Difference Between TM and R (With Table)

There is a lot of ambiguity surrounding certain trademark aspects. Common questions include whether one may use a certain mark and whether they need to submit an application to acquire a trademark. One source of misunderstanding is the TM and R characters, what they symbolize, and why and when one should employ them. 

TM vs R

The main difference between TM and R is that the TM symbol represents an unprotected trademark, and it is a symbol that is frequently used to market things after they have applied for registration of the trademark. Meanwhile, when you see the R sign on a product, it means it’s a registered trademark.

TM is an abbreviated form for a trademark that businesses frequently utilize on a brand, name, term, phrase, or layout that characterizes the company. It has no legal significance. The emblem can be used on any mark that one’s firm employs without registering it. Owners must submit all proofs of possession in the event of a dispute.

R symbols symbolize people and corporations that have a comprehensive legal binding on the business, including its name and other elements that are specifically owned by the owners solely. To obtain an R sign, one must register under the Trademarks Act. Every young enterprise filing a trademark must first determine whether the specific sign or picture is already registered.

Comparison Table Between TM and R

Parameters of Comparison



Full form


Registered trademark


Used to market things after they have filed for trademark registration.

Denotes that the brand is registered and legally protected.

Legal Aspects Involved

It has no legal bearing or backing

Protected under the law and punishable if copied

The goal of branding

To identify the distinctive industries, associations, or user’s brand

To market your service or product and use your copyrights to build great brand equity.  

Allowed period to use the symbol

One may use this sign after filing a trademark application

One may use this sign if the trademark is registered.  

What is TM?

A trademark is a term, logo, or symbol that differentiates one brand or product from another. It could also be used to indicate anything that is unique to a person or item in a more metaphorical sense, such as “the musician’s trademark beat.” The term trademark, which was first used in the mid-1500s, literally means a proprietary mark (like a name or logo) (trade).

Trademarks are frequently asserted using the TM superscript (a character printed just above the line, in contrast to a subscript, which is written underneath the line). That small floating emblem may be found almost anywhere, from grocery store aisles to TV episodes to humorous Instagram posts. In business, it’s used to convey that the individual who created and is promoting a product or good believes it’s unique from others.

There is one loophole: TM does not always imply that the goods or service is a distinctive registered product. The use of the trademark superscript might indicate that the claiming business is in the process of applying for a legally registered trademark (more on that in a bit).

It might also imply that the individual using it believes the unregistered goods are one-of-a-kind. Even items that have been denied government registration as a registered trademark may continue to utilize the TM sign.

What is R?

The R symbol on a product indicates that it is a registered trademark, which implies that the brand name or logo is constitutionally protected by (officially registered with) whereas plain old TM emblems have no legal support. Registered trademarks are protected for ten years, and it can be renewed afterward by paying for the additional fees.

The R sign also has a lot more limitations on who may use it. It is only available to those who have formally registered and been accepted. Furthermore, having a strong registered brand may function as a bridge between the customer and the product by assuring long-term loyalty and affiliation with the firm.

Before seeking to register a trademark, a company or individual should do a search on the intellectual property website from various directions for possible combinations of comparable marks.

If comparable marks are discovered, they must examine the description to see if the mark represents the same set of products or services that they have suggested, or else duplicating a registered trademarked name may result in trademark infringement proceedings.

To type the sign, most word processors merely ask you to type (R), and the application will generally turn it to ® automatically.

Main Differences Between TM and R

  1. TM is the abbreviated form of Trademark, whereas R is the symbol for Registered Trademark.
  2. A TM sign represents an unregistered trademark, and it is a character that is frequently used to market or brand things after they have filed for trademark registration. Meanwhile, the R sign on a product denotes that it is a registered trademark. This indicates that the design is legally protected under the Trademarks Act.
  3. The trademark (TM) symbol has no legal bearing or backing. However, the R mark, is protected under the law and punishable if copied.
  4. While waiting for the operation to complete, the TM symbol is commonly used to identify the distinctive industries, associations, or user’s brand. Using the R symbol to market your service or product might give you the confidence to use your copyrights to build great brand equity.
  5. The client can begin utilising the TM sign after filing a trademark application with the Trademark office. Meanwhile, an applicant may use the R sign if the trademark is registered.


A trademark is a sign that allows consumers to identify a brand or company. The symbols TM and R are commonly used in conjunction with the brand name. As a result, it is critical to grasp the distinction between the TM (™) and R (®) symbols in order to select the best one to advertise a brand identification.

Many businesses continue to implement the ‘TM’ sign instead of the ‘R’ symbol. Because most individuals are uninformed of R., the usual consumer opinion is that ‘TM’ stands for a liable one.

The kind can be chosen based on necessity and usage. It is recommended that you register your sign/symbol to avoid future litigation because it completely assures your ownership of the sign or symbol used. 


  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/002224298605000106
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/002224299105500305