Where does come from?
Trademarks distinguish goods or services sold by one company from similar ones sold by another. Inheriting the practice from England, the US has issued trademarks since its founding, though it didn’t establish official federal programs until 1881, when the phrase trademark sign begins appearing in legal documents and periodicals.
It’s not clear, exactly, when the trademark superscript, ™, was established, though the abbreviation TM appears by the 1960s and Unicode approved the superscript symbol ™ in 1993. The trade mark sign emoji became widely available on various keyboards in 2010 with the release of Unicode 6.0. Commonly called trade mark sign, the emoji is officially called Trade Mark by Unicode but also popularly goes by the TM or trademark emoji.
Confused about the difference between™ and ®? Well, since the passage of the Lanham Act in 1946, federally registered trademarks have been designated with the symbol ® (for registered trademark)—these trademarks are fully protected from infringement by law. The trademark superscript, ™, is technically considered the unregistered trademark symbol, allowing a business to claim a name or image, for instance, under common law and affording them some limited protections.
Across most platforms, the trade mark sign emoji, ™️, appears as simple, black, sans-serif letters formatted like a superscript. Samsung, however, features encircled gold letters and Messenger more handwritten-seeming blue ones.
Who uses ?
On packaging and in marketing or press materials, companies may place the trademark superscript, ™, after words, images, or other content they are claiming as their own though not officially registered by a regulating body. Sometimes, companies may employ ™ to designate first use or that they’ve filed for registration.
Inspired by the history and use of registered trademarks, people commonly use the trade mark sign emoji online to playfully or ironically mark some content as unique, original, official, or important.
For instance, a user might end a post they deem funny or profound with trade mark sign emoji: “For lunch I ate a Big Stupid Burrito™️ and now I feel like an unexploded land mine from WWI.”
While Big Stupid Burrito™️ illustrates the emoji’s frequent humorous, self-referential use, other users employ the trade mark sign emoji for more serious purposes or emphasis, such as political commentary (e.g., The Government is Lying to You™️) or personal expression (God is good™️).
It is also common to see the trade mark sign emoji in social-media users’ screen names, nodding to the metaphorical use of the trade mark sign as a kind of brand or signature.
How FAST can you retweet this?
— Thee Trend Setter ™ (@xtiandela) May 8, 2018