“TM” stands for “Trademark”, which means that something is owned by someone else and can’t be used by anyone else.
For instance, a website’s domain name can be trademarked. This way, no one other than the trademark owner can use that domain name. Simple, right?
However, in some cases, users use the “TM” expression jokingly. They don’t own the trademarks for something. They just act as they do.
Confused yet? No need to be! Check out my guide below to get a clearer picture of how “TM” is used on Instagram!
Examples of Trademarks
Almost anything can be trademarked as long as it’s used for a specific purpose. Here are a few examples of things you can trademark:
Whenever you go into a shop, you’ll see trademarks all around you. Whether it’s the logo of a popular jeans company or a cool design on a jacket, those are trademarked elements that the company paid for, and only THEY can use them.
Companies need to register these trademarks to assert legal ownership of these elements. When they do this, the law also protects them from trademark infringement (aka when someone else decides they want to use those elements too).
The trademark owner can sue you if you use their company’s trademarked logo for your website. And they’ll win in most cases.
Because the law protects them, they were the first to create that particular logo and registered it with the competent authorities. It’s their logo, not yours. Hands off!
Do Instagram Users Use “TM” with its Literal Meaning?
No, they don’t, in most cases. Instagram users don’t mean they have trademarked something when they type in “TM” at the end of a message.
They want to draw attention to the uniqueness of their idea and that it’s something very important and cool.
But they didn’t patent that idea and don’t have legal ownership. For instance, someone could say, “I’ve made the best banana toast sandwich™.”
Does that mean they’ve trademarked their banana toast sandwich, and no one else is allowed to make or sell it?
No, it sure as hell doesn’t mean that. They could have done that, though. But they likely didn’t. “TM” is used humoristically in these cases.
This means you don’t have to worry if you’ve used someone else’s wording, emoji, or something else they marked with “TM” on Instagram.
What Else Can “TM” Mean?
“TM” can also mean “Text Message” on Instagram. Someone could say, “Hey, tm me later on when you’re free,” asking the other person to send them a text message.
However, this use of “TM” is not common on Instagram. If it is, people only use it in isolated cases, and if you ask other people what it means, they’ll still refer to the “trademark meaning“.
Moreover, most people will know that the “TM” term means “trademark” when used in specific contexts like promoting a new product or technology.
If you’re unsure about the meaning of the “TM” term, look at the context. Is the other person using the term at the end of a sentence?
Then, most likely, they’re referring to “trademark“, even if not in the literal sense of the word. If “TM” looks like a verb, it means “text message“.
You can always ask if you’re not sure about something.
If you have questions about the meaning of “TM” on Instagram, feel free to comment below. I’ll reply as soon as possible.
Stay tuned for more articles on Instagram!