> (BTW, according to our Corporation legal dept, if I understood them correctly, TM is for non-registered tradenames and the impossible to type and I don't know the unicode character for it, little 'c' in a circle, is for registered tradenames) Anyone have any insight on this? Did I get the two "marks" correct?
[I'm not a trademark lawyer.] The "TM" is for non-registered trademarks. Oware evidently hasn't registered their trademark for Alphamid(TM), but they can certainly claim that trademark absent litigation. Others who refer to Alphamid should use the (TM) out of respect for that trademark, and to clarify that they aren't claiming it as their own. However, few people do this informally, as in forums. (I've used "TM" a few times in the BPL forums in reference to Ray-Way trademarked quilt features, but not consistently.) Bill's use of it is appropriate (and getting permission is commendable), especially since he is referring to a creation of his own in a similar style. Clarity is good.
The "(R)" in a circle is for a registered trademark. You have to apply to the PTO (Patent and Trademark Office), and if you think somebody else is going to try to appropriate your name it's a good thing for a business to do. I've never done it for my business's trademarks; there just isn't that much value in our trademark names since we're so small.
The "(c)" (c in a circle) is for copyright, which simply represents that the 'work' is your own and cannot be reproduced without your permission. Pretty much anything you create (forum post, doodle, stack of mudballs you scraped off your shoes) is copyrighted without having to be explicitly so marked, but people who make their living producing intellectual property usually take the time to specify "Copyright (c) 2006 (entity) All rights Reserved." on significant works or products to make it clear that it shouldn't be copied or plagiarized. If you're going to litigate, however, you do need to have sent a copy of your work to the Library of Congress to claim the copyright officially. Again, more of a pain than most (except authors) are willing to go through. I've never done it, myself.
There are two other marks you don't see as often: service marks "SM" and "(S)". These are similar to "TM" and "(R)" except they apply to services rather than products. An example might be "Joe's Shoeshines(SM)".
I hope this helps a bit.
Note: Alphamid is a tradename of OwareUSA.