We're often asked whether adding a TM next to a name makes a difference, if the name owner has decided not to file for a trademark?

Yes! At the very least, once you are confident that you will go forward with your name, you should place a superscript TM to the upper right of your name – on your web site, on packaging, on your pitch deck, on the first mention in print – to assert ownership.

If you decide to go through the trademark registration process and succeed, you’ll be able to replace the TM with the coveted circle-R, indicating that you now have a registered trademark. But even if you choose not to register, you will have claimed ownership of your name with the TM superscript, giving a clear hands-off signal to potential users of identical or similar names for identical or similar goods.

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