To ® of not to ®?

You all probably know about the ®-sign. The sign that states a trademark is registered and protected. And that you should beware. It turns out, there are also other ways to communicate this.

The ®-sign leads a double life. In the US it is compulsory to use the ®-sign if your trademark is registered. If you don’t, you do not get to sue for damages. On the other hand, if you use the ® when your trademark is not registered, this is not okay either.

In Europe laws are not that strict. Basically, if you use it, that’s fine. If you don’t, that’s also fine. Although, there are courts that do not appreciate it if you use the ® when you don’t have a trademark application of registration at all. That’s misleading, they say.

Fashion label Jack & Jones takes a practical approach. They just mention the trademark registration number on their t-shirt. Plain, simple, clear.

No confusion there: the mark is protected. Stay off!

Erwin Hauër

“Hoop is geen strategie.”

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