The Daughter knows that an R or a TM in a circle on a package means that somehow the design of the packaging has some intellectual property protection. Specifically, they mean trademarked or registered, respectively; in the United States, that’s handled by the US Patents and Trademark Office. And a C in a circle suggests copyright protection; in the US that’s a function of the Copyright Office.
But she asked me: what does that U in a circle mean on her bottle of ketchup, something I barely remembered even seeing? I did not know, but, of course, I looked it up.
Now, if I tell you right away, then the post will be done. So here are some other letters in a circle:
A in a circle is the symbol of anarchism.
i in a circle means information.
X in a circle is the Greek letter theta.
A couple more intellectual property symbols:
M in a circle is copyright on mask work, which has SOMETHING to do with integrated circuit boards.
P in a circle represents the copyright on a sound recording (originally a phonograph record).
OK, now. According to the Heinz people: “Commonly known as ‘Circle U,’ the circle graphically represents the letter O for ‘Orthodox,’ and the U inside stands for ‘Union.'” Specifically, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations (OU) in Manhattan, New York City has certified the product to be kosher, i.e., acceptable, according to Jewish dietary laws. If you see any of the symbols that are represented, which also includes a K in a circle, it means “the food has been inspected by one of the many kosher certifying agencies in the United States. Each agency identifies itself by its own unique symbol.”
The New York Times makes a nonkosher mistake