...you should use the registered ® symbol every time you use your particular mark. Obviously, this would pertain to written materials only since when you're talking about your mark and using it in an oral sense; you cannot identify it as such. Regardless, use of the registered ® symbol should be consistent across all of your advertising and usage materials. Besides using the registered ® symbol, you also want to be consistent in your usage of your registered trademark...
Welcome to Trademark Law Radio, a top web resource on issues of trademark infringement, trademark licensing, trademark protection, and trademark registration.
This is Trademark Attorney, Brian Hall, with Traverse Legal, PLC. Today, I'll be discussing how to use and display your registered trademark. So, I presume at this point in time you've done the work necessary to have your trademark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Having done so, you're entitled to use the registered ® symbol, instead of merely the "TM" (trademark) or "SM" (service mark) symbol that can be used by any common law trademark.
Since you've earned that right, you should use the registered ® symbol every time you use your particular mark. Obviously, this would pertain to written materials only since when you're talking about your mark and using it in an oral sense; you cannot identify it as such. Regardless, use of the registered ® symbol should be consistent across all of your advertising and usage materials. Besides using the registered ® symbol, you also want to be consistent in your usage of your registered trademark. This really comes into play more so with design marks rather than character marks. What I mean is, if you registered a design mark that included various design components, you cannot go ahead and make changes to those designs in the future and still rely upon your previously registered trademark.
In fact, when it comes time to file your Declaration of Continued Use between the fifth and sixth year following your registration, you will have to show use of your mark, and it must match what your registered trademark is. The same applies to character marks. An example would be if you registered a mark as two words, and then subsequently started using it as one word, the USPTO may take issue with it and not allow your Declaration of Continued Use. Or, even between the ninth and tenth year, your attempts at a successful renewal. It's critically important that you maintain consistency in your use of your trademark. If you do want to make changes, you should understand that you may need to pursue a separate registration in order to have exclusive rights to it, and to ensure that your mark will be protected in the future.
Besides use of the registered R symbol and consistent use, you also want to make sure that you're using your registered trademark as a trademark. What I mean by that is you don't want to start using the term that you protected in such a way that it becomes descriptive, or even worse, merely generic. By doing so, you would essentially jeopardize the exclusive rights you worked so hard to acquire. It's critically important that you maintain the distinctiveness of your mark by referring to it in such a way that it's clear to everyone that you own trademark rights in it. At the end of the day, not only are these three guidelines important to you in order to ensure your continued protection of the mark and your rights in it. But it's also going to make life a lot easier for you or your trademark attorney when it comes time to file the maintenance filings with the USPTO.
Again, not only does your design or character mark need to match what was actually registered, but you will be required to submit a specimen, or example showing how you're currently using it upon the filing of those maintenance filings. That specimen must also match your trademark registration with the USPTO. Obviously, some unique uses of the mark may raise interesting questions, and in those cases, you'd be well served speaking with a trademark attorney. So, once again, this has been Brian Hall answering your question, "How to Use and Display Your Registered Trademark?"
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