Frequently Asked Questions

What are Plant Trademarks and how do I use them?

This video explains plant trademarks and how and when to use them. Trademarked names are not the same as cultivar names. This video also explains how to properly list the plant names.
Why are you asking me to make these changes?
A plant can be identified with a trademark, a cultivar or variety name, and a genus or species. It is important to distinguish those three items and use them appropriately.
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a word, name, logo, or phrase adopted and used by a company to identify its goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others. Trademarks, also referred to as marks or trade names or brands, are usually designated with either a TM or an ® symbol. A TM symbol usually designates an unregistered trademark and an ® symbol designates a registered trademark.

Trademarks play an important role in commerce to establish brand identification. Trademarks are a legal form of intellectual property protection and are very valuable assets of their respective owners. It is important to use the TM or ® symbol wherever possible to inform the public of the owner’s rights and to protect the value of the trademark. Examples include: Endless Summer®, Drift®, Encore®, Red Sunset®, Incrediball®

When should I use quotes?
Single quotes are used to designate a cultivar/variety. There should be no quotes on a trademark or a genus/species.
When should I use italics?
Italics are used to designate a scientific name, genus or species. There should be no italics on a trademark or cultivar/variety.

Example: Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Bailmer’ / Endless Summer® The Original Hydrangea

What is the proper way to list the item?
A plant should be identified with its trademark and its cultivar/variety and its genus/species. Ideally list out all three.

Example: Redpointe® Maple / Acer rubrum ‘Frank Jr.’ PP16769

Is it acceptable if the catalog and website are different from the availability in the way the items are listed?
The catalog and website should have the full listing. If space is an issue on your availability, it is best to use at least the trademark with proper TM or ® symbol.

Example: Easy Elegance® Macy’s Pride™ / Rosa ‘BAIcream’ PP15574 Rose for catalog and website
Example: Easy Elegance® Macy’s Pride™ PP15574 for list

Our availability list is our catalog, how can we fit everything in with limited space?
If space is a limitation, use the trademark, with TM or ® symbol, and variety.

Example: Sunny Knock Out® Rose

I have a limited amount of characters for my line items, how should I abbreviate?
Genus and species can be abbreviated as you see fit with preference on the fully spelled out trademark, with TM or ® symbol, and variety.

Example: Hyd arb Incrediball® Hydrangea

Should I use the marks if we have to abbreviate the brand? Example PW, ES, KO
Trademarks should never be abbreviated or modified.
My software does not allow for symbols such as ® and ™ what should I do?
If the symbols ® and ™ are not available in your software, use ( R ) or ( TM )

Example: Knock Out (R ) Pink Rose, Thuja Fire Chief ( TM )

Can I do a heading of the series and list the varieties below without repeating the series name? Example: Knock Out® Roses and then list colors below.
Yes, that is acceptable.
Do I need to repeat Drift® in the body of the text description if it is in the header? Or can I just say in the text Drift Roses without the ® symbol if the symbol is in the primary spot in the header?
Ideally use the TM or ® symbol with the trademark all the time. If that is not possible, use the trademark with the TM or ® symbol in the first instance or most predominate position for the text.
Must I use the logo? If so, where can I get it?
Ideally use the logos in catalogs and websites. Downloads for the logos are available on the website. If you have a brand column on your availability, you can put a small logo in place of the text. As with all trademarks, the logo should never be modified or distorted.
Must I use the full botanical name and patent as well as the trademark?
Preferably, yes, with emphasis on the trademark such as Encore® Azalea in a website or catalog setting. For a list a plants, the trademark is acceptable, along with appropriate TM or ® symbol.

Example: Encore® Azalea Autumn Starburst® / Rhododendron ‘Robleze’ PP32605 for catalog and website

Example: Encore® Azalea Autumn Starburst® PP32605 for list

When do I need to use the ® or ™ when referencing a plant name that is trademarked?

Any time a trademarked plant is mentioned, in print or online, the name of the plant should include either the ® symbol, for plants with registered trademarks, or the ™ symbol for plants with unregistered trademarks. A plant’s trademarked name is distinct and separate from its cultivar name and from its botanical name, so both the trademark and the cultivar name should be used in conjunction with the plant.

Example: Apricot Drift® Rose PP23,354/ Rosa ‘Meimirrote’
(trademarked name / scientific (or botanical) name and ‘cultivar’

The ™ or ® symbols can be used throughout all printed and digital material, but at a minimum these symbols must be included at the first and/or most prominent use of the mark.

Which part of the plant name typically is denoted with single quotes (‘)?

Single quotation marks indicate the specific cultivar of a plant. A cultivar is a plant variety that has been produced by selective breeding.

Example: ‘Berlin Rabe’ is the name of the cultivar in the patented and trademarked plant name:
Bigleaf Hydrangea Cityline® Berlin PP10,912
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Berlin Rabe’


Can cultivar names also be trademarked?

No. A trademark on a plant protects only the plant’s name, not the plant cultivar itself. Another person could propagate a trademarked plant, but not call it the same variety name. An example of trademarked varieties include the Endless Summer hydrangeas.    

Where can I search for plant patents or patented plant names?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) maintains a database of all patents and trademarks. The USPTO website,, offers tutorials on how to search for patents, registered trademarks and applications for both.

You may also use the Google Advanced Search for patents: Be sure to change the Patent Type/Status dropdown to Plant (PP).