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What those various packaging symbols mean
Posted in Trademarks

Trademark symbols should not be confused with other frequently used symbols:

Trademark Symbols

The symbol "R" in a circle signifies that a trademark has been registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the goods inside the package.

The symbol "TM" (meaning trademark) or "SM" (meaning service mark) is an informal indication that the term or logo is being used to signify source but has not been federally registered.

Copyright Symbols


The letter "C" in a circle may be used as part of a statutory copyright notice (with the year of first publication and the owner's name or recognized abbreviation).  This indicates that the work is covered by a copyright, which is true of all currently created works whether or not the copyright is registered or a copyright notice is used.  A copyright notice is optional. Sometimes this symbol is improperly used to indicate something about a trademark, but this use generally has no legal effect.

The letter "P" in a circle may appear on a compact disc recording as part of a notice (again with the year of first publication and the owner's name or recognized abbreviation) that the sound recording is copyrighted, whether or not registered.  It sometimes is combined with a "C" in a circle notice to indicate that the artwork and liner notes are copyrighted.

Patent Markings

A product or its package may say "Patent Pending" to warn that a patent application has been filed, so anyone copying a feature of the product should be aware that the copying may have to end if a patent is issued.

For an issued patent, the notice may either display the patent number or may take the form of a "virtual marking," which refers to a website that identifies the patent number.

If the patent owner or an authorized licensee sells a product without a proper patent marking, the monetary damages available for patent infringement may be reduced.  

Kosher Symbols

There are many symbols to indicate that a food is Kosher. Some of them are shown below.

Sometimes these symbols are next to the letter "D" to indicate that the item contains dairy, or next to the word "Parve" to indicate that the item contains neither meat or dairy, or next to the letter "P"  to indicate that the item is Kosher for Passover.

The letter "U" in a circle is a form of "OU," the registered certification mark of the Kosher Certification Service of The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (known as the 'Orthodox Union'), indicating Kosher products and services that have been rabbinically supervised under contractual agreement.

Star-K is one of the largest Kosher certification marks in the world, and indicates certification by Star-K Kosher Certification, also known as the Vaad Hakashrus.

The letter "K" in a circle is a certification mark indicating Kosher products certified by OK Laboratories, of which the administrator is Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, succeeding his father Rabbi Bernard Levy.

The Letter "K" inside the Hebrew symbol for that letter indicates certification by KOF-K Kosher Supervision, which is one of the foremost Kosher certification agencies in the United States.

Products claimed to be Kosher sometimes display the letter "K" alone or in a logo different from the above, but this symbol normally does not reflect certification by any particular entity.

For further information contact William M. Borchard.

This ON MY MIND™ Blog post
© 2014 by Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, P.C., New York, NY. 

Suggest topics for future Blog posts to law@cll.com.

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