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 homogenized, commercialized World®, but more often than not, done just because of the Rule of Funny. They can also be used to point out how Cliche something is, or employed 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 as "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 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. Disney Owns This Trope is related; it's when you make a joke that a concept, especially one that shouldn't or couldn't belong to a company, is now a trademark.
- 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!"
- 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!"
- Continuum®, Hera's Evil Plan in Incredible Hercules.
- 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.
- Sonic X: Eggman intruduces a robot version of himself called Egg-Gantor in issue #6 - and then, in small print: " Eggman Corporation, all rights reserved! So there!"
- 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 — great for trapping alien fiends of mass destruction!
- 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 fact, the issue of normalman mentioned above was the one which parodied this series.
- 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".
- Some Simpsons comics have Homer using these in his speech bubbles.
- In Hack/Slash, Cassie uses this to lampshade all the Slasher Movie cliches in "Campfire Stories":
- Cassie: A Hatchet ManTMand a Haunted CabinTM? This camp has everything!
- Kingdom Hearts fanfic Those Lacking Spines has Overly Detailed Purple Description Mode, as well other examples throughout the literature.
- Vindication of an Evil Angel, is a Code Geass fanfic that has Suzaku using the GRIN on Lelouch.
- Part Right, Half Wrong, a Third Crazy, an Axis Powers Hetalia fanfic, brings us "Epic, life-altering journey®".
- The Final Fantasy fanfic This Army Life has Sephiroth's Evil Smile.
- From Magic Winx! Fanfictionix! we have the Last Fairy of Earth.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- The Bronies use the phrase "Do Not Steal" like this when mocking poorly designed Original Characters. It's even a tag, along with the even worse "Donut Steel", on Derpibooru.
- In Seeking Power, the Tradesnark is an actual spell. Fortunately, it hasn't been used much.
- Used as part of a gag◊ on Ask King Sombra.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series: "...with my all-new DUEL DISK SYSTEM! ...Trademark."
- I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC: "Copyright Deadpool... Copy and I'll sue..."''
- 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 95💣" and "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?
- Done for The Rules of Supervillainy and its sequel The Games of Supervillainy with its titular character being Merciless: The Supervillain without Mercy.
- Old Man's War brings us two of the many technological advances which make the Colonial Defense Union's Super Soldier program so effective, a highly adaptive nanomachine replacement for blood called SmartBlood, and a combination computer and wireless communications device implanted in the brain known as a BrainPal. The narration even pauses at one point to Lampshade the inappropriate levity of the branding used for a computer exclusively used by soldiers in combat.
- On an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Howard uses Google Street View to find the location of the set of America's Next Top Model. He reacts, "God bless you, Google Street View Registered Trademark!"
- The Colbert Report:
- A serious employment of Trade Snark from Countdown with Keith Olbermann: in one of his Special Comments, the host refers to the way the September 11 attacks are used as a fear-mongering tactic by politicians, to the point where it is nothing more than a product used to win votes. Throughout the comment, Olbermann drives it into our minds by referring to the attacks as "9/11(tm)" over and over.
- The Daily Show: While reporting on Disney applying for a trademark on the name "SEAL Team 6" just days after the death of Osama bin Laden, Jon Stewart tried to beat them at their own game by trademarking The Lion King (1994). When he found out it's already trademarked, he trademarked the "TM" on the Lion King logo.
- The Doctor Who tie-in website for Cybus Industries includes an interview with John Lumic which is dotted with ®s, ©s and s, including Cybus Industries©, Cybusnet, Upgrade, Sleep Replacement System® and Czechoslovenia.
- Jackson Stewart and Oliver Oken of Hannah Montana ended their (in)famous cheese jerky rap with "Sizzlin' Stewart & Smokin' Oken Enterprises. Patent pending." Also, Rico owns the North American rights to his catch phrases "Hey-O!" and "Muahahahaha!"
- Kamen Rider Zero-One distinguishes the protagonist's company, Hiden Intelligence, from their rival ZAIA Enterprise in part by having ZAIA miss no opportunity to loudly promote their brand as part of their Corporate-Sponsored Superhero. Not only does Thouser's transformation jingle end in "Presented by ZAIA!", the special effects that accompany his Finishing Move emblazon the screen itself with © ZAIA Enterprise. For extra Jerkass points, Thouser is a copyright troll - most of his technology is stolen from others, and his main weapon (the Thousand Jacker) even lets him steal and copyright the heroes' attacks during a fight.
- 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.
- Green Day's "American Idiot" has one lyric written in its booklet as "Is calling out to idiot America".
- 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!"
- WWE games (and their manuals), the blurb on the back of home video releases, press releases and other assorted media frequently have a TM symbol for every superstar (wrestler) mentioned. As in: "Matt Hardy went on to fight Christian...".
- For a period in the Attitude Era around the turn of the millennium, two such names stood out as they were registered trademarks — so one would see the likes of "Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Triple H vs The Rock®", and The Undertaker®'s Ministry of Darkness. Presumably the words "rock" and "undertaker" already being part of the language meant they could not be simply trademarked like the other names.
- "World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.'s trademarks and service marks, including not only its world famous WWE and WWE marks, but also the names of its Superstars (like John Cena, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, etc.), are protected by state, federal, and international trademark laws."
- According to a minor wrestler just starting, the entire reason that Vince McMahon has them take stage names: so he can own the name and persona.
- When appearing in WWE, David Heath initially wrestled under the name Gangrel, a name taken from Vampire: The Masquerade and a trademark of White Wolf.note Cue WWE flashing the trademark notice upon returning from commercial every time Gangrel was about to appear, in video games where the character featured, etc.
- 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. Hogan later personally bought out Marvel's claim on his ring name.
- 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).
- The ever snarky and self-deprecating Jack FM series of radio stations makes fun of one of their own Catch Phrases.
Station Voice: Wait, Jack FM actually trademarked the phrase "A Bunch of Songs in a Row"? That's so weird.
- The old gamer legend that back in the day of their apparently short-lived Indiana Jones role-playing game, TSR (then-owners of Dungeons & Dragons) actually claimed a trademark on the term "Nazi".
- While names of characters were trademarked all through the short run of the role-playing game, "Nazi" can be found on the fold-up 'miniatures' included in module IJ 2, Raiders of the Lost Ark and the character sheets for NPC Nazi's in the same module.
- 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).
- Games Workshop's Lord of the Rings models have trademarks accompanying all character names on the boxes, which is perfectly justifiable considering they don't own the rights to the characters as they're producing the game on license from New Line Cinema. Doesn't make it any less silly when an article on White Dwarf includes trademarks every time they mention Bilbo or Gandalf. They seem to have caught on on how silly it looks so later issues have just written the names in italics.
- John Lang Penof Chaos, author of Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk(), also developed an eponymous tabletop role-playing game based on his universe, and likes to describe sideffects or tactics like "Fear", or "Ruse" in his manuals. This is totally in-universe, since Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk takes place in a RPG universe, where levels, factions, characteristics are elements of the everyday life, and where "Ruse" could actually be trademarked, as much as "fireball".
- 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.
- LucasArts seems to be fond of this, as seen in Day of the Tentacle with Dr. Fred's Sludge-O-Matic, and in the design document, the Chron-O-John.
- EVE Online:
- CCP hf is known for having patches that will be released "Soon". And 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".
- The symbol for one of the factions — Caldari State — is a giant ©-Symbol
- Soon shows up in other MMOs as well. 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". There are several other variants documented.
- It shows up on The Lord of the Rings Online forums, as well. One of the bluenames made a list over all the various trademarks used, which details the difference between a patch arriving Soon, "Soon", Soon, soon, and other similar trademars. Most of which, of course, doesn't give you any clue whatsoever to how long you'll have to wait for the patch.
- 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.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (NES): FREDDY'S COMING!
The Angry Video Game Nerd: Oh God! Is Freddy coming? He sure is!
- 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!
- In the DOS game Contraption Zack, the title hero introduces himself with:
Zack: Hey guys! How's it going? My name is Zack©
- Every time someone mentions the term RPG in Segagaga, there's a disclaimer 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 brings us the Stanley Parable Adventure Line from the "Confusion" ending, which has the symbol stuck on in the subtitles every time The Line is mentioned.
- Undertale has a couple of fans of Mettaton who each describe their "fave Mettaton Moment(TM)." There's also MTT-Brand Burger Emporium's slogan, "Sparkle up your day (TM)," though this is a somewhat plausible-sounding trademark.
- Paradigm has The Cone TM
- The Battle Cats features Eraser Cat, which according to its description has "Really Good Defense". In this case, the Tradesnarked term is completely accurate.
- In The Ditty of Carmeana, video game clichés such as Rescue the Princess and The Chosen One are trademarked, even in the dialogue captions.
- Taken to new realms in Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded, where the symbol has itself been trademarked!
Narrator: Note: the "" Trademark symbol is a registered trademark® of Trademark Registry Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Copyright© Registered Trademarks, LLC.
- The World of Warships community frequently jokes that Wargaming (the company that owns WoWS) has trademarked the word "Soon" since that is typically the only response that was ever given when the playerbase inquired as to when a new feature (usually a premium ship or tech tree line) would come out.
- Homestar Runner has Sbemailiarized Entertainment © ® LLC,,. Esq., which becomes Sbemailiarized Entertainment © ® LLC,,. GQ and Sbemailiarized Entertainment © ® LLC,,. FHM.
- 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.)"
- 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").
- Yume-Hime: From the Page 13 author's notes.
"...Depression, alienation, and other such Serious Issues will come to play a big role in this comic."
- Zadok in 1/0, when advertising the "Horizonite" or the "Oil®".
- xkcd: Discussed. (Or is that Invoked, since the trademark is real, but the snark is snark?)
- Destroy the Godmodder®: the Curse of Repetition has been trademarked by twin.
- 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.
- Hellfire Commentaries:
- This exchange from Sonic CD playthrough, describing the race against Metal Sonic:
Tom: And don't forget Robotnik is chasing you with a Death Laser.
Tom: And if you get caught by that, the Death Laser—
Tom: —you will die.
Tom: Yes, I trademarked death; that's right.
- Also, during the Dramatic Reading of the Total Justice miniseries, every mention of 'Fractal Tech Gear' is followed by an interjection of 'trademark' by Helldragon.
- This exchange from Sonic CD playthrough, describing the race against Metal Sonic:
- Hardcore: We'll probably get modded for this.
- RedLetterMedia: Mr. Plinkett does use this to great effect on his Attack of the Clones Review. He also uses it in his Avatar review.
- The Nerd Crew podcast also does this, with the Star Wars Backpack Pack Nerd Box.
- SCP Foundation: A common feature of Dr. Wondertainment® entries.
SCP-1553: WARNING: Remember that Shadow Creatures are as friendly (or dangerous!) as you imagine them to be. Do not attempt to draw Real people using Shadow Paint Play-Set. Dr. Wondertainment is not responsible for injury, discomfort, or existential crisis resulting from misuse of Shadow Paint Play-Set.
- There's also SCP-2557, A Holding of Envelope Logistics®:
Description: The concept of SCP-2557, as a set of Special Containment Procedures in the Foundation Database, is a possession of Envelope Logistics®, the leading buyer, seller and holding company for abstract concepts in the tri-universe region.
- There's also SCP-2557, A Holding of Envelope Logistics®:
- 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.
- Memetic Mutation example: a Brazilian Twitter started to mock how the local media praised Belgium's footballers by at times adding the trademark, "great Belgian generation". It caught on quickly.
- In What If? #108, an expensive software called Adobe®© Photoshop®© CS® 5 is mentioned.
- On the Q&A website Quora, a user Dave Consiglio answered a lot of questions about the effect of hypothetical catastrophic events (huge asteroids, evaporating oceans, peanut butter overdose) and they got so popular that at some point he with a good portion of Quora users started using the trademark sign Everbody Dies.
- Daniel Hardcastle, or Nerd³, has a video known as Nerd³ Plays Barbie Dreamhouse Party. Made funnier by the fact that "Barbie" only has one trademark but "party" has three.
- In the animated trailer for The Adventure Zone: Balance, Taako is listed as "Taako, you know, from TV".
- After taking over Fox News' "Fair And Balanced" slogan for his own show, Some More News, anytime Cody now mentions this slogan, he will add ©® after.
- SsethTzeentach uses the symbol in the titles of his videos as a Running Gag. Examples include his Morrowind review ("A Moon-Sugar Fortified Experience"), his STALKER review ("Soviet Survival Simulator"), his Deus Ex review ("Stop Globalists | Tase Children"), and his God Hand review ("Beat Thugs | Demons | Women").
- The Simpsons:
- Krusty the Clown example:
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 practicing woodwork. One of them is a sign which reads "The Simpsons (in the show's trademark font) © 20th Century Fox".
- Krusty the Clown example:
- 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.
- The Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode featuring the Batman (1966) live-action series cast has Space Ghost look for "Batman. Restricted." (Space Ghost is misidentifying the Registered® symbol.)
- Spongebob Squarepants tends to refer to the Frisbee flying disk as "small plastic disk that you throw".
- Kaeloo has "Time Machine Express", a company that sells time machines.
- In an episode of Superman: The Animated Series, Brainiac forces Lex Luthor to build him a new body. Once Brainiac is defeated, Superman wants the military to examine Brainiac, but Lex claims that the body belongs to him because every piece used in its construction is trademarked to LexCorp.
- 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.
- Dave Barry parodied this in his book "In Cyberspace" when talking about Windows 95 and Microsoft.
- "Anti-consumerist collective" ®ark.
- On Twitter it is not uncommon to see people add a "" after a phrase for ironic reasons, such as proclaiming something frivolous and trivial as extremely important, for example when referring to The Discourse, or when being sarcastic, such as referring to something very bad as Extremely Good.
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.