Window to the Law: New Membership Marks Manual for the REALTOR® Trademark

Window to the Law: New Membership Marks Manual for the REALTOR® Trademark

Dec 28, 2021
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NAR’s new Membership Marks Manual is specifically geared towards members and more clearly and concisely explains NAR’s REALTOR® trademark rules. Review NAR’s main trademark rules and learn how to avoid common misuses, including use in business names, domain names and social media usernames.

Window to the Law – Membership Marks Manual - Transcript

Hi, I’m Chloe Hecht, Senior Counsel for the National Association of REALTORS®. We are excited to share that NAR released a new Membership Marks Manual specifically geared to help members, which more clearly and concisely explains NAR’s REALTOR® Trademark Rules. In honor of the new Manual, this episode of Window to the law reviews NAR’s main Trademark Rules and how to avoid common misuses.

The term REALTOR® has one meaning only: member of the National Association of REALTORS®. Coined in 1915, the REALTOR® Marks have conveyed to consumers for over 100 years that members of NAR abide by NAR’s strict Code of Ethics, and are committed to clients, the public and other real estate professionals as well as to conducting business with integrity.

NAR’s trademark rules are designed to protect and promote the meaning of the REALTOR® Marks, and by joining NAR, members agree to comply with NAR’s trademark rules. Keep in mind the following when using the REALTOR® Marks.

  • Members are licensed to use the Marks in connection with their personal name and real estate business name. The Marks must be separated from a name with punctuation, such as a comma or hyphen.
  • The Marks should appear in all uppercase letters with the trademark registration symbol. If that formatting is not possible for some reason, please use one of these variations. [Onscreen: display Realtor® and REALTOR] - The REALTOR® Marks must never be modified with descriptive wording, including geographic descriptors, adjectives, and words such as “my” “your” and “the.”
  • The REALTOR® Marks must only be used to refer to membership in NAR – and never as a substitute for an occupation, such as real estate agent, broker or the like. Use the Member Test to determine if your use is proper by replacing “REALTOR®” with “member” and determining objectively whether the use refers to membership.

I also want to highlight some of the main areas NAR receives questions from members regarding use of the Marks:

  • First, when using the marks in domain names, email addresses, and usernames, such as social media usernames, these uses must comply with NAR’s trademark rules with two notable exceptions: One, in this instance, it is permissible for the Marks to appear in all lowercase letters because domains, email addresses and usernames do not typically allow for capitalization. Two, separating punctuation and the trademark registration symbol may be omitted because such formatting is also typically not available in domains, email addresses and usernames.
  • Second, do not include the REALTOR® Marks in business names. Members are licensed to use the Marks in connection with business names but not in business names. That means when you register your business name with the appropriate state authority, your business name must not include the REALTOR® Marks. For example, a member may register the business name West Coast Realty, and then use the REALTOR® Marks with that business name like this West Coast Realty, REALTORS in business materials and advertising.

Check out the updated Membership Marks Manual for Members for more information, resources and FAQs. Thanks for watching this episode of Window to the Law!

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