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Tradesnark™
"Paging through the movie's press kit, I came across this quote attributed to Amy Jo Johnson, who plays Kimberly, the Pink Power Ranger: "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers™: The Movie is a mix between Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz." I wonder if Amy Jo actually said "TM" when she was delivering that wonderfully fresh and spontaneous quote, which is so much more involved than anything she says in the movie."

A humorous way to make Things™ stand out is to add Random Trademark Symbols® everywhere. May be used as a Social Commentary® on our increasingly homogenised, commercialised World®, but more often than not, done just because of the Rule of Funny™. They can also be used in Sarcasm Mode (perhaps in conjunction with Scare Quotes) to passive-aggressively imply that something exists only as a concept™; for example, some people refer to "Global Warming™". Another sarcastic variation is to sprinkle Trade Snark over your paraphrase of an opponent's position to imply that he's using the term in question as a meaningless buzzword®.

For added Spice™, try adding Registered Trademark® and Copyright© Symbols®©™. (This is not actually how copyright™ works.)

And of course it's always fun to have characters with Medium Awareness™ compliment others on their expert use of the "™," especially if the copyright symbol appears on the word as written but not the word as spoken.

Compare Stuck on Band-Aid Brand for a similarly awkward attempt to acknowledge ownership of a brand, minus the Lampshade Hanging.


    open/close all folders 

Examples™:

     Advertising™ 
  • There was an Intel radio ad where this was lampshaded - one of the announcers mentioned "Intel(TM)", and the other commented, "Good use of the trademark symbol!"

     Anime and Manga® 

     Comic Books® 
  • The BEYOND Corporation© from Nextwave.
  • Deadpool™ had a field day with this.
    And now Marvel has their very own Civil War™ — do we have a ™? We are talking about trademark lawyers who once tried to put a ™ on the word Death™, so...
    It started with these New Warriors® dweebs screwing up and making a bad guy named Nitro™ blow up and take a school in Stanford with him.
  • Occasionally played straight in Comic Books when someone will say the name of a character and the name appears as their logo in the Speech Bubble.
    Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman™!
  • More than one wag has pointed out that, for half a century, Robin® the Boy Wonder™ wore something that looked uncannily like a Registered Trademark symbol on his chest.
  • The shortlived, humorous Marvel comic What The? used this gag more than once.
  • One issue of normalman had a field day with this. Whenever a comic-book company's lawyers get skittish about protecting their intellectual property, you'll see a flurry of issues where little ™ or ® signs appear next to the main characters' names (and, sometimes, the main characters' vehicle names, e.g. "Batmobile™"). So, in the Normalman issue in question, he put a ™ after everything.
  • The miracle plastic Boing® in Judge Dredd.
  • One issue of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac involves Johnny meeting God™.
  • One character - mentioned but not seen - in Grant Morrison's Doom Force was named TM™.
  • All over the place in American Flagg.
  • In Reid Fleming, World's Toughest Milkman, at a New Years Eve party, Reid gets trapped by a droning bore who starts explaining that he lives by thirty different principles. "They help me define my Head Space™".

     Fan Works® 

     Film™ 
  • Guru Pitka of The Love Guru used these on advice-giving acronyms.
    • And on the posters for the film itself, the title has a "TM" by it.

     Literature™ 
  • Used a lot in the Thursday Next series, especially the Goliath™ Corporation ("for all you'll ever need™"), but also the Toast™ Marketing Board and others. In the Bookworld, there's the UltraWord™ story delivery system. (Earlier systems, such as BOOK 8.3 which the Bookworld returns to at the end of the novel, are not trademarked and are presumably open source).
  • The Seems, by John Hulme and Michael Wexler, features this on all devices used by residents and Fixers of the Seems.
  • Dave Barry's book Dave Barry In Cyberspace features a Running Gag of referring to Microsoft's products (especially versions of Windows®©™) with trademark symbols after the names, including one long sequence in which other bizarre symbols are put after things, such as "Windows 95BILLGATESISAWIENER."
  • Will Ferguson's Happiness™ is about a self-help book that actually works, turning people into happy zombies and making the publishing company so much money that they trademark the word "happiness".
  • The Cyberpunk M. T. Anderson. novel Feed has Clouds™ and School™.
  • One page at the end of the Principia Discordia uses a circled K (similar to that used to mark Kosher products, but in this case standing for 'Kallisti') followed by the phrase "All Rites Reversed", to indicate that it was being released into public domain.
    • Which was (alongside the Illuminatus! trilogy, itself inspired by the Principia Discordia) part of the inspiration for acidhouse band The KLF (aka Kopyright Liberation Front, aka K Foundation, aka The JAMS) and some of their more controversial work.
  • "The words ScreeWee (tm), Empire (tm) and Mankind (tm) are registered trademarks of Gobi Software, Tibet."Terry Pratchett, Only You Can Save Mankind
  • The sequel to Daniel Suarez' Daemon, titled Freedom™
  • The Unidentified by Rae Mariz has intouch® (basically an iPhone) and notebook®. Considering the book takes place in a school in a mall owned by a corporation, consumerism is a big theme.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland puts a superscript OMT (Offical Management Term) on words or phrases that are, in the author's opinion, particularly overused in Extruded Fantasy Product.
  • America (The Book) has a number of "Were You Aware?" facts in the margins, but what pushes it into this territory appears midway through.
    Were You Aware? That the term Did You Know? is copyrighted by another publisher?

     Live-Action TV™ 

     Music® 
  • The Groovegrass Boyz, a country music/funk band, released Groovegrass® 101 featuring the Groovegrass Boyz™.
  • The interstitial tracks of the P.D.Q Bach album Two Pianos Are Better Than One play the role of an automated touch tone service called "Inter-Ear TelecommuniCulturePhone™." The trademark symbol is pronounced every time, represented by a recording of Schickele cheerily saying "Trademark!" shifted up to chipmunk pitch.

    Newspaper™ Comics® 

    Pinball™ 
  • An Enforced Trope in Gottlieb's The Amazing Spider-Man. Every single piece of Spider-Man art on the backglass and playfield is accompanied by a Trademark symbol. It becomes rather annoying when trying to admire the artwork.
  • Also enforced in Bally's The Six Million Dollar Man, where every mention of "bionic" is accompanied by a trademark symbol.
    Steve Austin: "Red alert! Full BIONIC™ power!"
  • In The Wizard of Oz, all of the characters' names are accompanied by TM symbols, resulting in status messages like "Dorothy™ Captured!"

     Professional Wrestling® 
  • The WWF (WWE) No Mercy manual (and probably others) had a TM symbol for every wrestler superstar mentioned in the opening blurb. As in: "Matt Hardy™ went on to fight Christian™..."
    • "All World Wrestling Entertainment programming, talent names, images, likenesses, slogans, wrestling moves, trademarks, logos and copyrights are the exclusive property of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. and its subsidiaries."
    • According to a minor wrestler just starting, the entire reason that Vince McMahon has them take face names: so he can own the name and persona.
  • When appearing in WWE, David Heath initially wrestled under the name Gangrel™, a character in Vampire: The Masquerade and a trademark of White Wolf. Cue WWE flashing the trademark upon returning from commercial every time Gangrel was about to appear.
  • The Incredible Hulk Hogan gained ire from Marvel, and, under the threat of a lawsuit, the WWE had to pay residuals to Marvel every time the name was used. Pointedly, when Hogan went to the WCW, he quickly changed his character to "Hollywood Hogan", presumably because TBS wasn't thrilled about paying.
  • It appears often in other materials; the Tabletop Game 'Know Your Role' also has scattered trademark symbols on various wrestlers. It's not omnipresent, but it's likely to show up when a group are listed.
  • Hilariously, the wrestler Steve Borden actually owns the trademark for his ring name Sting. The musician of the same name has to pay Steve whenever he performs in the U.S. However, Sting the wrestler is very reasonable about it and the fee is extremely low (around $1 and the occasional ticket).

    Roleplay™ 

     Tabletop Games® 
  • The old gamer legend that back in the day of their apparently short-lived Indiana Jones role-playing game, TSR (then-owners of D&D) actually claimed a trademark on the term "Nazi".
  • Munchkin has Professor Tesla's Electrical Protective Device (pat. pending).
  • Also used in Paranoia, with one secret society using "The Force is with us, Tee-Em" as part of its recognition symbol. And then there's the Semantics Control firms, which actively try to inflict this upon everyone in Alpha Complex (leading to much hilarity and no small number of weapons discharges).
  • A supplement for the Vampire: The Masquerade mockbuster Vampire: Undeath claimed a trademark on, of all things, "Realistic Fiction". Needless to say, commentators had a lot of fun with this.

     Video Games® 
  • I'm O.K - A Murder Simulator had the final boss a giant (Mario) with a trademark symbol hanging in mid air next to him at all times.
  • The Monkey Island games have them in the dialog text, but not the voice acting in the later games. Some characters seem to notice their presence even so; in Escape from Monkey Island, a lawyer complements Guybrush on "Nice use of the ™" in Melee Island™. Even Guybrush says the word "™" while he summons his wife Elaine to the Flotsam Island Courthouse in Tales of Monkey Island.
  • CCP hf is known for having patches that will be released "Soon™".
    • Not just patches. Planetary interaction, atmospheric flight, walking in stations, and numerous other promised features have been coming Soon™ for years. Even admittedly unfinished COSMOS sites have agents handing you missions with the helpful and in-depth description of "Soon™".
  • From a Have a Nice Death sequence in the VGA remake of Space Quest I:
    Scott: Let's run that one again with the aid of our new How-He-Blew-It Cam (TM) and Chalkboard (TM). I have to say that carefully, Mark. Every time we mention something with a trademark or copyright, the lawyers come out to feed.
    • Speaking of which, I dare you to find a single Sierra Golden-Age Adventure Game that DIDN'T have a 'something'™ in it...
  • FREDDY'S™ COMING!
  • The Nameless Mod: The subtitles for the speech of Goats shows that they trademarked slightly misspelled versions of every other word. The most important one is "Melk™", which they use as a drug for some reason.
  • Portal 2 has some of this in the game, but it mostly shows up in the promotional material.
    Asbestos Is Harmless!™
  • When players ask Blizzard Entertainment employees about when something long anticipated in World of Warcraft will be released, one of the most common responses is "Soon™"
    • Lampshaded by the developers for Blizzard Dota where the game is advertised to be realeased "Soonish™", with the voice-over annoyed saying "Seriously".
  • Tends to be used to a ridiculous degree in a lot of Dragon Ball lisenced games: the characters in character select screens often have trademark symbols after their names. Good thing it doesn't carry over to dialogue or their lifebars...
  • The DOS game Contraption Zack, our titular hero introduces himself with
    "Hey guys! How's it going? My name is Zack©™"
  • Everytime that someone mentions the term RPG in Segagaga, there's a diaclaimer that pops out to tell us that "RPGs are a trademark of Bandai" note 
  • The Namco Museum Compilation Rereleases on the PlayStation was originally five volumes, each represented on the cover as a letter from Namco's logo: N, A, M, C, and O. When Namco Museum Encore was later released on the same system, Namco followed the previous pattern by having the boxart be the ® from the Namco logo.
  • The Stanley Parable Adventure Line™ has the ™ symbol stuck on in the closed captions every time It™'s mentioned.

     Web Animation™ 
  • Homestar Runner has Sbemailiarized Entertainment™ © ® LLC,,. Esq., which becomes Sbemailiarized Entertainment™ © ® LLC,,. GQ and Sbemailiarized Entertainment™ © ® LLC,,. FHM.

    Web Comics™ 
  • On the website ryansheppard.com the main comic is known as TM(tm) being a parody of this trope even though there are no actual trademarks on the name but some are pending.
  • The MS Paint Adventures home page used to take the snark approach with their notice of copyright (still legally binding), but it was revised to a more standard approach with the mid-2011 site redesign.
  • The "Technobabble Box™" series from The Way of the Metagamer.
  • Done almost gratuitously throughout Sonichu.
  • Precocious: Mommy Relaxation Time™
  • Princess Pi introduces Pi's archival as, "Princess Ip!® Princess Pi's greatest enemy!™"
  • One of the Royal Sides in Erfworld is actually named Hobbittm, with "tm" being part of the word, as a parody of the Tolkien Estate's zealous enforcement of their right (and particularly their trademarking of the word "hobbit").

     Web Original™ 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series™: "...with my all new DUEL DISK SYSTEM! ...Trademark".
  • This bash.org quote.
  • In AH.com: The Series, Thande's all-purpose suggestion to solve any problem is "Daring Commando Raid™"
  • ScrewAttack's list of Worst Fighting Games Ever says "Batman (trademark) and Superman (trademark)" during Justice League Task Force.
  • Charlie from Charlieissocoolike does this constantly regarding the phrase "What I decided to do." He pronounces the ™ Tee Em.
  • This RPGnet forum post.
    • RPGnet threads on Palladium Books get this treatment a lot.
  • Retarded Animal Babies blows this out the window in episode 3. Matt Groening says that he is here to prevent RAB from out-grossing his "vastly superior Simpsons©®™©®©©®©™™©©™™™™™™ movie. (Make sure subtitles are on.)"
  • This exchange from Hellfire Commentaries' Sonic CD playthrough, describing the race against Metal Sonic:
    Tom: And don't forget Robotnik is chasing you with a Death Laser™.
    FTA: (laughs)
    Tom: And if you get caught by that, the Death Laser—
    FTA: ™.
    Tom: —you will die.
    FTA: ™.
    Tom: Yes, I trademarked death; that's right.
    FTA: ™.
  • Hardcore™: We'll probably get modded for this.
  • Mr Plinkett does use this to great effect on his Attack of the Clones Review. He also uses it in his Avatar review.
  • "Copyright Deadpool... Copy and I'll sue..."
  • The Whateley Universe doesn't bother with a lot of trademark and copyright symbols, but Phase routinely puts the trademark and copyright symbols on every (mythical) Goodkind Industries product that gets mentioned, in large part because he is one of the Goodkinds.

     Western Animation™ 
  • Some Simpsons comics have Homer using these in his speech bubbles.
  • From The Simpsons show itself:
    Campers: We will always love Kamp Krusty / A registered trademark of the Krusty Korporation / All rights reserved!
    • The episode 'Please Homer, Don't Hammer 'Em' features a scene showing some of the items Marge has made practising woodwork. One of them is a sign which reads "The Simpsons (in the show's trademark font) © 20th Century Fox".
  • Futurama's Momcorp apparently holds the trademarks on "screen door" and "love", among other words.
    • The Nimbus's laser cannon has a maximum power setting labeled Hyperdeath™.
    • Trespassers will be "deathsecuted™"
  • In an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, a Bat-signal appears in the air, with a "TM" quickly flying up next to it.
  • From the Animaniacs videotape "You Will Buy This Video":
    Brain: Join me, as I gleefully lead you on a journey of the mind, courtesy of my latest invention... HypnoVision!
    Pinky: Trademark, Brain?
    Brain: Yes, Pinky. Trademark.
  • Bucky Bailey's Bully Buckers™ in the South Park episode "Butterballs" is pronounced, verbatim, "Bully Buckers, trademark," every single time.

     Real Life™ 
  • "The expression 'Breakfast of Champions' is a registered trademark of General Mills, Inc. for use on a breakfast cereal product. The use of the identical expression as the title for Kurt Vonnegut's book is not intended to indicate an association with or sponsorship by General Mills, nor is it intended to disparage their fine products."
    • In this case, this note wasn't needed since trademarks are limited in the type of products they can apply to. While the limits can be vaguely defined, no court would consider this an infringement. However, both companies most likely settled an arrangement just in case (as seen commonly in copyright with fair use cases), which probably included adding that notice to the book.
  • In a dismaying example from Real Life, Barney's catchphrase. And the names of his friends. Super-dee-Duper™, Baby Bop™!
  • Back when UNIX was first released as a commercial product in 1983, AT&T started insisting that people refer to it as "the UNIX(tm) Operating System" or something similar to that. People on Usenet almost immediately started referring to the OS as "UN*X" as a subtle Take That, and there was even one BSD-based product called "MT XINU" whose advertising included such things as a BSD-powered X-Wing rocketing away from an AT&T logo wreathed in flames. This became less popular after AT&T sold off the UNIX group in the mid-1990s.
    • Ironically, during the late 1990s, the Open Source Unix clone Linux (you've heard of it I assume) ran into trademark trouble when a random troll named William Della Croce secured the trademark and attempted to shake down the community for usage rights. Della Croce disappeared back into the woodwork when the trademark was revoked and reassigned to Linus Torvalds himself. Around the same time, some people on Usenet and web forums started replacing "UN*X" with "*n?x", a filename pattern that matches both "Unix" and "Linux".
    • Thanks to a lot of software cross-compatibility, operating systems like Linux, BSD forks, and Mac's Mach/BSD kernel have become known as "*NIX" platforms.
    • AT&T was so notorious for this that more than one paper included (in the page one footnotes on trademarks) a statement like "and UNIX, although not mentioned in this paper, is a registered trademark of AT&T."
  • Another Roger Ebert example, from his review of Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen: "The dialog of the Autobots®, Decepticons® and Otherbots® is meaningless word flap."
  • Numerous A-list porn stars have their names (or, more accurately, their stage names) trademarked. This is disconcerting enough, but particularly weird in the case of alt-porn star Stoya, whose stage name is no more than a clipped form of her real last name.
  • Tell him that's silly to Harlan Ellison, who actually did register his name as a trademark.
  • Real estate agents in the National Association of Realtors must be called REALTORS®. Yes, with all caps.
  • The word spam only refers to unsolicited emails. In order for it to be the canned meat product, it must be SPAM®.
  • Remember: This image has been manipulated by Adobe® Photoshop® software.
  • Any reference to The World Cup on ESPN is written as "World Cup™". Even on the ticker or lower-thirds, regardless.
  • As a Shout-Out to This Very Wiki, TV critic Jaime Weinman always adds a ™ and usually capitalizes the word Trope™ whenever he uses it.
  • "Curtis Got Slapped by a White Teacher". Not an example of actual snark, as the document seems to be genuine (though it must be seen to be believed). Ms. Bowen probably intended to trademark her son's name and her own (as if that weren't strange enough), but she has instead copyrighted them; this may result from her apparent belief, as stated in the letter's opening paragraph, that one's children are one's "intellectual property". (A perusal of the entire document, however, reveals that a discrepancy in nomenclature is the least of this woman's problems.)
  • Dave Barry parodied this in his book "In Cyberspace" when talking about Windows 95 and Microsoft.
  • Beyoncé and Jay-Z decided to trademark their baby's name.
  • @ your library® is a registered trademark of the American Library Association. "The Campaign for America's Libraries can only be a success if libraries across the country-and across the world-use the trademark consistently in accordance with the following guidelines."
  • There was a lot of snark over the heavyhanded way the London Organising Commitee for the Olympic Games™ claimed trademark not just of the London Summer Olympics 2012™ but of Summer 2012™ and London 2012™, in any contexts.
  • "Anti-consumerist collective" ®™ark.


Tradesnark, Humorous, Things, Random, Trademark, Symbols, Commentary, Funny, World, Spice and Examples are all trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Trope Co. in the United States and/or other countries. All rights reserved.
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