®️ stands for “Registered Trademark” (affirmed by the Patent & Trademark Office); ™ means “Trademark” (any mark filed with the Trademark Office); © ️ stands for "Copyright";
© ️ (“Copyright”) is a notice of reserved rights in relation to any work that is subject to copyright protection. This symbol is usually followed by the name of the copyright holder & the year of first publication. The purpose is to inform 3rd parties & help resolve issues with illegal use of copyright.
There’s also another symbol, referred to as a copyright lion, which symbolizes the receipt of a copyright permission granted by the author of a work to use, study, modify or distribute their work.
The ®️ Sign
According to the Paris Convention, for the rights to be recognized, no attaching, mentioning a mark, registering a patent, registering ownership of a trademark in the EU or US or filing an industrial design for the product concerned are required.
Systematically using the symbol to validate a trademark copyright in Paris isn’t required either. There’s no obligation to use the ®️ or ™ symbols to protect trademarks in France or protect trademark rights in France. In France, the symbol offers two main benefits: it prevents violation & deters potential violators. However, in some countries, including the United States, the use of the ®️ symbol is a prerequisite for seeking damages or suing for copyright infringement in the United States.
It is recommended to affix the ®️ sign to any medium that reproduces the registered trademark (especially if the trademark is for export to the USA). However, you must be wary of the risk of defrauding 3rd parties in protecting an unregistered trademark in the United States. The registration mark (®️) can only be used in countries where the trademark was actually registered with the Patent & Trademark Office (i.e. at the time the trademark is simply registered so that the owner can obtain ownership of the ™ symbol in the United States & use it later).
It is important to include this new visual element in your graphic charter every time you use a related trademark, be it a word mark or graphic. You can incorporate & record this requirement in your trademark policy, in particular with respect to the use of the trademark by licensees, subsidiaries & distributors in the EU or US.
Some companies, such as Jean-Louis David, don’t just affix the ®️ and ™ symbols to their brands, but also include them in their graphic charter. There’s no particular requirement for the precise positioning of the character.
There may be signs that just consist of symbols! This means that using the aforementioned symbols requires avoiding using it as a trademark (by resizing or adding graphics functions). You should also contact duly qualified experts who will provide protection for existing registered trademarks in the United States and France.
You must affix the ®️ symbol to registered trademarks & include it in your graphic charter; however, this should only be done after getting legal advice on IP rights. If there is a risk that the symbol cannot be used as a trademark, you should be fully aware of it and make the necessary preliminary checks.