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Trademark/Logo Use with Firm Name

Trademark/Logo Use with Firm Name

For purposes of this Manual, the term "firm name" means the local name by which the firm is distinguished from other firms by the Member Board, the state licensing authority and the public. In the case of firms that are affiliated with a franchise organization and independent offices owned by a conglomerate, the local firm name, rather than the franchisor or conglomerate name and logo, serve to distinguish one franchise or conglomerate office from another of the same franchise or conglomerate and operating within the same state or same market area. Use of the firm address may also be useful in identifying franchise and conglomerate offices, but is even more important for multi-office firms and independent firms commonly owned.

With the foregoing in mind, the terms REALTOR®, REALTORS® and REALTOR-ASSOCIATE® may be used adjacent to a firm's name, but the terms REALTOR or REALTORS may not be included as part of the firm name.

The objective of this limitation is to restrict use of the MARKS to a local firm name, since it is the local firm which has elected to be a member firm and which is therefore subject to the Code of Ethics and requests for arbitration before the Member Board to whom that firm belongs.

Examples of this requirement are the following:

Improper Use
Blackacre REALTORS®, Inc.
Smith REALTORS®, Ltd.
Sunshine REALTORS® Homes

Proper Use
Blackacre, Inc., REALTORS® (firm's name Blackacre, Inc.)
Smith, Ltd., REALTORS® (firm's name Smith, Inc.)
Sunshine Homes, REALTORS® (firm's name Sunshine Homes)

Member John Doe's firm Doe Realty is a franchisee of a franchise named DECADE 80, and Member Jane Smith's firm Smith Realty is an independent office of an interstate conglomerate named BYGONE, are as follows:

Improper Use
Doe Realty, DECADE 80, REALTORS®
Smith Realty, BYGONE, REALTORS®

Proper Use
DECADE 80, Doe Realty, REALTORS®
BYGONE, Smith Realty, REALTORS®

When changing a firm name or selecting a new firm name, Members are strongly encouraged to utilize the words "Realty," "Real Estate," or similar terms that indicate the real estate nature of their business. When these words are used in the firm name, the terms REALTOR® and REALTORS® are more clearly and easily perceived as indicators of membership and professional commitment.

Proper Use

Preferred
Jack Jones Realty, Inc., REALTORS®
Acceptable
Jack Jones, Inc., REALTORS®

As noted previously, the terms REALTOR®, REALTORS® and REALTOR-ASSOCIATE® must always be separated from the firm name by punctuation, even when the term appears on a separate line.¹

Improper Use
Jack Jones Realty, Inc.
REALTORS®

S.S. Smith
REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®

Proper Use
Jack Jones Realty, Inc.,
REALTORS®

S.S. Smith -
REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®

While the terms REALTOR® and REALTORS® may be used in connection with a firm name, they may not be used in conjunction with a description of the firm's other lines of business or any other occupation or vocation of the Member, even if the other occupation or vocation is part of or related to the Member's real estate business.

Improper Use
Jones, Inc., REALTOR®/Builder

Smith Realty, REALTORS® - Insurance

Proper Use
Jones, Inc., REALTOR®
Real Estate Broker/Builder

Smith Realty, REALTORS®
Real Estate Brokerage-Insurance

Use of words such as Builder or Insurer, when used in conjunction with the terms REALTOR® or REALTORS®, tend to mislead the public into thinking that the term REALTOR® is an ordinary descriptive word which identifies an occupation or vocation, like the word builder or lawyer.

REALTOR® Members who are corporate officers of national real estate brokerage franchise organizations are not authorized to use the REALTOR® MARKS adjacent to, in connection with or as a part of the name of the real estate brokerage franchise organization.

A. On Letterhead/Business Cards

The MARKS may be used on the business cards and letterhead of Members provided the rules of form and the guidelines concerning use of the MARKS in connection with a business name are followed. An individual Member's name must be separated from the terms REALTOR®, REALTORS® and REALTOR-ASSOCIATE® by punctuation. For example:

Proper Use
J.J. Jones, REALTOR®
S.S. Smith, GRI,
REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®

A Member firm may use the terms REALTOR® or REALTORS® on business cards or letterhead used by non-member brokers or salespersons provided the term is used in connection with the firm name and not the name of such individual and it is otherwise clear that it is the broker or principals of the firm that hold REALTOR® membership and not the salesperson. For example:

Proper Use
ABC Real Estate Company, REALTORS®
Address
City, State
S.S. Smith
Sales Agent
Phone

B. On Signs/In Advertising

The MARKS may be used on a Member's office and yard signs and in advertising provided such use conforms to the policies and guidelines set forth in this Manual. Remember that the firm address must accompany uses of the MARKS when such use extends beyond the jurisdiction of the Member's Member Board.

C. On Incentive Items/Give-Aways

Members may desire to have various business supply items produced for distribution to and use by their sales force. These items (e.g., desk sets, plaques, memo pads) may be imprinted with the MARKS provided that such items are intended solely for the business use of salespersons that are Members. If any items are to be used also by non-member salespersons, the firm's name and address must appear adjacent the MARKS.

Give-away items (functional promotional items distributed by Members to the public or clients at little or no cost) may also be desirable and may be imprinted with the MARKS provided that the name of the Member or Member's firm name and address is also imprinted adjacent to the MARKS. This is to make clear that the MARKS refer to the membership of the distributor and not the recipient or end user.

D. Pronouncing the Terms REALTOR®, REALTORS® and REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®

Irrespective of local dialect and custom, the term REALTOR® has but one pronunciation:
REAL' tor

Members are encouraged to carefully train new employees and salespeople, particularly receptionists, on the proper pronunciation of the term REALTOR®. Consistent aural use is just as important as consistent visual use to the preservation of the distinctive and recognizable character of the MARKS. Teach employees and salespeople to avoid uses such as:

"Good morning! John Doe, REAL-A-TORS." or

"Good morning! John Doe, REAL-I-TORS." or

"Good morning! John Doe, RE-LA-TERS." or

"Good morning! John Doe, RE-AL-TORS."


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