(NAR) 3/8/2012 -- The National Association of Realtors® has won a challenge to the use of its trademark Realtor® in a domain name operated by a former member.
NAR rules allow members to use its trademark Realtor® in domain names according to specific requirements and rules. After extensive but unsuccessful efforts by NAR to persuade the operator of the website GayRealtor.com to comply with those rules, NAR challenged the use of that domain name in an administrative proceeding before the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the body that governs use of such domain names. ICANN issued its decision on March 7, holding that use of GayRealtor.com was misleading and not adopted in good faith.
NAR owns numerous U.S. trademark registrations for the term “Realtor,” and only NAR members can use the Realtor® marks in accordance with governing NAR by-laws. Realtor® marks can only be used in connection with a member’s name or the legal name of his or her real estate firm to identify themselves as a member of NAR. Members are given notice of this obligation upon obtaining membership with the association. NAR also permits the use of the mark Realtor® in a domain name or advertisement, but only in connection with the member’s name or firm’s name.
“The Realtor® mark is a valuable branding and marketing resource allowed only to NAR members,” said NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami. “The term Realtor® is not only protected by federal law, but it is also a membership benefit that distinguishes members from all others in the real estate business. NAR works hard to protect the integrity of this brand for its 1 million members. This victory is an important demonstration of how NAR does just that.”
The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.