NAR Obtains International Win in Protecting Trademark

November 29, 2018

The National Association of REALTORS® recently prevailed in a dispute over the term REALTOR® in Spain, marking a big win in preserving the trademark internationally.

NAR disputed the use of the REALTOR® trademark in applications from a Madrid, Spain, real estate brokerage called First Capital Partners, which filed to use the name “REALTORS® First Continental” and “REALTORS® Luxury Living.” REALTOR® is a collective membership mark registered and owned by the National Association of REALTORS® in over 60 jurisdictions worldwide.

However, the Spanish Trademark Office originally rejected NAR’s trademark violation claim in 2017. The office said at the time that the use of REALTOR® is a commonly used generic term used in connection with real estate services. NAR appealed the decision to avoid an unfavorable precedent.

Trademark win for NAR

© National Association of REALTORS®

After hearing the arguments, the Spanish Trademark Office reversed its prior decision and found that First Capital’s marks are confusingly similar to NAR’s REALTOR® mark. They also clarified that the REALTOR® trademarks are distinctive among Spanish consumers.

“Spain is one of NAR’s more active foreign jurisdictions, and historically NAR has had great success defending the REALTOR® Marks in that country,” says Chloe Hecht, NAR’s senior counsel. “There are no third-party REALTOR® registrations in Spain. These successes are very helpful when enforcing the REALTOR® marks in the [European Union].”

NAR actively enforces the use of membership marks—including the REALTOR® logo and the term REALTOR®—nationally and internationally. You can find usage rules outlined in the Membership Marks Manual