Trademark Entity and Entity Problems in General

E. Stephen Mack (
Sat, 09 Aug 1997 13:59:38 -0700

Message-Id: <>
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 1997 13:59:38 -0700
From: "E. Stephen Mack" <>
In-Reply-To: <>
Subject: Trademark Entity and Entity Problems in General

I'll start out with discussion of the &trade; entity and
then go on to general problems with the new entities,
such as &delta;.

Benjamin Franz <> suggested
three ways of presenting a trademark symbol:

> <sup><small>(tm)</small></sup>

This method is the best (as Arnoud also suggested recently),
since it works in all browsers.  (Capitalize the "tm" into
"TM" though.)

> <img src="tm.gif" alt="&trade;">

This doesn't work in Navigator 4 or 3 when images are not
autoloaded.  These two versions will display the literal
sequence "&trade;" instead of the trademark glyph.  Older
versions of Lynx (2.3.x beta and earlier I think?) also
display the literal sequence "&trade;"

> &#8482; 
> (you _may_ need to throw in a META declaration of the charset to
> be UTF-8
> <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" value="text/html; charset=UTF-8">
                                           missing quote here

That numerical entity works in Navigator 4 and IE 4 as you say
(even without the meta tag in my tests, but I suppose that may
depend on what your default encoding, font face, and language
settings are).

However, IE 3 shows a double quote glyph (") -- I'll explain why
below -- and Navigator 3 shows a question mark.

> *ALL* of these work with both NS4.01 and MSIE4.0pr2.

True, but as "Rob" pointed out, with the legal implications of
trademark, one should go to great lengths to make sure that a
trademark symbol is being displayed correctly for *all* browsers.
<SUP><SMALL>(TM)</SMALL></SUP> works best if you really need
the letters "TM" to appear as a trademark.

I agree with Rob's advice: Consider adding a paragraph of legalalese
to the bottom of a page: "Foo is a trademark and Bar is a registered
trademark of Vaporware, Inc.  Copyright 1997.  All Rights Reserved."

I am not a lawyer, but I do know that these types of legalese
paragraphs or pages are easier for translation software to
translate than a symbol, and can carry more information.

                            * * *

Two other issues with entities:

Take the new HTML 4.0 Greek entity for the lower-case delta, &delta;

IE 4.0 pp2 *will* display the correct glyph for this entity,
but only if you *manually* use the View | Fonts command and
select "Universal Alphabet (UTF-8)".  The presence or absence
of the META tag that Benjamin lists, asking for UTF-8, doesn't
cause the switch.

If the default "Western" setting is used, than a hollow box
is displayed instead of the correct glyph.

This is terrible; no one is going to switch Fonts manually to see
whatever new entities are being used on a page.  Anyone from the IE
4 team here who can tell me if there is any META tag that will correctly
invoke UTF-8?

Navigator 4 doesn't display the glyph at all, even if the
View | Encoding setting for "Unicode (UTF-8)" is selected.

Using delta's numerical entity representation (&#948;) doesn't
make any difference for either IE 4 or Navigator 4.

So, the second issue:

One major problem with the new entities in HTML 4.0 is that there's
little warning that these entities are not yet widely supported.
And entities do not degrade gracefully at all: unrecognized entity
names cause the literal text of the entity name "&foo;" to appear
on screen.

Unlike Lynx, which shows ASCII fallbacks for glyphs it recognizes
but doesn't have the resources to display, IE and Navigator
show a question mark or hollow box (depending on the font settings).

IE 3 shows the numerical entity mod 256, so &#948; becomes &#180;
which is an acute accent.  &8482; becomes &34; and thus a quote
glyph is rendered.

Considering the widespread deployment of IE 3 and Navigator 3,
one has no choice but to recommend that the new entities be avoided
for general use on the Web (at least for the time being).
E. Stephen Mack <>