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.
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.
Updated: December 14, 2018