How CREA’s new trademark policy will make your life easier: Part 2

CREA’s Board of Directors recently approved changes to CREA’s trademark rules and policies to make use of the REALTOR® mark easier. My last post on the new trademark rules and policies dealt with the form rule. Now let’s look at the context rule.

This rule requires all uses of REALTOR®, in the context in which it is used, to be consistent with the registered meaning of the mark. This means that all uses of REALTOR® should convey to the public that a REALTOR® is a licensed real estate professional who is a member of CREA. The REALTOR® marks must never be used as a generic or descriptive name to identify a salesperson, broker, or other real estate professional.

Here’s how we changed this rule.

  1. You can use REALTOR® in slogans and corporate branding.

To ensure that REALTOR® was always used in the correct context we used to prohibit its use in corporate branding. The new policy allows REALTOR® to be used in corporate branding like firm names, discussed in part one of this series, or slogans. The use of REALTOR® in product names, however, is still prohibited.

Keep in mind that if REALTOR® is used in a slogan that contains a modifier (for example, “Your Neighbourhood REALTOR®”), you need to capitalize REALTOR® (see part one of this series). Doing this helps convey to consumers that REALTOR® is not just a generic word or a job title, which is the point of the context rule.

  1. You can use modifiers in domain names, email addresses, and social media.

Another thing you might be happy to hear is that the new policy allows modifiers to be used with REALTOR® in domain names, email addresses, and social media usernames that contain a member’s name, firm name, or team name.

Previously members could only use their name or firm name in domain names, email address, and social media names that contained REALTOR®. For example, johnjonesrealtor.com or ABCRealtyRealtors.com.  Now names like JohnJonesTorontoRealtor.com, JanetheProfessionalRealtor.ca, @BigBobRealtor, and SmithTeamRealtors@gmail.com would all be acceptable.

This new policy allowing modifiers in domain names will enable members to have more consistency between their domain names on generic TLDs and their .REALTOR TLDs. For example, a member with the domain name SellWithBob.REALTOR could now register SellWithBobRealtor.com in compliance with our new policy.

  1. REALTOR® can be displayed in meta-tags

What else does the new policy say about the Internet you may ask? Well, let me tell you. The old rules also used to prohibit the use of CREA’s trademarks in meta-tags. The new policy removes this restriction meaning that both REALTOR® and MLS® can now be used in meta-tags. If you don’t know what meta-tags are don’t worry—now that we’ve made this rule change, you really don’t need to know more about them!

So that’s the new trademark policy in a two-part nutshell. The new trademark policy in its entirety can be found here. We are busy revising our Trademark Manual and will have a new version published on REALTOR Link® in the near future.

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

Allison McLure, former Legal Counsel, provided advice to CREA, boards, and associations on intellectual property law, DDF®, and Canada’s anti-spam legislation, as well as protected CREA’s trademarks and helped members comply with federal legislation and CREA’s trademark rules.


15 thoughts on “How CREA’s new trademark policy will make your life easier: Part 2”

  1. Hi, is anyone allowed to use ‘mls’ in their domain name? Eg: mynewmls.com
    It seems multiple service listing is not something that can be copyrighted…?
    Thanks!

    1. No, unfortunately the MLS® trademark cannot be used in domain names. Under CREA’s Trademark Policy, specifically section 5.5.3, members are not permitted to use the MLS® or Multiple Listing Service® trademarks in domain names, email addresses or in social media usernames.

    1. Hi Michelle, CREA has no rules or restrictions around the use of the term “real estate” in domain names as it is not a trademarked term.

  2. Can “Realty” be used in a domain names and social media handles?
    example domain “redslaterealty.ca” and Instagram handle “red_slate_realty”

    1. Hi Ilana, CREA has no rules or restrictions around the use of the term “realty” in domain names as it is not a trademarked term.

  3. Hi, this is a very helpful article. Just wanted to double check though before I register any domain name.. I can use the word realtor in the domain name right?
    For example: Hamiltonrealtor.ca or something like that?
    Thanks for your time.

    1. Hi Vic,
      CREA members may use the REALTOR® mark in domain names provided the use is in conjunction with the name of the member, the member’s firm name or the member’s team name, and a trademark statement is used at least once on the webpage. Additionally, modifier may be added to domain names that include the REALTOR® mark, but cannot be used without the members name, firm name or team name. For example, if a members name was John Jones, a domain name could be johnjonesrealtor.ca, and if they had a team name called Jones Team REALTORS®, a domain name could be jonesteamrealtors.ca. If the domain name follows these rules you’re good to go! If you have further questions, please reach out to our Member Experience Centre at support@crea.ca.

  4. Hi, are their any regulations that prohibit me from using the word “realty” in my brandname as a licensed Ontario real estate agent?

  5. Hi Allison,

    I understand we are permitted to use the word “Realty” in our branding as it is not trademarked…but are we allowed to use Realty with additional words such as “XX Realty Team, XX Realty Group, XX Realty Company” etc? There are so many rules, so it all gets a little confusing for agents 🙂 Thanks!

  6. Awesome! Thank you so much for clarifying, and for taking the time to help fellow real estate professionals out. Truly appreciated 🙂

  7. Hello! I am not clear from the question above about using hamiltonrealtor.ca as a website… this is not allowed? In the CREA youtube video “The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)’s Trademarks” there is a short part using “Ontario Realtor” in a domain. May I ask for clarification please? Thank you!

    1. Hi there,
      According to section 5.3.3 of the Trademark Policy and/or section 7 of the Trademark Manual, the REALTOR® mark can only be used in domain names where the use is in conjunction with the name of the CREA member, the member’s team name or the member’s firm name. It also requires a trademark statement be used at least once on the webpage. In the example you provide, hamiltonrealtor.ca would not be an acceptable domain name since the mark is not used in connection with the members name or team.
      Hope that helps!


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