The National Association of Realtors has amended its trademark policy to formalize its practice of allowing members to use the "Realtor" logo on their gravestone.
NAR has granted verbal approval to such requests — it gets one or two a year — for longstanding members, said Mike Thiel, NAR associate counsel.
The requests typically come from longtime members, for whom being a Realtor "was a very important part of their life, and their family thinks it should be reflected on their tombstone," Thiel said. "You have people who have been in the business for 60 years, and have been in leadership positions, and it was a significant part of their social and professional life."
Because NAR had no official policy on the question, Thiel said he has granted verbal permission to requests to use the Realtor logo on headstones, but was reluctant to provide written guidance.
Gary Krysler, executive vice president of the Women’s Council of Realtors, who broke the story on Twitter, said some monument companies would not chisel "Realtor" on a headstone without written permission from NAR.
Thiel confirmed that the trademark policy was amended, allowing NAR to provide written permission to use the Realtor logo on headstones.
The policy change generated considerable interest when Krysler "tweeted" about it Thursday morning.
The Women’s Council of Realtors — which shares the same address on Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue as NAR — sent out a bulletin to the group’s 4,857 followers on Twitter, declaring: "NAR amended its Trademark Policy. If you’re a REALTOR®, and you die, you may now put the Realtor logo on your tombstone."
The news raised a few eyebrows on Twitter, a text messaging site, including this response from Riverside, Calif.-based broker Kathy McGraw: "That’s about the dumbest thing I ever heard of … who cares when we die if we are a REALTOR."
Tuscon, Ariz.-based blogger Frances Flynn Thorsen used her Twitter account to querry NAR about the report, asking, "Is (this) … a joke or is there a link? Whose idea was this?"
But a few hours later, NAR deleted its response to Thorsen, and posted an update: "Ignore our previous tweet!! There *is* a new policy allowing the ‘R’ logo on grave markers."
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