Trademark: Difference between TM and SM

By Christopher Rogers

Most people are familiar with the little "TM" symbol placed beside some company logos. Less familiar is the "SM" symbol that can also be placed beside company logos. The difference is simple.

"TM" stands for trade mark. If your company sells goods, then you would use "TM" beside logos that do not have federal trademark registration.

"SM" stands for service mark. If your company provides services, then you would use "SM" beside logos that do not have federal trademark registration.

If your company sells both goods and services then choose the mark that represents the greatest proportion of your business. Choose "TM" if your company primarily sells goods, and "SM" if your company primarily provides services.

Once your company name or logo is granted a federal trademark registration with the USPTO, you would remove the "TM" or "SM" symbol and replace it with the familiar ® "R in a circle" symbol.

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