The difference between R and TM

The Difference between TM ® SM MC MD ©

As a consumer, you must have inevitably observed different marks or symbols placed together with the product logo. For example the TM mark “™”, R symbol “®”, Copyright symbol “©”, the MC mark or the MD mark. You might have wondered what does it mean? And why are they different? This article states different marks or symbols under Intellectual property rights (IPR).

The Symbol ®

This symbol depicts that your trademark is registered in a country. Trademark registration will give you the exclusive right to use your mark in association with your registered products or services across the country, and the right to exclude others from using confusingly similar marks. A given registered trademark symbol helps building a brand name of your own. This symbol is known as the rights reserved symbol or all rights reserved.

For instance:
The golden arches of McDonald’s® the design used is a registered trademark.

McDonald's Trademark
McDonald’s Trademark

The Nike® logo-word and swoosh design is a registered trademark.

Nike Trademark

The top right corner suits the best place symbol. If not, right beside the trademark at the very end is also recommendable. You cannot use a Registered mark “®” in a different country in which you did not originally register. Doing so will make it considered a false trademark claim. For details, refer to the Trademarks Regulations.

Having a registered trademark means you legally own a particular word or phrase and can prevent others from using it. However, you don’t have rights to the word or phrase in general, only to how you use that word or phrase with your specific goods or services.

TM (Trademark)

The “TM” is a short form of trademark (or trade mark). Trademark is a particular word, symbol, design, phrase or combination that helps identify your goods or services.

Trademark identifies goods or services of an organization whereas a service mark specifically represents services of a corporation. A trademark identifies the source of your goods and services and provides legal protection for your brand.

People often misunderstand the concept of the TM mark as unregistered. The TM logo is the formal way to declare a trademark execution. It does not mean the trademark is registered or not. Both registered or unregistered trademarks could use the TM mark. For more information about trademarks, please refer to What is Trademark.

SM (Service Mark)

A Service mark (or Servicemark) is a similar kind of gadget as a trademark. However, service mark particularly focuses on distinguishing the services of one organization from those of another supplier.

It helps organizations to build a brand name using a word, symbol, domain name, or any combination to differentiate them from other brands of the world so that the public does not confuse their services with any other organization. It also tends to build a better connection of organization with the public by presenting their services with a unique service mark.

For instance: Disney Channel, the service mark is a logo with Disney channel wording and the reason being is they provide video and audio services.

Service Mark of Disney Channel
Service Mark of Disney Channel


MD stands for Marque Déposée and is equivalent to The R Symbol ® whereas MC stands for Marque de Commerce and is equivalent to TM Symbol “™”.

The MD and MC versions are more frequently used by French population of Canada to the eastern part of the country. But frequently large distributors will simply mark their products with both the English and the French designations.

The Symbol ©

The © symbol means copyright is the exclusive legal right to produce, reproduce, publish or perform an original literary, artistic, dramatic or musical work. Copyright is basically for work that you create independently without any copying.

A major difference between copyright and trademark is that copyright protects an independently created and original work whereas trademark supposedly protects a product or service that distinguishes a business from another.

This © symbol informs about a copyright claim. You can use it to educate someone on your ownership of a particular creation. You don’t necessarily have to use the symbol to claim copyright protection.

It is not necessary to register Copyright as the protection is automatic once you create an independent work, however, there are a lot of benefits to registration. For instance; provides evidence that your copyright is valid, creates a public record and enables you to file a lawsuit to enforce copyright in federal court.

The length of the time that copyright lasts depends on the country in which copyright is registered. In Canada, based on the author’s death, a particular individual owns the copyright for entire life and 50 years after the person deceased.

Let’s Make Awesome Brands, Together

Tell Us About Your Brand

Recent Posts

Who We've Worked With​