in the ad.

We recommend using an attribution statement in all marketing collateral, advertisements, product packaging, web pages, manuals, and any other materials.  This statement lists the trademarks used in piece and identifies the legal owner or those marks:

KalmKap and the Heart Logo are registered trademarks of ABC Medical Company.

Or, if the marks are not registered:

KalmKap and the Heart Logo are trademarks of ABC Medical Company.

Typically, the attribution statement is displayed at the end of a sales piece, in the footer of a document such as a sales pitch, or on the back of the product packaging.  In addition, this statement can also include a notice of copyrights that may exist in the marketing material.  The copyright statement would be © 2013 ABC Medical Company.  All Rights Reserved.

If you have used the trademark of third parties, for example in a comparative ad, then the attribution statement should also include these marks:

KalmKap and the Heart Logo are registered trademarks of ABC Medical Company.

EZ Wear is the trademark of XYZ Medical Services and CapSmart is a trademark of KLM Services. ABC Medical Company is not associated with either XYZ Medical Services or KLM Services.

Our Insight.  Your Advantage.  The key is to be sure that the trademarks you have spent your time and money developing are being used in a manner that advances your brand and that they are recognized as your trademark.

Here are the other installments in this series: