Letter of the Law








Part Five - Protection and Compliance Procedures

In order to preserve the distinctive character of the MARKS and their value as trademarks, misuses of the MARKS must be recognized, identified and corrected. Misuses of the MARKS can be classified as either unauthorized or improper.

"Unauthorized uses" are either uses of the MARKS by non-members in connection with their businesses, products or services, or uses of the MARKS by Members in connection with activities which do not fall within the National Association's definition of "real estate business."

"Improper uses" of the MARKS are uses by individuals authorized to use the MARKS, but which violate the policies and guidelines set forth in this Manual, including for example, lack of capitalization, alteration of the REALTOR® logo, failure to use the registration symbol "®", lack of separating punctuation between the terms REALTOR® or REALTORS® and the Member or Member's firm name, use of the term REALTOR interchangeably with the term "real estate broker" or a like term, or any other violation of the requirements of this Manual.

To fulfill its first responsibility under the Trademark Protection Program, the Member Board must familiarize itself with this Manual so it can recognize "improper uses" among its Members and "unauthorized uses" within its jurisdiction.

To fulfill the Member Board's second responsibility under the Trademark Protection Program, each Member Board must be prepared to receive from its membership reports of unauthorized and improper uses and to take the steps outlined below in attempting to rectify the problems discovered. This Chapter explains the actions a Member Board should take in response to various types of misuses and the follow-up actions that should be taken, if necessary, to ensure compliance. In most cases, a simple letter from the Member Board explaining the violation to the person misusing the MARKS will result in cooperation and compliance by such person.

I. Unauthorized Use

A. Generally

Each Member Board's responsibility with regard to unauthorized uses requires that it encourage Members to: (l) take note of who is and who is not a Member; (2) observe with care uses of the MARKS by Members and non-members alike; and, (3) promptly notify the Member Board of apparent unauthorized uses.

When information is received from a Member regarding an apparent unauthorized use, the Member Board should conduct an initial investigation and obtain as much of the following information as possible:

· A description or copy of the alleged unauthorized use;
· The person or firm responsible for the use;
· The address of such person or firm;
· The date of the use and/or the publication where the use appeared;
· Whether the use is continuing;
· Any information available regarding any possible relationship (e.g., ownership, partnership, etc.) between the misuser and any Member should also be documented.

Upon receipt of this information, the Member Board should communicate with the misuser, describing the registered status and special meaning of the mark, and to request that the misuse be promptly terminated. A copy of all correspondence sent by the Member Board to any unauthorized user, and any received from such user, as well as samples of the misuse should be sent to the Trademark Protection Coordinator at the National Association's Legal Affairs Department in Chicago (see page 33 for address).

B. By Non-Members

Non-members are never authorized to use the MARKS in reference to or in connection with their businesses or themselves. This is true whether or not those uses comply with the policies and guidelines for proper use set forth in this Manual. One should recognize, however, that certain uses of the MARKS are not unauthorized uses but rather permissible "collateral uses," such as when newspapers, magazines, or radio or television programs use the MARKS to accurately and properly identify an individual as a Member of the Association or in reference to a Member Board. Such collateral uses should be reviewed to be sure the MARKS are properly used. (Refer to the Section below entitled "Improper Use -- By the Media.")

Common unauthorized uses by non-members appear in various forms, including use of the MARKS in non-member business titles, corporate names, newspaper ads, business cards, letterheads, or in various forms of advertising. In addition, unauthorized uses may take the form of imitations or variations of the Logo or the other MARKS, such as "REAL-I-TOR," "Non-REALTOR," "REALTER," or design imitations such as:


When a Member Board discovers an individual who is not a Member using one of the MARKS, a letter from the Member Board should be sent to the unauthorized user explaining that the MARK (or MARKS) used (whether REALTOR®, REALTORS®, REALTOR-ASSOCIATE® and the REALTOR® Logo) is a federally registered collective membership mark(s) owned by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, that such MARK is reserved for the exclusive use of, or in reference to, Members of the National Association. The letter should conclude with a polite but clear and direct request that the unauthorized use of the MARK be promptly terminated.

The initial letter (see sample letter 1) to an unauthorized user should be polite but firm. It should never be hostile, since the person may be a possible candidate for membership and because misuses are often inadvertent or the result of an error in editing or printing. The unauthorized user may even be a Member of another Member Board, in which case he should simply be reminded that in order to use the MARKS in connection with a place of business in the jurisdiction of a Member Board to which he does not belong, he must first join such Member Board or obtain its written permission to use the MARKS in its jurisdiction. Resorting to litigation or other legal remedies should never be threatened or suggested at this point, and the National Association should be sent copies of all correspondence together with a report of the information derived through the initial investigation. If the matter cannot be resolved locally or if an impasse develops, the National Association will then assume primary responsibility for obtaining compliance.

In some states, the real estate license law or other statutory provisions explicitly prohibit the use of tradenames or trade association marks and insignias (including the term REALTOR®) by persons who do not belong to the appropriate organization or are not otherwise authorized. If there is such a statute in the state where a non-member licensee is using the MARKS, the unauthorized user should also be advised of such statutory provisions, and the sanctions for violation thereof.

(Where appropriate, include the following as well, modified in accordance with the particular of the state law):

Moreover, your use of the mark(s) in question also appears to be in violation of the (name of State) statutory provisions, (cite statute), which forbid use of trademarks or tradenames by persons who are not members of the appropriate organizations. A violation of these statutory provisions may result in (list sanctions, e.g., revocation of a real estate license or other applicable penalties).

If the unauthorized use continues despite repeated warnings, the appropriate state agency should be informed of the unauthorized use and requested to undertake appropriate action. Involvement of a state agency should not, however, be requested without first consulting the National Association.

C. By Members

Members are only authorized to use the MARKS and Logo in connection with their activities which fall within the definition of "real estate business." For purposes of use of the MARKS, "real estate business" includes real estate brokerage, property management, mortgage financing, real estate appraising, real estate counseling, real estate syndication, land development and building.

Use of the MARKS by a Member in connection with other businesses, such as the offering of educational courses, the sale of merchandise, or publication of periodicals, constitutes an unauthorized use. (Use of the MARKS by Members on products, publications or services is further covered below in the Sections entitled "Products", "Publications" and "Services.")

Members who are using the MARKS in such an unauthorized manner should be reminded by their Member Board that their right to use the MARKS is limited to use in connection with their real estate business, as provided in the Constitution and Bylaws of the National Association and the policies and guidelines described in this Manual (see sample letter 2). Such a reminder almost always induces the Member to terminate the unauthorized use.

D. By Franchise or Conglomerate Organizations

As discussed previously, Members who operate their businesses as franchisees or offices of a conglomerate are permitted to use the MARKS only in conjunction with their local firm name and not in conjunction with the conglomerate or franchisor name or logo. Members using the MARKS in conjunction with the franchisor or conglomerate name should be reminded by the Member Board that such is an unauthorized use of the MARKS which must be terminated (see sample letter 2).

In the event a Member Board discovers a franchisor or conglomerate organization to be using the MARKS in conjunction with its franchise or other business activities, the Board should not take action directly, but rather should advise the National Association. All relevant documentation or other materials explaining and evidencing such use should be forwarded to the Legal Affairs Department, along with any and all other pertinent information.

E. Products

l. Produced By Members

The National Association recognizes that it is often desirable and helpful for Members to have available for display or distribution various business supply and other items bearing the name of the Member or the Member's firm, including identification of the Member as a REALTOR®. Thus, the Association permits Members to have signs, stationery, office supplies, and other items imprinted with the MARKS, provided such items are solely for the business use of the Member. In the case of other items produced by the Member or at the Member's direction, (promotional items distributed by Members to the public, customers or clients at little or no cost) which bear the MARKS, the name of the Member or Member's firm must also be imprinted on the item adjacent to the MARKS, so that it is clear that the use of the MARKS, refers to the membership of the distributing Member or Member's firm and not the recipient or end user.*

Similarly, as a service to the Members, a Member Board may have items produced for use by the Member Board or its Members. The Member Board may sell such items to its Members, but may not sell or distribute such items to Members of other Member Boards, non-members, or the general public (except "give-away" items). Once again, however, give-away items bearing the MARKS produced by or for the Member Board must be imprinted with the name of the Member Board or the Member adjacent to the MARKS.

Members are not authorized to produce or have produced items bearing the MARKS for general sale to the public or other Members of the National Association (except for other Members within their firm) without a license to do so from the National Association. Where a Member Board identifies a Member producing or selling items except as discussed herein, the Member Board should advise the Member that such activity is not permitted and must be terminated.

2. Produced by Non-Members

The National Association has implemented an Official Trademark Licensing Program under which approved manufacturers and merchants may sell items bearing the Marks without the name of individual Members, their firms or Member Boards. These manufacturers and merchants (licensees) have submitted their products for approval by the National Association and have entered into a written agreement with the National Association. These products will include a notice that the product is licensed by the National Association.

Any product coming to the attention of the Board which is being manufactured or sold with the REALTOR® MARKS and which is not otherwise authorized by this Manual should be brought to the attention of the Legal Affairs Department of the National Association, if the product does not indicate it is licensed by the National Association.

Non-members may not produce or print various items bearing the REALTOR® MARKS except when authorized to do so by the National Association or pursuant to a contract with a Member or Member Board, within the terms discussed above.

When a Member Board becomes aware of a manufacturer, printer, distributor or other non-member selling items bearing the MARKS that does not appear to be authorized by the National Association, the Member Board should notify the National Association as soon as possible.


F. Publications

Use of the MARKS in the title of a publication, other than that of a Member Board, is an unauthorized use. This includes the titles of books, magazines, newspapers and other periodicals. All such uses should be brought to the immediate attention of the National Association. It should be noted that the names Real Estate Today® and REALTOR NEWS® are registered trademarks owned by the National Association. Any unauthorized use of the trademarks Real Estate Today® or REALTOR NEWS® should be handled in the same manner as an unauthorized use of the MARKS, with the Board making sure to advise the National Association also.

The use of the MARKS in the text of a publication should be evaluated as a possible improper use. Refer to the Section below entitled "Improper Use--The Media".

G. Services

Business or other organizations (other than Member firms) offering various services to the public, including real estate businesses, may not use the MARKS without the authorization of the National Association. Authorization in such cases is ordinarily granted only for services or products with whom the Board of Directors of the National Association has entered a contractual or other relationship.

Member Boards, however, may use the MARKS in the title of or otherwise in connection with services sponsored by Member Boards. Such use requires that the Member Board's name immediately precedes, follows or is otherwise included in the title of the service, and that the services of the Member Board be conducted in the Member Board's jurisdiction. For example:
Green Board of REALTORS®
Real Estate School for REALTORS®

The REALTOR® Real Estate Seminar
of the Jones County Board of REALTORS®

Wind Falls Board of REALTORS®
REALTOR® Weekly

For guidelines and policies regarding the use of the term REALTOR® or REALTORS® in the text of advertisements, brochures, textbooks or other materials used in connection with services sponsored by Member Boards, refer to "Improper Use--By Members".

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II. Improper Use

A. By Members

Each Member Board is responsible for insuring that all Member uses of the MARKS comply with the terms and conditions set forth in the Constitution and Bylaws of the National Association and the policies and guidelines set forth in this Manual. To achieve this, each Member Board should assist in familiarizing its Members with the policies and guidelines in this Manual by conducting education sessions for current members, including articles in Board publications and by covering this topic in new Member indoctrination courses.

Members using the MARKS improperly should be advised (see sample letter 4) of the nature of the violation and how to correct the violation, and also reminded that their use of the MARKS is subject to the terms, conditions and rules set forth in the Constitution and Bylaws of the National Association and this Manual.

B. By the Media

It is the duty of each Member Board to call improper uses of the MARKS in television, radio and print media news items, editorials, or articles, to the attention of editors, publishers and broadcasters. Editors, publishers and broadcasters occasionally use the MARKS improperly, and must be reminded periodically that the MARKS identify Members of the National Association and that the term REALTOR® is not synonymous with "real estate broker," "broker," or "real estate agent, etc." They must also be advised of the registered status of the MARKS and requested to use initial capital letters to distinguish the terms REALTOR® and REALTORS® from words of ordinary use.

Each time the Board interacts with the media this message should be at least included in the communication. This should include passive messages such as including the definition of the term REALTOR® on papers provided to the media (See Part Two, Section IV, A), and active communication through Board officers and committees when contacting the media.

It is improper for a news report of any sort (e.g., newspaper, radio or television) to use the terms REALTOR® or REALTORS® in a manner which suggests such terms are interchangeable with "real estate broker," "broker," or "real estate agent." Such improper uses are particularly injurious to the MARKS because they tend to dilute the MARKS' identifiability and distinctiveness. Moreover, such improper uses may also be damaging to the National Association or its Member Boards by incorrectly identifying as a REALTOR® a person who has not pledged to adhere to the Code of Ethics, and whose qualifications or actions may not be consistent with the image and professional standards of REALTORS®.

When such a news report is observed, the reporting service should be reminded (see sample letters 5 and 6) of the meaning and significance of the terms REALTOR® and REALTORS®, and the inaccuracy of the report should be specifically pointed out. It should also be suggested that a correction to the report be printed (or broadcast).

The letters provided in this Manual for newspapers on the subject of improper use of the MARKS can easily be revised for correspondence to radio and television stations. The letters acknowledge that improper use of the MARKS in news reports is almost always the result of error or oversight and devoid of any malicious intent, and also recognize that the best and most effective means of minimizing or correcting the harm resulting from any inaccuracy is with the assistance and cooperation of the newspaper or station.

In examining newspaper uses of the MARKS, the rules set forth above in "In News Releases" apply. Initial capital letters for the terms REALTOR® and REALTORS® (e.g., Realtor and Realtors) should be accepted as satisfactory since most newspapers follow the Associated Press Style Book or the United Press International Style Book in preparing copy.

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III. Follow-up

In many cases, the Member Board's initial communication to misusers of the MARKS will achieve the desired result: the misuser will agree to correct or terminate the misuse and provide the Board with a written assurance of its compliance. In other cases, however, the misuser may refuse to comply, ignore the Board's requests, or promise, but never deliver, compliance.

Whether achieving compliance or not, the Board should follow-up with the procedures described below:

A. Compliance

Compliance may take the form of a promise by the misuser to either cease and desist in its use of the MARKS. In some cases, compliance may be achieved by the misuser making application to join the Member Board. In either case, the Member Board should:

Confirm, by letter, the agreement of the misuser to comply with the Board's request, and thank the misuser for the prompt cooperation.

Send a copy of the misuser's written letter of assurance and the Member Board's initial letter and confirmation letter to the Trademark Protection Coordinator at the National Association's Legal Affairs Department in Chicago (see page 33 for address).

If the misuser responds by telephone, the Member Board should, of course, thank the misuser for the assurance to comply, but explain that a written letter of assurance is necessary to confirm the agreement and complete the Member Board's responsibility relating to this matter. If the misuser refuses to provide a written response, the Member Board should make a detailed record of the phone call (i.e., name of calling party, date, time of day, summary of the discussion noting verbatim assurances of compliance given and the proposed time table for compliance). A copy of the telephone record should be sent to the Trademark Protection Coordinator and the compliance carefully monitored by the Member Board.

If the misuser makes application to join the Board in order to cure the problem, the past misuse of the MARK may not be used as grounds for denying or delaying membership. Of course, if application is not granted for some reason, the misuser should again be directed to cease use of the MARKS.

B. Non-Compliance

If a Member Board does not receive a written letter of assurance from the misuser within one month of the date that the Member Board's first letter was sent, then the Member Board should request assistance from the Trademark Protection Coordinator of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

In conjunction with this procedure, the Trademark Protection Coordinator automatically reviews on a monthly basis the copies of letters which Member Boards have sent to misusers of the MARKS. If the Trademark Protection Coordinator has received neither a copy of the misuser's written assurance to the Member Board (or a telephone record) to terminate the misuse, nor the Member Board's request to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® to assist in a particular matter, then the Trademark Protection Coordinator inquires of the Member Board as to the status of the matter in question.

At such time as the Trademark Protection Coordinator is notified by the Member Board that the misuser has neither responded nor complied with the requests made in the Member Board's initial letter, then the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® will assume responsibility for the matter. The Trademark Protection Coordinator will, of course, keep the Member Board advised of all developments pertinent to the matter.

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® will then proceed as follows:

1. The Trademark Protection Coordinator sends a letter requesting the misuser to cease and desist use of the MARKS, and written assurance thereof. The tone of this letter is generally similar to that of the Member Board's first letter.

2. If the Trademark Protection Coordinator fails to hear from the misuser within a month, a short second letter is sent, again asking the misuser to comply with the earlier request to correct the misuse of the MARKS, or in the event the misuser has already complied, to acknowledge such compliance in writing.

3. If the misuser still does not respond to the second letter, then a third letter is sent over the signature of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® legal counsel. This letter is stronger in tone than the earlier ones, gives the misuser a specified period of time to correct the misuse, and states that the Association intends to seek legal remedies if the misuser fails to comply with the Association's demands.

4. If the misuser still does not respond or continues to refuse to comply, then the Association's legal counsel will attempt to contact the misuser directly by telephone or in person seeking an explanation as to why the misuser hasneither acknowledged nor complied with the repeated written requests to cease and desist misuse of the MARKS.

5. If compliance or a satisfactory agreement cannot be reached between the Association's legal counsel and the misuser, then the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® will initiate legal action as necessary.

While this procedure, which is subject to acceleration if circumstances dictate, may seem somewhat protracted, the National Association believes that voluntary compliance is, in the long run, more beneficial and effective, both from the perspective of protecting and maintaining the MARKS and from that of cost-effectiveness. It has been our experience that only very rarely has resort to litigation by the Association been necessary.

IV. Sample Letters

Letter 1-For Unauthorized use of the MARKS by a Non-Member Real Estate Agent
(Member Board Letterhead)

(Non-Member's address)

RE: Unauthorized Use of the Term REALTOR®; REALTORS®; REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®; or the REALTOR® Logo (select which apply)

Dear Sir/Madam:

As (Pres., Exec. V.P., Exec. Officer) of the Board of REALTORS®, it has been brought to my attention that you are using the term REALTOR® (REALTORS®; REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®; the REALTOR® Logo) in connection with your real estate business despite the fact that, according to our records, you are not a Member of this Board or the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

The term REALTOR®; (REALTORS®; REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®; the REALTOR® Logo) is a federally registered collective membership mark owned exclusively by the National Association. That mark serves the singular function of identifying and distinguishing Members of the National Association from all other persons engaged in real estate activities. The mark is licensed for exclusive use by such Members as a means of indicating their membership.

Each Member Board of the National Association has responsibility for monitoring the use of the marks in its assigned jurisdiction. Since you are not a member of the Board and your office is located in this Board's jurisdiction, it is our responsibility to determine your eligibility to use the term REALTOR® and if you are not entitled to use the term REALTOR® (REALTORS®; REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®; the REALTOR® Logo) in connection with your real estate business to request you immediately discontinue doing so.

If you are a member of another Board of REALTORS® in connection with your office, please provide us with the name of that Board so that we may confirm your membership and right to use the REALTOR® marks.

If you wish to apply for membership in the Board of REALTORS®, whereby you would become authorized to use the subject mark, we would be most happy to provide you with information regarding application procedures. Unless you are already a member in connection with your office or an application is submitted and membership approved by our Board of Directors, your use of the marks is unauthorized and must be discontinued.

Accordingly, we would appreciate your prompt written reply to this letter and if you are not already authorized to use the REALTOR® mark, your written assurance that you will stop using the REALTOR® mark (REALTORS®; REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®; the REALTOR® Logo) and all other marks of the National Association until such time as you may become authorized to do so as a Member in good standing.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and early response.

(Signature of Officer)

bcc: Trademark Protection Coordinator
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Letter 2-For Unauthorized Use of the MARKS by a Member
(Member Board Letterhead)

(Member's address)

RE: Unauthorized Use of the Term REALTOR®, (REALTORS®; REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®; the REALTOR® Logo)

Dear Sir/Madam:

As (Pres., Exec. V.P., Exec. Officer) of the Board of REALTORS®, it has been brought to my attention that you are using the REALTOR® marks in connection with your (e.g. life insurance firm).

As a member of the National Association, you are licensed to use the REALTOR® marks subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Constitution and Bylaws of the National Association and in accordance with other policies and guidelines adopted by the National Association.

The Constitution and Bylaws prohibit the use of the REALTOR® marks by Members in any manner or for any activities other than in connection with such Member's "real estate business." "Real estate business," for purposes of this limitation, includes real estate brokerage, property management, mortgage financing, real estate appraising, real estate counseling, real estate syndication, land development and building. Since (e.g., the sale of life insurance policies) does not fall within this definition, your use of the mark in connection with such business is unauthorized and must be promptly discontinued.

As a Member of the National Association, and therefore one who understands the importance of protecting and promoting our valuable marks, we are confident that you will discontinue your use of the marks in connection with your (e.g., life insurance company), and request that you promptly provide us with your written assurance that you will comply with this request.

Thank you in advance for your cooperaton. We look forward to receiving your early reply.


(Signature of Officer)

bcc: Trademark Protection Coordinator
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Letter 3-For Unauthorized Use of the MARKS by a Manufacturer or Printer
(Member Board Letterhead)

(Address of Unauthorized User)

RE: Unauthorized Use of the REALTOR® Marks

Dear Sir/Madam:

As (Pres. , Exec., V.P., Exec. Officer) of the Board of REALTORS®, it has been reported that you have imprinted the term REALTOR® (REALTORS®; REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®; the REALTOR® Logo) on (e.g. T-Shirts) produced and distributed by your firm and you have not, to our knowledge, been authorized to do so.

The terms REALTOR®, REALTORS®, REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®, and the REALTOR® Logo are federally registered collective membership marks owned exclusively by the National Association. These marks serve the singular function of identifying and distinguishing Members of the National Association from all other persons engaged in real estate activities. They are licensed for use by such Members as a means of indicating their membership status.

Your use of the marks constitutes an infringement of the National Association's exclusive rights therein unless you have been properly licensed to use the marks. In the absence of such license, we request that you refrain from any further use of the marks and from any and all further production, distribution or sale of any products bearing the marks. We will appreciate receiving your prompt written assurance that you intend to comply with our request.

We look forward to receiving your early reply.


(Signature of Officer)

bcc: Trademark Protection Coordinator
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Letter 4 -For Improper Use of the MARKS by a Member
(Member Board Letterhead)

(Member's address)

RE: (e.g., Use of REALTORS® Mark in Business Name)


Dear Sir/Madam:

As (Pres., Exec. V.P., Exec. Officer) of the Board of REALTORS®, it has been brought to my attention that your are improperly using REALTORS® mark (REALTOR®; REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®; the REALTOR® Logo) (e.g., in your firm name).

As a Member of the National Association, you are licensed to use the REALTOR® (REALTORS®; REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®; REALTOR® Logo) mark subject to the terms and conditions of the Constitution and Bylaws of the National Association and other policies and guidelines adopted by the National Association, as described in the Membership Marks Manual.

(Here include an explanation of improper use, e.g., "As stated in the Manual, Members are prohibited from incorporating or registering or adopting a business name which includes the term REALTORS®. The term REALTORS® may be used in connection with, but not as part of, your firm name. In order to comply with the policies and guidelines of the National Association in your advertising, signage and elsewhere you must also separate your business name from the term REALTORS with punctuation; e.g. A firm named ABC Company may use, ABC Company, REALTORS® (in order to show that the term REALTORS® is not a part of your firm name.)

As a Member of the National Association, I am sure you understand the importance of properly using and protecting the REALTOR® marks. While we are confident that your misuse is inadvertent, we must nevertheless request that you change your use of the term REALTORS® to conform to National Association guidelines and provide us with your written assurance that you will comply with this request no later than the established compliance deadline of (timeframes should be reasonable and may be the subject of agreement between the Board and the Member).

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


(Signature of Officer)


bcc: Trademark Protection Coordinator
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Letter 5-For Improper Use of the Term REALTOR® by Newspapers (failure to capitalize)
(Member or Member Board Letterhead)

(Managing Editor - Newspaper address)

RE: Use of the Registered Mark REALTOR® (REALTORS®; REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®)


Dear Sir/Madam:

The Board of REALTORS® appreciates your fine record of service to the public and the real estate industry. You can understand our surprise and disappointment to find in your (date) (morning issue, evening issue) of the (paper name), an article entitled (headline) appearing at page in which the REALTOR® mark was not capitalized.

As (Pres. Exec. V.P., Exec. Officer) of the Board of REALTORS®, I want to take this opportunity to remind you that the term "REALTOR®" is a federally registered collective membership mark which identifies real estate professionals who are Members of the National Association and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics.

Since the subject term is a registered mark and serves this special identifying function, it should be used only in reference to real estate professionals who are Members of the National Association. The mark REALTOR® should also be distinguished from words of ordinary use by capitalization.

We will be most appreciative it if in the future you would capitalize the term REALTOR® in the manner specified in the AP and UPI style books and continue to use it only when referring to Members of the National Association. (For letter to local media, add -- "If you require any assistance in determining if a particular person is a Member of the Board of REALTORS® and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, feel free to contact us.")

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.


(Signature of Officer)


bcc: Member Board
Trademark Protection Coordinator
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Letter 6-For Improper Use of the Term REALTOR® (reference to a non-member or use as a synonym for "real estate professional" without regard to membership in the National Association)
(Member or Member Board Letterhead)

(Managing Editor - Newspaper address)

RE: Improper Use of the Registered Mark REALTOR®

Dear Sir/Madam:

The Board of REALTORS® appreciates your fine record of service to the public and the real estate industry. You can understand our concern upon finding the term REALTOR® incorrectly used in the (date) (morning issue, evening issue) of the (the paper's name) in an article entitled (headline) appearing on page .

As (Pres., Exec. V.P., Exec. Officer) of the Board of REALTORS®, I want to take this opportunity to remind you that the term REALTOR® is a federally registered collective membership mark which identifies real estate professionals who are Members of the National Association and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics.

Since the subject term is a registered mark and serves this special identifying function, it should never be used interchangeably with the terms "real estate broker," "broker," or "real estate agent" or in any other context which suggests that a person who deals in real estate is a REALTOR® without regard to his or her membership in the National Association.

(For an article with likely adverse effect on your Board and its members, insert as a separate paragraph -- "Because of the subject matter of that article, you will appreciate my concern regarding the adverse effects this incorrect reference is likely to have on the businesses and the reputations of the Members of the Board of REALTORS® and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. It would be appreciated if you would run a notice which points out that the individual(s) involved were not members of the (name of Board) Board or the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.)

We would be most appreciative if in the future you would capitalize the term REALTOR® in the manner specified in the AP and UPI style books and continue to use it only when referring to Member of the National Association. (For letter to local media, add -- "If you require any assistance in determining if a particular person is a Member of the Board of REALTORS® and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, feel free to contact us.")

(Signature of Officer)


bcc: Member Board
Trademark Protection Coordinator
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®


______________________________________________
*Member and Member Boards are cautioned that they may be held liable for injuries or damages resulting from use or abuse of items distributed whether or not the REALTOR® Logo or their name appears on the items. Careful thought and consideration for ultimate user safety should be supplemented with appropriate manufacturer's warranties and indemnifications and adequate insurance.

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