When a company creates a logo, symbol, phrase, or any unique visual element in order to present their product to the public through packaging and advertising mediums, that element is automatically protected under trademark intellectual property law. Though it is recommended, a trademark does not need to be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to be under valid protection.
Unregistered trademarks which companies own should be indicated through the use of a trademark symbol or trademark sign. The trademark symbol indicates that the element being presented is protected under law and should not be reproduced or replicated in any way that may cause customer confusion. Registered trademarks have a different symbol
The trademark sign indicates that the trademarked material used by the company is intended to distinguish their company and/or brand name from other companies and names. This is intended to protectnot only companies but also customers, who may thereby understand what they are purchasing from a business they are familiar with. When the trademark is registered with the USPTO, the trademark symbol is changed to a registered trade mark.