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I am writing an email announcement to my company's customer base, and I will be using a trademarked product name several times throughout the email. It seems awkward to use the TM every time I write the product name - is it acceptable to just do this the first time?

Example:

"Hello everyone! I am happy to announce some new features for JetboxTM. Now you can do X, Y and Z. Jetbox will also do your laundry, compliment your appearance, and get you free concert tickets. Try Jetbox today!"

vs.

"Hello everyone! I am happy to announce some new features for JetboxTM. Now you can do X, Y and Z. JetboxTM will also do your laundry, compliment your appearance, and get you free concert tickets. Try JetboxTM today!"

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    You should consider this as an alternative: It preserves the consistency of the trademark yet avoids the intrusiveness of the big TM. Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 23:43
  • I agree, thanks - I just couldn't figure out how to apply superscript to this post. My question though, is about whether or not I have to use the tm every time, or if I can just use it once.
    – TatiLati
    Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 23:52
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    @TatiLati: You're not legally or grammatically required to use it at all. If someone else already has "Jetbox" in use or registered, they might give you a hard time for using that name. But it's up to you whether you announce your claim/ownership using ™ or not, and if so how often in any given context. Commented Oct 1, 2011 at 0:05
  • The small TM on my post is actually a unicode character, not superscript, so you can just copy and paste it from my post. Commented Oct 1, 2011 at 1:21
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    Would this question be a better fit on Writers.SE? Commented Oct 27, 2011 at 22:21

3 Answers 3

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From A Guide to Proper Trademark Use for Media, Internet and Publishing Professionals (pdf), a publication of the International Trademark Association:

Generally, demarcation is not necessary for every occurrence of a trademark or service mark in an article, press release, advertisement or on a website, etc; however, at a minimum, this identification should occur at least once in each piece, either the first time the mark is used or with the most prominent use of the mark. When in doubt, err on the side of “over-marking.”

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"TM" should be used once, with marks for which trademarks have been applied for and not approved.

"®" should be used (once) for registered trademarks.

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    Not yet approved?
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 2 at 19:19
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The posted question involves an announcement promoting a trademarked product, and in that context including the ™ symbol after the product name is certainly appropriate. Because the point of including the ™ symbol at all is to underscore the trademarked character of the product name, it is also appropriate (and arguably desirable) to include the ™ symbol after each occurrence of the name—but it isn't as though, if you were to drop the ™ on all subsequent mentions of the product name, you would somehow renounce the trademark. It's really up to you (or your company) whether to include the ™ after every mention or after only the first mention, since including it once suffices to put readers on notice regarding the precise nature of the claimed trademark (unregistered versus registered) and since omitting it thereafter doesn't affect the legal force of the underlying claim.

My advice would be somewhat different if the question were about the need to include a ™ symbol in connection with a mention of a product trademarked by a third party. In that case, I would point to the guidance given in The Chicago Manual of Style, sixteenth edition (2010):

8.152 Trademarks. Brand names that are trademarks—often so indicated in dictionaries—should be capitalized if they must be used. A better choice is to substitute a generic term when available. Although the symbols ® and ™ (for registered and unregistered trademarks, respectively) often accompany trademark names on product packaging and in promotional material, there is no legal requirement to use these symbols, and they should be omitted wherever possible.

Obviously, this advice runs contrary to the blanket advice given by the International Trademark Association, as cited in D Kreuger's answer, which doesn't distinguish between use of the ™ symbol by the trademark claimant and use of it by nonclaimants. Nevertheless, Chicago's position is accurate, legally sound, and indeed standard practice throughout the publishing industry. Similar guidelines prevail in newspaper style. For example, from Allan Siegal & William Connolly, The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage (1999):

trademark, service mark. Trademarks and service marks should be capitalized in news articles and treated as modifiers when idiom permits: She bought a Minolta camera but not He swigged a 7Up brand soft drink. Though generic terms—bandage, for example, instead of Band-Aid—are sometimes preferable, brand names can add precision and enrich detail. They are uppercased as a caution to readers who might inadvertently adopt a name owned by someone else. ... In the news columns, do not use the registration symbols (® and ™).

In three decades of work as an editor for computer magazines and business publications, I have removed countless instances of ® and ™ from third-party product names (from the first occurrence onward) and never received a complaint from the trademark holder or claimant. That's because it is settled practice in the United States (at least) that treating the product name as a proper name is sufficient to indicate that the name is not available in the public domain for uncontested use by any other company.

A final note here about the use of ™ versus ®. As Chicago observes, the ™ symbol is used for unregistered trademarks—names that the the maker is claiming proprietary rights to pending review of a formal application to the U.S. Patent Office for federal registration of the name. The ® symbol is used to indicate that the Patent Office has formally registered the name in question and that the maker now owns exclusive rights to label products under that name.

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