You may be wondering how you can use the REALTOR® trademark in your various advertising materials, while still complying with CREA’s Policies and Rules. Do you need to include a job title with the mark? Can the mark be used on its own? How should it be displayed? What do I do with trademark statements?
To start, while the addition of a job title when using the REALTOR® mark is ideal under CREA’s Policies and Rules, as it creates a distinction between a member’s job and their membership with CREA, there’s no requirement a job title must be included whenever the REALTOR® mark is displayed in member advertising material. Using the mark alone in association with your name is permissible (i.e. Tom Jones, REALTOR®), reflecting you’re indeed a member of CREA—but adding a job title is optional.
Having said that, there may be instances where the context of the advertisement suggests the use of the REALTOR® mark could be misinterpreted as meaning “real estate agent”, in which case it may be necessary to clarify the distinction with the addition of a job title. For example, in a slogan that says, “My job is a REALTOR®”, the mark is being used as a job description, which is a misuse of the mark and is likely to cause confusion. Instead, the slogan should say “My job is a salesperson. I am also a REALTOR®.”
Read more about CREA’s trademarks:
- Everything You Need to Know About CREA’s Trademarks;
- How to Become a Trademark Pro; and
- How to Properly Use the MLS® Trademark.
You also need to be mindful of provincial advertising requirements. In Ontario for example, registrants must use certain authorized terms when referring to themselves in their advertisements. However, on October 1, 2020, new regulations under the Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2020, came into force allowing Ontario registrants who are members in good standing with CREA to now use REALTOR®, REALTOR® salesperson or REALTOR® broker in their advertisements.
Although CREA’s Policies and Rules already permitted CREA members to refer to themselves as REALTORS® (except, as noted above, where REALTOR® could be misinterpreted as meaning real estate agent), the new regulations are welcome as they allow CREA members in Ontario to design their advertisements in a way that allows them to more easily benefit from the goodwill inherent in the REALTOR® brand.
Finally, when using the REALTOR® mark to identify your membership with CREA, don’t forget it must be displayed in its proper form, having all letters capitalized followed by the registered trademark symbol (with some exceptions) followed by a trademark statement.
When it comes to trademark statements, CREA’s Trademark Policy requires all advertising material displaying the REALTOR® mark must, where possible, include one of the following statements:
- Not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®. Only REALTORS® are members of CREA.
- I’m more than a real estate agent. I’m a REALTOR®.
- What’s the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®? Visit www.crea.ca/why to find out.
- REALTOR®. Member of The Canadian Real Estate Association and more.
- The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA.
The key element to keep in mind is a trademark statement must be included where it’s reasonably possible to do so, meaning there’s room to fit one in the advertisement. For example, websites, billboards, bus bench ads and business correspondence traditionally have enough room to include a statement, and we expect to see one in those cases. There’s more flexibility when it comes to smaller size advertisements. Members don’t need to include a statement where it’s impractical to do so, such as on business cards, pens, golf balls and key chains.
For more information and examples on how to use the REALTOR® trademark in advertisements, please see CREA’s Trademark Manual.
The article above is for information purposes and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel.