The ® symbol or registered trademark symbol is an element. They are frequently used in the market by operators to identify trademarks that have been duly registered with the competent bodies.
On the contrary, the © symbol or copyright symbol is a representation. It informs that the work that is accompanied by said symbol is protected by copyright. That is, copyright, which, contrary to the registered trademark does not have a protection linked to previous registration.
Both the use of the trademark symbol and the copyright symbol have an informative function. And do not constitute, by themselves, elements of protection of industrial or intellectual property rights.
What is Trademark symbol ®? When it is used?
The registered trademark symbol ® is used together with words or graphic representations. They have pass their granting. The trademark registration process , provided that they are distinguishing products or services effectively protected by the trademark already registered or granted.
Since we find a symbol used throughout the world, we must remember that it can refer to the various types of registered trademarks , both nationally and internationally (or European in the case of Spain and other countries of the European Union).
What is relevant is that said symbol is used once the trademark registration has been granted . The use of the same during an unfinished registration process may have, depending on the case, negative consequences for the person responsible for the conduct, in the event that a third party with a right that collides with said trademark in the registration process, considers that the Mention of the trademark registration may be considered as an act of unfair competition.
What is a trademark?
The brand can be defined as that sign capable of being represented graphically and whose characteristics allow it to identify specific products or services to differentiate them. They can consist of a word (denominative), a graphic element (graphics) or a combination of both (mixed brands).
Apart from the use of the registered trademark symbol ® for informational purposes , the registration principle governs in trademarks (with exceptions relating to unregistered trade names and trademarks that we will deal with in detail in another entry), according to which ownership over trademarks are acquired based on a valid registration with the competent bodies
Regarding its territorial scope, it will depend on whether the registration is made as a national, European or international trademark.
In any case, the following may be defined as requirements for the granting of a registered trademark , which can be identified with the symbol ®:
Possibility of graphic representation.
Have differentiating capacity , that is, have a distinctive character For example, a letter of the alphabet, without further differentiating elements, has not been considered sufficiently distinctive to be registered as a trademark and, therefore, appropriate by a registered owner. In the same sense, descriptive marks lack differentiating ability .
Those signs that include references to certain characteristics (qualities, species, function, quantity, etc.) of the products or services that they intend to distinguish can be defined as descriptive . The use of adjectives about the qualities of the products to be identified is a recurring element of descriptive signs, such as the word “very fast” for a courier service, or the adjective “great” for food products.
Identify products or services offered / provided by a company or person. An essential element of the proper registration of the trademark is the correct definition of the products or services to be included in the desired protection, which have been classified according to the Nice classification .
The trademark that complies with the registration requirements in each case. And is granted will obtain the status of a registered trademark, with the possibility of its owner or persons authorized to make use of it together with the corresponding ® trademark symbol.
What are the result of using the registered trademark symbol?
Full protection of the trademark comes from the granting of its registration by the competent body (in the case of Spain, for national trademarks, the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office – OEPM ). In this sense, the use by the owner of the trademark of the registered trademark symbol ® does not have constitutive effects of any right but for informational purposes.
The use of the trademark symbol together with a word or graphic is for informational purposes, since, in this way, the trademark owner informs consumers and competitors that the sign or word with which it distinguishes its products or services in the The market is duly registered and, therefore, enjoys the protection provided by the legal system for registered trademarks.
Among the benefits of protection, we highlight the possibility that the owner of the trademark prevents a third party from using it to distinguish products or services included in the registry and that, in the event of infringement of its trademark, claim the relevant compensation for the damages and damages caused, so the use of the trademark symbol ® is provided as an important warning to competitors.
What does the TM symbol mean?
It is the abbreviation of the English word “trademark”, that is to say, brand.
Used mainly in the United States and other Anglo-Saxon countries, the ™ symbol indicates that the mark next to which said symbol is placed distinguishes a series of products or services, but that it has not yet managed to pass the registration process until it is granted. In this way, it has generally been used to identify trademarks in the registration process or whose concession or validity depends on the outcome of some ongoing litigation.
Therefore, the ™ symbol also has an informative purpose, so that competitors can have knowledge that the trademark in question is in the process of registration, in order to start from that moment to dissuade third parties from using it. of that.
In connection with this sign, in the Anglo-Saxon countries the symbol SM or “service mark” (service mark) has also been used to identify marks that specifically protect services.
|®||U+00AE REGISTERED SIGN||Alt+0174||Alt+r||®||C-x 8 R|
|™||U+2122 TRADE MARK SIGN||Alt+8482||Alt+2||™||C-q 2 0 4 4 2 RET|
|©||U+00A9 COPYRIGHT SIGN||Alt+0169||Alt+g||©||C-x 8 C|
When is the © copyright symbol used?
The copyright symbol represented as © indicates that the work arranged next to said element is protected by copyright or copyright in English. In this way, the author warns third parties that his work is protected by the rights that our legislation confers on him as such. This assumption must be clearly differentiated from the aforementioned cases of use of symbols such as ® or ™, restricted to trademarks and not, such as the © symbol, to copyright.
Use of the expression “All rights reserved”
By means of the expression “all rights reserved” , the authors or creators of any work inform any third party that they do not waive any of the intellectual property rights associated with its creation. Notwithstanding this warning is unnecessary. since according to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Works do not require any formality for their protection, by application of the principle of automatic protection, so the use of the The expression “all rights reserved” has no practical relevance.
What is copyright?
Contrary to the case of trademarks, copyrights are not acquired with registration. But by the mere creation and public dissemination of a work by its author.
Introductory, these are the rights conferred on the author of a literary, artistic or scientific work. By the mere fact of its creation, including those rights that have a moral character as well as other so-called patrimonial rights.
While the former confer on the author an inalienable and unalienable right to be recognized as the author of the corresponding work, the latter, of a patrimonial nature, have as a central element the rights of exploitation of the work.
Regarding these rights of exploitation of a work, the Intellectual Property Law provides that they are in any case in force during the life of the author. And, additionally, for another 70 years after his death or declaration of death.
By incorporating the copyright or © symbol. The author shows that the work of his authorship is protected by these rights. Which is a warning so that unauthorized third parties refrain from infringing his copyright.
Although there is an Intellectual Property Registry for said rights , the registration of the work in it is optional, in contradiction to what happens with trademarks.
The use of the trademark symbols ®, as well as copyright ©, and ° degrees symbol has an informative function, without by themselves, these warnings give legal protection to the signs or works respectively accompanied by those symbols.