Legal Hotline Spotlight*Please note: Any questions regarding Legal Hotline Spotlights should be submitted via the Virginia REALTORS® Legal Hotline. Our attorneys are unable to respond to questions through our comments section.

Q:  I am representing a seller whose home is in a particular subdivision. The name of the subdivision is commonly used to refer to the geographic area, but the name is trademarked.  Can I refer to the trademarked name of the subdivision in my advertising without violating any intellectual property rights?

A:  Referring to trademarked names in an advertisement does not present a legal problem as long as the advertisements are truthful and do not give a false impression of business affiliation. In this case, it would be problematic to advertise a home as being located in the particular subdivision if, in fact, the home was not located there.

Likewise, it would not be acceptable to give the impression that an agent has a formal business relationship with the subdivision itself if none exists. As long as advertisements are truthful and do not suggest an affiliation, it is acceptable to refer to trademarked names in advertising.

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