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General Writing and Grammar Help/use of the registered trademark within an article

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Question
Dear Ted,
Our company writes a quarterly newsletter to our members. In referring to a product with a registered trademark, should we use the symbol with each mention of the product in the article, or only reference it once?  

Answer
Jim:

A quick follow-up:  I re-checked the manuals for the Associated Press and UPI, since you are publishing a NEWSletter.  Both manuals strongly suggest capitalization of the trademark BUT omitting any symbol -- the R and TM from the text.

I also did a quick search for a couple of trade names in the LexisNexis database -- for newspapers.  The symbols are NOT used, but the trade marks are definitely capitalized, and some examples I found actually indicate that certain names ARE trade names.  For example "Tranxene" is given as the "registered trade name" for a drug whose generic name is "chlorazepate."

Ted Nesbitt


I would have gotten back to you sooner, if I had checked the 10+ style manuals under "trademark" instead of "copyright."

Basically, the various manuals do not recommend using the symbol at all.  Rather, the emphasis is on the capitalization, since "registered trademarks" are considered to be proper nouns.

"Webster's Standard American Style Manual" does not even mention the symbol.  Here is the applicable passage from that manual:  "LOOK FOR TRADEMARKS.  Brand names like Xerox and Vaseline should be spelled and capitalized precisely."

"The Chicago Manual of Style," 14th ed., recommends that the user consult a registered trademark dictionary.  "A reasonable effort should be made to capitalize such names" and then there are many examples, i.e., Anacin, Bufferin, Excedrin (but "aspirin," generically.  Frigidaire (but "refrigerator") and Vaseline (but "petroleum jelly").

Then the Chicago people make this suggestion, which is what you really need:  "The symbols "R" [encircled] and TM, which often accompany registered trademark names on product packaging and in advertisements, need not be used in running text."

In other words, Jim, if you refer to the product as having a registered trademark, you would capitalize the name of the product, BUT you would omit any copyright symbol, since it would be redundant.

Ted Nesbitt

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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