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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.