The word or expression REALTOR applies to all the real estate practitioners in Canada who are associates of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) as well as to the affiliates of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in the neighbouring United States. Members of the REALTOR advocate a very high measure of specialized services or assistance and abide by an austere code of moral values in business. In Canada, the CREA authorizes the members to use the REALTOR signs in all matters relating to them or their dealings in real estate property.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is in charge of upholding the approved and appropriate utilization of the brand names or trademarks 'REALTOR', 'REALTORS' and the 'REALTOR' insignia through out Canada. As far as the 'REALTOR' brand names are concerned, the CREA has an accord known as the Trademark License and International Affiliate Agreement with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in the United States. At the time of writing this piece, the agreement is being renegotiated between the two organizations.

In their capacity of being members of a board or association, individual members of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) are authorized to make use of one or multiple REALTOR signs for themselves as individuals as well as for their dealings in real estate property. However, these individuals are not permitted to use the REALTOR marks as a component of their company or trade names. Even the agents as well as the marketing persons may use the REALTOR marks to indicate that they are members of the CREA. Nevertheless, they are not entitled to use the REALTOR marks or insignia denoting the synonym for a real estate agent or marketing agent. They are also not entitled to use the signs of any other business relating to real estate.

The prerequisites for obtaining a membership of a local real estate board are usually decided by the board. The member board of CREA preserves the exclusive right to deny membership involving the use of the REALTOR trademarks to an individual or agency if it is found that they are occupied with pursuits that does not presently come under the purview of what is described as real estate or property business as specified in the CREA's manuscript named the 'Real Estate Trademarks Manual'.

The membership of an individual as well as his or her permit to utilize the REALTOR marks or signs expires by design when the reputation of the member falls in the standing of a CREA associate board. There are several reasons that may lead to the termination of an individual's association with a CREA member board and they include failure to reimburse outstanding payment amounts or any other raison d'Ítre. The membership of an individual may also be terminated if for any reason he or she no longer remains in the good reputation of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). It is important to note that an individual or organization that is not a member of the CREA is by no means allowed to use the expression or emblem of REALTOR in relation to their corporate identity or business dealings.

Incidentally, the expression REALTOR does not precisely specify the profession of those using the term. According to the CREA, a realtor may be any individual or organization that constitutes any of the multiple professions under the real estate business. For instance, a realtor may be engaged in real estate brokerage or commission agency, funding mortgages, property management, evaluating real estate properties, counselling people desiring to buy or sell real estate properties, land development, forming partnerships or unions with other real estate individuals or organizations and even construction of buildings.

Here it may be mentioned that trademarks or brand names may be defined as exclusive expressions or symbols/ emblems that convey an explicit significance to the masses or a clientele regarding any individual, firm and/ or their products and/ or services. Often trademarks include both symbols and terms. In due course of time, trademarks or brand names have turned out to be related with the yardstick for measuring the superiority of services or products. In fact, the masses or public regard the trademarks and brand names as assurances of continued superior services and products.

If the owners of the trademarks are not cautious enough about protecting them, they may loose them. In order to protect and uphold the trademarks, the owners should essentially make use of them discreetly and only in their capacity as trademarks. It is important that the trademarks ought to be differentiated from common words normally by means of capital letterings. In addition, the users of the trademarks need to abide by the laws regulating the application of the symbols or trademarks compliant with definite criterion of services or aptitudes of the people using the trademarks.

Special regulations regarding REALTOR logo

A number of regulations have been laid down by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) vis-à-vis the use of the REALTOR logo or insignia. Some of these selected rules are mentioned below.

  • The first letter 'R' of the REALTOR logo is in Futura typeface or font on a strongly contrasting backdrop making the 'R' appear like a block below which the word REALTOR is centrally positioned. The Futura typeface was specially selected owing to its distinct and neat graphic disposition. No one is permitted to replace this typeface and style when using the REALTOR logo.
  • A number of instructions and rules have been devised regarding the symmetry, dimension, contrasting colors and arrangement of the REALTOR logo with a view to make certain that the masses will keep on identifying the REALTOR insignia as a unique trade name and not merely as any ornamental pictogram.
  • It is essential to monitor the distinctiveness of the color between the REALTOR term and the rectangle as also the uniqueness of the color between the 'R' of REALTOR and the quality of paper on which the logo is printed. The three rules mentioned below must be followed in order to make certain that the logo is being used appropriately:
    • It is permissible to use any two colors permutations while printing the REALTOR logo, but the colors ought to be distinctively contrasting.
    • Same color should be used for the block encircling the letter 'R' and the word REALTOR. For instance, if the block around the 'R' is printed in black color, then the word 'REALTOR also ought to be in black.
    • The letter 'R' and the color of the paper on which the logo is printed should also be similar. For instance, it is never appropriate to print a blue 'R' on a white paper or paper with any other background other than the color of the letter 'R'. In the event of using a grey paper for printing the logo, the 'R' too ought to be in grey color.
  • It is advisable to shun printing any matter/ text in ornamental typefaces/ fonts next to the REALTOR logo as doing so is be liable to belittle the characteristic aspects of the logo's design. At the same time, special care must be taken never to use any text in the Futura typeface that is used to print the conventionalized letter 'R' - the first word of the logo - beside or in the neighbourhood of the REALTOR insignia.
  • One should never make use of the word REALTOR to produce any innovative expression or phrase like REALTORistic, REALTORific and so on. This is strictly prohibited as any effort to modify or alter the name REALTOR will have a tendency to fade the uniqueness of the trademark and also debilitate the distinctive role or purpose of the logo.
  • Overlaying or superimposition of the REALTOR insignia on any type of pictorial motif, diagram or design is strictly disallowed as this would again undermine the typical artful conception of the logo.
  • No one should ever make use of the expression REALTOR to denote real estate or realty broker, agent, representative, sales person like the prominent REALTOR in Anycity. In effect, the expression REALTOR is only applied to name the members of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
  • The block of the letter 'R' in the REALTOR logo is never supposed to be made use of as an element of the name of any brokerage firm or individual. The block 'R' must also not be utilized as the first letter of any terms or phrases starting with the letter 'R', especially in expressions such as Real Estate, Realtor, Realty or even the word REALTOR.
  • It is advisable not to substitute the expression REALTOR with any other attribute or descriptive terms, for instance words like Realty or Real State. The REALTOR logo comprises three main facets - the block, the conventionalized 'R' and the distinguishable expression or word REALTOR. It is essential that the REALTOR insignia must consist of all these three prominent elements.
  • Referring any individual or organization such as a brokerage firm that is not an associate of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) as a non-REALTOR is always inappropriate.
  • The expression REALTOR should never be utilized in association with the name of any firm, business or organization. No member of the CREA is allowed to include the term REALTOR in their name and no name that incorporates the word REALTOR can be used or registered with any authority.
  • In the event of any CREA member deciding to include the expression/ word REALTOR in his or her company's name, they ought to use punctuations to break up the term REALTOR with the name of the member's firm. For instance, no member can use the name ABC REALTORS Ltd. for his or her business, but is permitted to use a business name such as ABC Ltd., REALTORS.
  • Irrespective of any local language or convention, the trademark REALTOR can only be pronounced in one way - REAL'TOR and not REAL-A-TOR or any other manner.
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