Using the REALTOR® Trademark

Posted on July 1, 2003 by AAR

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The term REALTOR® is a federally registered collective membership mark owned exclusively by the National Association of REALTORS® (“NAR”). The REALTOR® membership mark serves the singular function of identifying and distinguishing members of NAR. The mark is licensed for exclusive use by members as a means of indicating their membership status. Members are licensed to use the term REALTOR® only in forms that are likely to highlight the registered status, significance and special meaning of those MARKS in the eyes of the public and distinguish them from words of ordinary use and other marks or symbols.

The REALTOR® membership mark is entitled to the protection provided to trademarks under federal law. The use of the REALTOR® mark is subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the NAR Constitution and Bylaws and in accordance with other policies and guidelines adopted by NAR. The NAR Membership Marks Manual, which contains these guidelines, may be viewed on the NAR website at http://www.realtor.org/letterlw.nsf/pages/trademarkmanual.

The use of REALTOR® as part of a corporate or business name is prohibited

Pursuant to IV (A) of the NAR Membership Marks Manual, the use of the term REALTOR® as part of the corporate name or business name of any Member is prohibited.

Other prohibited uses of the term REALTOR®

Never use descriptive words or phrases to modify the marks. This is explicitly prohibited by Article V, Section 7 of the Bylaws of the National Association. Adjectives may suggest an improper vocational meaning and also tend to distort the consistent understanding and image of these terms, thereby undermining their identifying function:

  • Main Street’s most qualified REALTOR®
  • Consult a professional REALTOR®
  • Doe County’s leading REALTOR®
  • The concerned REALTOR®
  • Number one REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®
  • Your local REALTOR®
  • Your international REALTOR®
  • Commercial REALTORS®

Never use the MARKS to differentiate among members or in a manner that creates or permits the impression that a firm is an association or subpart of the local Board of REALTOR®, or in a way that suggest all REALTORS® in a geographic area are part of a single firm:

  • The REALTOR® with integrity
  • NEW YORK, REALTORS® (as a firm name)
  • Suburban, REALTORS® (as a firm name)
  • Independent, REALTOR®

Never use REALTOR® as part of a firm name or without using punctuation to separate the individual or firm’s name from the terms, even when the terms appear on a separate line:

  • Blackacre REALTORS® , Inc
  • John Jones REALTOR®
  • Sally Brown and Company REALTOR®
  • Green, Inc. REALTORS®

Proper use of the term REALTOR® on the Internet

When surfing the Web for real estate homepages, it’s quite common to come across sites belonging to REALTOR®. If you are looking to add your own electronic presence on the Internet, it is easy to get caught up in designing your own web page and choosing a domain name which will capture the attention of surfers and make you easily identifiable. REALTORS® often want to use the REALTOR® marks as part of their domain name or address to distinguish themselves, but they must keep in mind that there are rules governing proper use of the REALTOR® marks that must be adhered to at all times regardless of the media used. These rules are found in the National Association’s Membership Marks Manual. Here is a brief list of the principal rules affecting use of the REALTOR® marks in domain names:

  1. The term REALTOR® , whether used as part of a domain name or in some other fashion, must refer to a member or a member’s firm.
  2. The term REALTOR® may not be used with descriptive words or phrases. For example, Number1realtor.com, numberone-realtor.com, chicagorealtors.org or realtorproperties.com are all incorrect.
  3. For use as a domain name or email address on the Internet, the term REALTOR® does not need to be separated from the member’s name or firm name with punctuation. For example, both johndoe-realtor.com and johndoerealtor.com would be correct uses of the term as a part of domain names and jdoe*realtors@webnetservices and jdoerealtors@webnetservices.com are both correct uses of the term as part of an email address.
  4. The REALTOR® block R logo should not be used as hypertext links at a website, as such uses can suggest an endorsement or recommendation of the linked sited by your association. The only exception would be to establish a link to the National Association’s website, Realtor.com.

The public has adopted the use of all lower case letters when writing domain names, even those containing trademarks. Therefore, for purposes of domain names and Internet addresses only, there is an exception to the rule on capitalization of the term REALTOR® and it may appear in lower case letters.

Whether you use traditional print media or the Internet, it is essential to use the REALTOR® marks in accordance with the rules and guidelines of the National Association. The REALTOR® marks should only be used to denote membership in the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTOR®.

Visit NAR’s Graphic Standards and Style Guidelines for additional information.

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