Trademark Symbols in Scientific Writing

With the continuous stream of new instruments and techniques in mass spectrometry, it isn’t surprising to see trademark symbols sprinkled liberally about in papers, presentations, and proposals. On the other hand, use of these symbols in non-commercial scientific writing is unnecessary.

The symbol ™ designates a trademark and ® designates a federally registered trademark, for example DuPont™ Teflon®, styrofoam®, or adrenalin®. Trademarks are used in commerce to distinguish unique products and protect intellectual property. In scientific writing, they aren’t necessary and most style guides recommend against their use.

The ACS Style Guide instructs: “do not use trademark (™) and registered trademark (®) symbols.” The AMA Style manual also recommends omitting the symbol (but capitalizing the name). The Chicago Manual of Style (p 446, see also here) says “Although the symbols ® and ™ often accompany trademark names on product packaging and in promotional material, there is no legal requirement to use these symbols, and they should be omitted wherever possible.” The NCBI Style Guide recommends using the symbols (if known) only on their first occurrence, not on every use.

Don’t use the symbols in scientific writing. If for some reason you feel you must, use them on the first occurrence only.