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KCRAR Reminds Members of REALTOR® Trademark Law Amid Increase in Violations

July 19, 2019 in KCRAR

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has a set of
standards for anyone who may be using the word REALTOR® or the REALTOR® logo. The
following are a few tips to keep in mind when using the REALTOR® mark in any
way, to avoid a possible violation for misuse.

REALTOR® is a trademarked term. That means not anyone
can use it, and the people who can use it need to keep a few simple rules in
mind. The word REALTOR® means “member of the National Association of
REALTORS®.” The term REALTOR® should not be used as a synonym for the term real
estate agent. Therefore, non-members can never use the term REALTOR® in
reference to themselves or their businesses.

The trademark includes a few elements. Not only is
the word REALTOR® protected under its trademark, but so is REALTORS®,
REALTOR-ASSOCIATES® and the REALTOR® block “R” logo.

Design standards for REALTOR® marks must be followed. The
preferred form of the term is REALTOR®—in all caps and using the registered
trademark symbol. If using the symbol isn’t possible, then the next best form
is in all caps: REALTOR. And when using the logo, the rectangular block and the
term REALTOR® centered under that block must be the same contrasting
color. View
additional design standards here

REALTOR® trademark rules still apply online. A member
can only use the word REALTOR® with his or her name or with the legal name of a
member broker’s real estate business in usernames, domains or email addresses. It
may seem like good marketing to use “BestRealtorInKC” as a Twitter handle, but
that is a violation of the trademark that protects the word REALTOR®. The same
goes for usernames that identify a place, like “OverlandParkRealtor.” However,
since the word REALTOR® can be used in association with your name, usernames
like “JaneSmithRealtor” or “SmithRealtor” are acceptable. The same goes for
adding location or other descriptors to domain names. Learn
more about online trademark standards here.

KCRAR members are asked to review
their usage of the word REALTOR® and the “R” logo, to ensure trademark
guidelines are being followed. Any URLs, usernames or email addresses misusing
the term should be edited or deleted to avoid possible action from NAR’s
Trademark Protection Department.

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