Everything You Need to Know About CREA’s Trademarks

Is it OK to use modifiers with the REALTOR® trademark? Can you use the MLS® trademark in a website URL?

Earlier this year, we quizzed our members on their trademark knowledge using our social media channels. REALTORS® from across the country interacted with out quizzes on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin.

We discovered while our members are familiar with CREA’s two main families of trademarks— REALTOR® and MLS®—they want to better understand how they can help protect these marks. Your wish is our command!

To begin, the best way to help protect these trademarks from becoming generic and losing their value is by ensuring the trademarks are used correctly. This means each use of the mark follows the proper form and context rules. Sound complicated? It isn’t.

The REALTOR® mark should never be used as a synonym to describe a real estate professional, salesperson or broker. The REALTOR® mark conveys to everyone you’re more than a real estate licensee, it’s synonymous with professionalism and identifies you as a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association, adhering to a strict Code of Ethics. This is the context rule.

When using the REALTOR® mark in the proper context, all letters must be capitalized followed by the registered trademark symbol and provide a trademark statement. This is the form rule.

The REALTOR® mark can be used in association with member’s names, team names and brokerage names, with approval from CREA. It can also be used in corporate branding such as slogans, domain names, email addresses and social media handles, following CREA’s policy.

Members can learn more about the REALTOR® mark by watching the short video below.

The MLS® mark stands for Multiple Listing Service® and identifies professional services provided by REALTORS® to carry out the purchase and sale of real estate as part of a co-operative selling system. The MLS® mark should never be used as a synonym for a database of real estate listings. This is the context rule.

To that end, when referring to an MLS® System, it should always include the name of the board or association who operates the co-operative selling system. The MLS® mark can never be used as part of a business name, trade name or in any corporate branding. Further, REALTOR® members are not permitted to use MLS® in domain names, email addresses or social media handles.

When using the MLS® mark in the appropriate context, all letters must be capitalized (the “M”, “L” and “S” must all be capitalized in Multiple Listing Service®) followed by the registered trademark symbol and provide a trademark statement. This is the form rule.

Learn more about the MLS® mark by watching the short video below.

By following the form and context rules for the REALTOR® and MLS® trademarks, you help the marks maintain their value for members and protect them from becoming generic. To learn more about CREA’s trademarks view our trademark resources on REALTOR Link®.

Let us know how you’d like to learn more about our trademarks in the Comments below.

The article above is for information purposes and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel.

Isaac Martin, Associate Legal Counsel, provides legal advice to CREA on contract and trademark issues. He is responsible for CREA’s trademark compliance, ensuring the proper use of CREA’s trademarks. He also assists the legal team with governance and REALTOR.ca DDF® matters. In his spare time, Isaac enjoys exercising, playing music, travelling and watching sports with friends.

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