How to become a trademark pro

As a lawyer at the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), I seem to be constantly harassing people to use CREA’s trademarks properly. Annoying, I know, but there is a really good reason for this. The REALTOR® and MLS® trademarks are valuable assets that benefit everyone in the real estate profession including CREA, boards, associations and REALTORS®. But those trademarks will only retain their value if they are protected and used properly. 

If we don’t ensure the marks are used properly, there’s a risk the marks could become generic. As a result, the marks would no longer serve to distinguish the high quality, cooperative services provided by members of CREA, as opposed to services provided by people who are not members of organized real estate. 

This means that all our members need to understand how our trademarks are supposed to be used. In the past, I simply pointed members to our Trademark Manual on REALTOR Link®. That often led to more questions and confusion. Well, now we have an even better tool for members to use.

I’m happy to announce we just uploaded a new course to the CREA Training Hub to help you understand our rules for using the REALTOR® and MLS® marks. The course includes lots of examples, quiz questions to test your knowledge and presents the information in an interesting manner (in my humble opinion). And don’t worry if you don’t have time to go through the whole course in one sitting; you can always stop part way through and start where you left off at another time.

And the good news doesn’t end there. Not all REALTORS® might realize this, but member real estate boards and associations are responsible for ensuring that CREA’s trademarks are used correctly in their jurisdiction. This means boards and associations have to know how to use the marks correctly themselves, as well as know how to go about enforcing the proper use with members and non-members. Therefore, we’ve created a slightly longer version of the course designed for board and association staff, which includes a section on enforcing CREA’s trademarks. 

So, what are you waiting for? Go try out the new course and become a trademark pro today!

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

Allison McLure, Legal Counsel, keeps busy providing advice to CREA, Boards, and Associations on intellectual property law, the DDF®, and Canada’s anti-spam legislation, as well as protecting CREA’s trademarks and helping members comply with federal legislation and CREA’s trademark rules. Before joining CREA in 2007, Allison spent the majority of the previous 10 years as a student. When not in the office, she can usually be found doing yoga, reading, or playing peek-a-boo with her son.


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