Let’s talk about IP symbols. These are like “No Trespassing” signs of the world of ideas.
™ indicates that a word, logo or slogan is a Trademark (well, that the person who used ™ claims it’s a Trademark. It can be used as soon as a mark is being used. This does not say that the Trademark has been registered.
Once a Trademark has been registered (in the US with the Patent and Trademark Office) the owner can use the ® symbol. This tells the world that the word, logo, slogan it’s attached to is a registered trademark. This makes it a stronger assertion of ownership than the ™ symbol.
A © symbol, for copyright, is used to indicate that somebody legally owns the rights to original creative work. © can be found on books, websites, at the beginning and end of TV shows, etc. It doesn’t do anything legally (original creative work is protected by copyright when it’s created). It’s for telling the public “Hands Off - this is protected by copyright.”
The ℗ symbol (our favorite), a “Phonogram Copyright” is used in a Copyright notice for audio recordings. The recording is different from the underlying music, which gets a © - both are protected by copyright separately.
How about ℠? This is a service mark. Trademarks relate to products, and Service Marks relate to services. You don’ t see this that much - but it’s technically correct for services.
How about patents? There’s no formal symbol for patents. But patent registration owners should mark their goods with “Patent” followed by the patent registration number (“Patent 12,345,678” or Pat. 12, 234,678”). “Patent Pending” or Pat. Pending” means that a patent application has been submitted but it has not yet reached registration,
That’s it! Your guide to IP symbols!