A trademark must have some uniqueness to distinguish the goods/services sold under the trademark from other goods/services. It is difficult to register trademarks that describe your goods (such as telephones) and services (such as telephone operators). This is by no means a sign that other traders may wish to use to promote or describe their goods and services, nor should they mislead the public about the nature of your goods and services.
In Hong Kong, the Customs and Excise Department is empowered to prosecute the illegal use of symbol ® by trader without valid trademark registration.
Use of ® symbol
What is the difference between “TM” and ® symbols? Are there any restrictions on using these symbols? To answer this question: “TM” stands for “trademark”. It shows that the public can identify specific brands, goods and services through the trademark. You can use the “TM” symbol for both registered or unregistered trademarks. The symbol “®” indicates that the trademark is a registered trademark. If you have not registered a trademark in the local registration authority, it is illegal to use the symbol ®”.