I feel compelled to respond to the letter from John Grant in the Oct. 2, 2013 issue of the City Paper (The Mail), if only to reassure the City Paper that it may (and should) indeed use the TM symbol with its BESTY trademark. Any trademark owner may use the TM symbol in connection with its mark to put the public on notice that they are using the mark as a source-identifier for the goods/services at issue. The trademark need not be registered for the TM symbol to be legally applied-in the case of registered marks, it is actually advisable to use the encircled R (®) symbol (but this symbol may not be applied to non-registered marks). In fact, in the case of trademarks that are not used in interstate commerce, the TM symbol is the only option, as interstate use is required for federal registration of a trademark. In the case of the BESTY mark referenced by Mr. Grant for dog collars and leashes, the owner of this mark (Kathy Ann Chermak) would have no grounds to send City Paper a cease-and-desist letter-identical marks may be used by two different parties on goods and services that are in no way related. This is how Jaya Apparel Group LLC is able to have a coexisting registered mark for BESTIES (essentially identical to BESTY in the eyes of the Patent and Trademark Office) for various articles of clothing, and how MGA Entertainment, Inc. will soon have their BESTIEZ mark for various entertainment services allowed. Customer confusion is the key-customers are not likely to believe that City Paper's BESTY character originated from Kathy Ann Chermak, just as they are not likely to believe that Kathy Ann Chermak's BESTY dog collars are associated with City Paper. In conclusion, a trademark search is always recommended before putting forth the marketing money to apply the mark to your goods/services, and taking advice from letter writers is not recommended. . . . When the intricacies of the law are at issue, it's always best to consult an attorney-I happen to know a few if you are ever doubting yourselves!