How to use the ® symbol in the EU

by | Jun 24, 2024 | Insights | 0 comments

The ® symbol, known as the registered trademark symbol, is a valuable tool for businesses to protect their brand identity. The ® symbol indicates that a trademark is officially registered and protected by law. This registration grants the owner exclusive rights to its owner to prevent others from using a similar mark for similar goods or services. So, how to use the ® symbol in the EU?

When to use the ® symbol?

The only requirement for the use of the ® symbol is that the mark is registered for those goods and services you use the symbol. If you have a brand “YUMMIE” for chocolate products and gummy bears, and you have a registered trademark for chocolate products, you can use the ® symbol in your chocolate packaging, but not on the gummy bear packaging.

If your trademark is not registered, you can still use the ™ symbol. So in your case, for ® chocolate and ™ for gummies.

Benefits of Using the ® Symbol

The ® symbol serves as a warning to potential infringers that the trademark is legally protected, deterring unauthorized use. It shows that you have taken appropriate steps and spent resources to acquire legal protection for the mark.

Displaying the ® symbol also enhances the credibility and perceived value of your brand, reassuring customers of its legitimacy and quality. It also shows that you consider your brand valuable enough to spend money in getting maximum legal protection for it.

It is not mandatory to use the ® symbol, but if your mark is registered, it is certainly advisable.

Geographical aspects in the EU

Trademarks are territorial. A Swedish trademark has no legal effect in Germany, and companies operating in France can ignore trademarks registered in Greece. Generally speaking, the ® symbol should be used in only those countries where you have a registration.

European Union makes a partial exception to this. In late 1980s a German company P. J. Dahlhausen & Co was marketing blood filters with the name MIROPORE in Germany. The Italian manufacturer of the products had registered the trademark MIROPORE in Italy, but not in Germany. The products in Germany contained the ® symbol. Dahlhause’s competitor Pall Corp. sued Dahlhause and demanded that it is prevented from selling products with the ® symbol since the mark was not registered in Germany. They claimed that the use of the ® symbol constituted misleading advertising and unfair competition.

The EU Court considered that a national law that prevented the use of the ® symbol in these circumstances was contrary to EU law. More specifically, the court said that enforcing a national rule prohibiting the use of the ® symbol when the mark was registered in another EU member state was contrary to the princple of freedom of movement of goods.

The court also held that allowing the prohibition would compel a trademark proprietor to modify the presentation of its products based on the intended market and to create separate distribution networks to prevent products bearing the (R) symbol from circulating in Member States that prohibit it.


In short, the European Union is a single market, and if a trademark is registered in one member states, it is permissible to use the ® symbol in all member states.

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