Home / Insights / Are Brand Trademarks Necessary for Real Estate Agents?

Are Brand Trademarks Necessary for Real Estate Agents?

by | Mar 14, 2024 | Intellectual Property, Trademark

This week, we will venture into a niche corner of intellectual property: real estate trademarks. Although the general perception of real estate agents may be that they are individuals acting in a solo commercial capacity, like a freelancer, the intellectual property rules do not differ from those of larger brands. 

In fact, real estate agents can create notably marked brands for themselves within their region – and the close proximity of their brand to their consumers can actually sharpen the loss of an infringed-upon brand, providing more reason to protect what they build. 

You Are a Brand, Therefore Register Your Mark

If you only gain one take-away from this article, let it be: your work as a real estate agent is building a brand, and you should register the marks of that brand just like any other legitimate business would. However, you may be wondering: What are my marks? Do I need to register a trademark for my name? Can I do that? Where do I start?

As we discussed in an earlier post this year about Taylor Swift’s NFL beau, you can register your own name as a trademark under the right circumstances. Essentially, you must prove that your name carries a distinctive commercial meaning on its own – and that consumers associate your product or service without confusion.

However, is it business savvy to use your own name as your real estate trademark? This is where you need to look to the future. If you plan to ever scale or sell your real estate business, you may want to create a separate name and register a trademark for it. Why would an unrelated buyer want the brand “Nathaniel Fitzgerald III”? 

You will also likely want to invest in a unique design as a logo. Most real estate consumers will either see your signs in passing or on the internet. In both instances, you are competing for their attention amid a busy environment, so an eye-catching design mark can mean the difference between recognition – leading to a possible sale – or indifference and forgottenness.

If you go to the effort of designing or paying for the design of a logo that represents your business well, make sure to register the design mark with the USPTO, too. It could become the pivotal intellectual property asset of your real estate business.

The Process

The good news is that, once you have identified the IP assets of your real estate business, registering them is no different from any other business trademark. First, make sure you conduct a trademark clearance search to make sure no one else is using the trademark you have selected or any trademark similar to yours.  If the trademark clearance search shows no identical or similar marks being used in the field of real estate, then start the process to register your trademarks. You will need to:

  • Gather materials that show how your trademarks are being used in commerce to promote your business
  • File trademark application(s) in appropriate categories
  • Answer any challenges to your applications

Additional Protection & Legitimacy From Real Estate Association Trademarks

Take note that you do not have to build your brand all by yourself. Some real estate organizations already have strong brands built, and they let realtors work under their umbrella. Joining one of these can lend you the consumer power of their recognizable trademarks.

Get Help Defining Your Real Estate Business IP Assets

If you look at the list of steps above and wonder how to start identifying your real estate agent IP assets or how to conduct a thorough clearance search – you are not alone. It is best to get the help of a professional when registering your trademark.


Get in Touch with Us

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Marks Gray P.A.

Connect with Us