Discover how trademark, patent, and software law can help small business, entrepreneurs, and inventors. Check my blog for questions and answers.

Do you use ® circle (r) with every instance of a trademark?

How often should I use ® in any given instance (eg webpage, letter, advert)?

As a copywriter, I often struggle with repeating the same registered trademark in close proximity. For example, on a webpage or brochure where mybrandname® is used repeatedly, I'm concerned it may give the reader the impression we think they're stupid (how many times do you have to tell me the same thing?) or can't be trusted to respect our trademark. Provided it's used at the first inclusion of mybrandname® on each screen or page, isn't that enough to establish its legal status?
Thank you for your time looking at this and I'll be very grateful to hear your thoughts.

~ Surrey, United Kingdom (but protecting a US registered trademark)

The most conservative advice is to use the ® circle (r) every time. Because use of this symbol is required to claim damages and court costs if your business has to sue a competitor, it may be desirable to also show the registration status.

At the same time, larger companies may not follow this most conservative advice. Sometimes, larger companies may transact business multiple countries; with registrations in some countries and not in others. In such a case, it may simplify operations somewhat to avoid using ® circle (r). Also, these larger companies may be less concerned with recovering the costs of trademark litigation.

These companies will commonly use the ® circle (r) on the most prominent use or the first use of the trademark. Also, they will typically set off the trademark by using bold, italic, or a different font.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not really sure that the average person really knows what the ® circle (r) symbol means or why it is there. I think the average person's perception of the ® symbol is simply to make the text more formal. On the other hand, when you are trying to set a mood with your copy, it is understandable to feel frustrated by the marking requirement.

If you are writing copy for a client, follow your client's instructions regarding their use of their trademark.

Good luck!

How to avoid mistakes when filing your US trademark

How must a logo differ from a competitor's stylized trademark?