When I am talking about third party trademarks on my website:

Am I supposed to use the appropriate registered ® symbols or is this not required?

I am not talking about our own trademarks but trademarks of products we sell on our website.

  • 2
    Not sure this is the venue for legal advice, but a rather large online retailer doesn't seem to worry itself over this so I would guess it's not necessary.
    – TZHX
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 8:16
  • I think the symbol has no legal relevance at all it is just to warn the reader about that it is a registered trademark but I am not sure about it. I think it is relevant to other webmasters as well. So why not provide best practices as answers.
    – Matthias
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 8:44
  • I see similar questions about copyright with answers. So I think this is the right place.
    – Matthias
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 8:47
  • 1
    Trademarks are a legal construct -- so I assume anything to do with them is going to have some legal relevance, or it wouldn't exist. I think these symbols are more about making clear that you (the site) are not the owner of the trademark so only needs to be used in cases where that could be a reasonable assumption. Retail probably doesn't fall into that category.
    – TZHX
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 8:48
  • Thank you for the feedback. It would be nice to have some links about this topic. I guess it is the same with copyright. As far as I know the copyright symbol is just to inform too. The copyright is in any case by the author with or without copyright symbol. I think it is the same thing with the registered symbol.
    – Matthias
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 8:56

3 Answers 3


It probably is, from a purely legal standpoint actually required. Our company was actually sued about it several years ago. We were selling Brand's products on our website and selling them as Brand Product. The problem arose when we started ranking higher for Brand Product than the actual Brand's website. This caused Brand to get grumpy, and brought us to court, even though we were buying the product from them 100% legitimately. When all was said and done and the lawyers got their pound of flesh, we were required to put ® next to any use of their trademark.

That said, no reasonable company would give you a hard time about this as long as you're not abusing or doing anything damaging with their trademarked term.

  • 1
    We got a nasty note over Viton once from said chemical manufacturer DuPont for an item produced by a manufacturer that used their rubber compound. The legalese was that we couldn't use Viton as an adjective as in "Viton seal", but had to say "seal made of Viton" and then include the appropriate TM, (R) or whatever. Out of all the product we sell, this one item was the only thing that attracted their corplaw partner's (retainer justification) attention as about 20 pages over, there were other Viton items that didn't get noticed. Once in 25 years of doing business, nobody else has bothered us. Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 4:29

I would personally say that you will not require a trademark/copyright symbol I associate ® as a registered product/service but you will not require it as it has no legal relevance.

Copyright policy is down to the company which you are selling the product for and as long as you are not claiming it to be your own product you will be fine and doing no harm.

  • 1
    Copyright and Trademark are two completely separate things and completely divorced as a result within the law.
    – closetnoc
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 2:48
  • And then there's Service Marks, FedEx wanted to force us to have (SM) on every mention of their name, freight method, etc. We told them that they didn't really give us much better service than UPS and that we could easily negotiate for better rates with the competitor and drop them altogether. Dollars vote, corplaw shut up and disappeared. Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 4:34

You should always use it, but it brings up a paradox: As of now Google shopping (or perhaps other feeds) do not allow things like the TM symbol and/or the restricted symbol. You will encounter "trademark violation error(s)" and the feed may not parse those items. This could change at any time (or maybe it already has).

Perhaps you could get away with truncating them as long as you had a proper asset/branding disclaimer saying something like "Due to partner ecosystems we are not allowed to display certain symbols. All identifiable brand, trade, or restricted words are property of their owners." You would have to eloquently craft this though to weave through all the legals...and it prob wouldnt protect much since the disclaimer would not be present in 3rd party areas like SERPs.

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