What is the difference between TM (or SM) and actually registering a trademark?
They’re essentially the same thing, but before you register a trademark you can, if you’re selling tennis shoes, things, you can put a little TM after your brand. Nevin’s TM Tennis Shoes for example. If you’re selling services, Nevin’s Dry Cleaning Services. It would be Nevin’s SM. Once you get a federally registered mark, it shifts to R in a circle, which you can only use if you have a registered mark and it covers both TM and SM.