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Symbols and Marks: What When Where Why

Symbols and Marks: What When Where Why

Industrial marks are the kind of Intellectual Property substance that protects icons, symbols, titles, names, sounds, color themes or any other visual representation that define a business identity in order to distinguish products, goods and services existing in the market from each other. The marks that businesses use commonly are ®, ™ and ℠.

®Registered mark
This sign is used to give notice that the preceding mark is either a trademark or a servicemark that has been registered with the relevant Trademarks Office. It may not be used while the application for Trademark or Servicemark registration is ongoing or pending, as it would not be legally appropriate. It should be used only in connection with marks that are officially registered. Use of the ® symbol with any mark which is not registered may result in claims of fraud or other legal challenges. 

This sign is used whenever someone wishes to claim a trademark in a product or goods, representing a business organization or entity that has attained legal establishment and recognized authorities. The sign is usually put on the top right corner of the product or company logo. Any kind of business entity that engages selling products qualifies to obtain TM. 

This sign is another kind of trademark, which is distinctively used to identify or represent services offered by respective owners, which are performed for the benefit of other. In other terms, business ventures or entities that provide service to their customers or clients use SM after their business marks. For example, educational institutions, counseling centres, law firms, salons, restaurants etc. qualifies to obtain SM. 

Footsteps of why ad how

Using the industrial marks, i.e. ®, TM, SM, is NOT a legal requirement but usually are done voluntarily in almost all over the world. It is always a good practice to use the correct mark with relevance to the contemporary stage of the product or service. Most importantly, it works as a signal or notice to the competitors or third parties. It indicates that the relevant mark is subject to IPR protection, and the owner of the mark considers it unique in relation to his business and may intend to enforce his right, if infringed. Therefore, it is strongly recommended by IPR experts and practitioners that business enterprises or entities use these symbols as per requirement in order to deal with claims of fraud or other legal challenges. It is recommendable that the trademarks symbols be used, in order to protect the trademarks from becoming a generic term for the products or goods or services they identify, or from becoming a mark open to third parties' unauthorized use.

These symbols originated in USA as part of the American administrative standards. The EU regulation has no provisions regarding the use of these symbols in order to obtain or maintain the right to one’s trademark whether registered or unregistered. The Trademarks Act 2009 of Bangladesh does not appear to contain any provisions requiring the use of these symbols either.  

Using of TM or SM symbols does not require permission or filing paper work. It in fact notifies your competitors, that you are running or bringing up a new business venture in the market and that your product or symbol considers the mark as its Trademark or Service Mark.

You get it from DPDT (Department of Patent, Designs and Trademark) in Bangladesh.  



The story was first published in INTELLECT Issue no.3, dated November 2013.  

September 16, 2015
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