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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

JD: On this question, I’ll bring it into the chat. This is the old symbol question. So if you trademark your business name, which you don’t necessarily have to do, can you use the (R) symbol on your logo once it’s approved, noting the logo is a stylized version of the trademark words? In theory couldn’t some somehow, but they mention their brand name in plain text and use the (R) symbol every time. Okay, I understand that, but go ahead with your answer if you got it. It’s a little convoluted. We’ll untangle it as it were. 

Matt: Yes, JD’s right. You don’t have to trademark your business name. 

JD: I’m going to rewind that. Let’s rewind it 10 seconds. There’s a difference between a business entity and a trademark, right? So your business entities – your LLC, your corporation, your 501(c)(3) – those are business entities. 

Matt: Yeah, um, they can or cannot also function as trademarks. 

For example, Kulseth Law is a business entity – PLLC. You know, my business is Mighty Marks. We form Bold IP, right? Those are the trademarks of the law firms. So that is the trademark. The question I think is, you know, if they file and register a design mark, is it kind of what it sounds like? Can they also use the registered trademark symbol for the words themselves?

Let’s imagine Bold IP has a logo. We filed and registered that trademark. Let’s say JD doesn’t have a word mark registered for Bold IP, which of course he does because he’s smart. Can he use that design mark and say “I have registered trademark rights in the word mark or the letters B-O-L-D-I-P”? And the answer is no, right? 

JD: There it is. 

Matt: You need to register both to use the trademark registration symbol on both. 

JD: Got it. If you haven’t yet registered it, it is the TM, correct? For unregistered common law trademark applications. 

So until it registers and you have the registration certificate and a registration number on file with the USPTO, your trademark is live and in good standing, then you can use the registered trademark symbol. 

JD: I loved your answer mostly because two parts of that were “JD’s right” and “JD was smart” and you really worked those in.

Matt: Hey, I got a lot of experience around here, you know, with my wife, you know, making sure she gets the praise she needs. So I’ll take it.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at