How to Use the REALTOR® Trademark in Advertisements

When coming up with an ad for your business, where do you put the REALTOR® trademark? Can it be used on its own? How should it be displayed?

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 advertisements. 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 and is likely to cause confusion. Instead, the slogan should say “My job is a salesperson. I am also a REALTOR®.”

Remember, 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. New regulations under the Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2020, that came into force in October 2020 allow 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, for instance, 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, where possible.

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.