A trademark is the identifying factor of any single thing, the industry of franchise. The MLS listing trademark is a very important part of the system that ensures the exclusivity of the system and the rights that the MLS system holds on their name, services and building blocks. A trademark will identify the system and ensure that no other company can come up with the same name and exact services. This helps protect the system.
The trademark is not just used as anyone pleases. Whether by members or non-members, the MLS trademark is to be respect and used in adherence to all the requirements that are stated for the use of this service and the trademark. The MLS trademark should be used as an adjective and not a noun as it is used to describe the standard of MLS services, not the listing system.
The MLS trademark can be used in marketing merchandise like t-shirts and caps that are aimed at popularizing or spreading a particular message on behalf of the MLS listing service. These are most popular in MLS listing events and any rallies held by or on behalf of the MLS. Registration of trademarks is not compulsory but is important in protecting ownership of the business. The kind of symbol that is used on a trademark has a different use. The MLS® system means that the trademark has been successfully registered.
Requirements for the use of the MLS trademark
Must be permitted to use the MLS trademark
This is covered under license and agreement which is an elaborate term of the MLS that states, only associations of realtors are freely allowed the use of the MLS trademark. Only with special permission that is written and signed can a non-member use the trademark. Members of associations of realtors are allowed use under the guidance of their respective association that ensures they uphold the requirements and rules attached to the use of the MLS trademark.
Must always be used in capital letters
The MLS trademark is in capital letters and must always be used in capital letters so that it is used correctly. If the trademark is used in small letters or one of the letters is in small letters, then that is not the MLS trademark and represents something entirely different. Anyone found in violation risks being stripped off their use of the trademark privileges.
Must always have the trademark sign
The trademark sign may not ring as important to most people but without this sign, it is not clear that it is a trademark or just and abbreviation of the multiple listings service. The MLS® is important to denote the standard of the service. The symbol is the most important part in identifying a trademark from any other denotations.
The trademark should not be combined with anything else
It is required that no other words or symbols are combined with the trademark as it makes the trademark less commanding. This makes the standard that the trademark represents less effective and respectable. A trademark is sufficiently capable of representing itself and does not need to be introduced or overly decorated to be noticeable.
Do not use the trademark in domain names
The realtor associations and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) that is responsible for managing the MLS trademark strictly prohibits all members or anyone using the trademark from using it in their domain names.
The MLS trademark should not be used in meta tags
People will want to associated and identified with the MLS and end up using the MLS trademark in their page descriptions or titles. This is not allowed as only the MLS service has rights to the trademark and no individual or entity should try to identify themselves with the MLS listing system.
Benefits of a trademark
Defines a business
The trademark is what defines a business and its products. The trademark is used on all products and service documentations to explicitly show that source and the business responsible for the products.
Exclusive ownership rights
The trademark symbol may seem insignificant but it is a very powerful tool that gives exclusive ownership rights to the individual or entity that filed for the trademark. Once the trademark has been approved, there is no other person that can claim ownership. There is a system that is used to check for availability of the trademark selected. Once it is confirmed that no other companies have registered under that trademark it is issued. A trademark is unique to every business and no two companies can share a similar trademark even if in different parts of the world as this could cause confusion.
Protects the owner and the business
Competitors cannot use a similar mark as a trademark to try and dupe their way into stealing clients from the original holder of the trademark. If the holder of a trademark suspects this is the case that a competitor is using their trademark, they have the right to take legal action against the competitor where they will both be required to provide documents proving their ownership of the trademark.
The trademark helps a business be able to sue for damages depending on the situation or on what the damage to the business name or trademark is. The protection that the business and the owner is given by registering a trademark is usually forever because trademarks have no expiration dates on them.