In depth: The meaning of the symbols ‘R’ and ‘TM’ for Trademarks in business


In today’s noisy world, so many symbols go unnoticed. You have probably seen these two symbols so many times that you thought that they are actually part of the whole trademark registration process itself.

  • Trademarks

Before we dive in, let’s remember that a trademark is a registered word, sign, colour or even a motion that is capable of acting as a point of origin. A trademark’s primary feature is to distinguish your products or services from products or services of other businesses, a brand’s biggest weapon.

  • What does each symbol represent?

Both symbols are affixed on word and signs and both act as notices. They are trying to notify something about the status of the sign or word preceding them. However, their meanings are distinct.

TM is the abbreviation for the word Trade Mark. This symbol, albeit of what the public seems to understand, is used just to notify that the preceding sign or wording is intended to be used as a point of identification. This does not necessarily mean that it is registered. On the one hand, there exists no provision under the Cypriot Trademarks Law Act, Cap 268 (the ‘Law’) that precludes the use of such symbol. On the other, its use seems relatively insignificant.

R is the abbreviation for the word Registered. From what we have already explained, one can easily realise that this symbol is being used in an attempt to provide notice that the preceding sign or word is registered, either with a National or a Regional Office. This also signifies that the sign or word is owned by the company or person.

Due to its deterrent nature, it is quite tempting for business owners to misuse the R symbol disregarding any consequences. One should take care in affixing this symbol to products used in multiple jurisdictions as some countries take the use of this symbol more seriously than others. Hence, it is an offence to misuse this symbol in an attempt to falsely represent your trademark as registered under the relevant provisions of the Law. This also holds true for the United Kingdom as provided by the Trademarks Law Act of 1994.

Therefore, it is advisable that business owners register their signs or wordings and not take unwarranted advantage of this symbol. You can find out more about the advantages of a trademark registration from our previous articles as published on our firm’s website here and as published with Kathimerini here. Business owners should seek professional advice as to the registrability of their marks and take steps to register with the relevant National or Regional offices. The registration of a mark may take a few months but its protection can be extended indefinitely, a small price to pay for such a great advantage.

  • Is their use mandatory?

No provision under the Law imposes such action. However, business owners are advised to take caution for the proper use of both symbols in order to avoid any unnecessary consequences. As such, the use of the symbol must only be made after registration is effected.

  • Final thoughts

Using the symbol to market your products or services will give you a confidence boost in the use of your IPRs. Thus, choosing the right partner to handle your trademarks will eventually lead your business and brand to the success story it deserves.

Michael Kyprianou & Co LLC has a leading Intellectual Property practice with a team of experienced lawyers who are able to advise and assist clients in relation to both contentious and non-contentious IP matters. If you need any advice in relation to Intellectual Property rights, please contact our Head of IP, Agis Charalambous, at agis.charalambous@kyprianou.com or at 0035722447777