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‘Real estate’ trademark dispute causes industry concern

18 August 2014

The REA Group, which use the domain name realestate.com.au, has lodged an application with IP Australia to trademark the words ‘real estate’. The Group’s attempt to create rights over the words ‘real estate’ has generated concern amongst all stakeholder groups within the industry in recent weeks.

REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin has weighed in on the conversation.

“Trademarks are there to protect the rights attaching to unique words affiliated with products and companies. For example Qantas, Coca Cola and Nike are words that are very unique. It is be inappropriate for a company to claim rights over everyday words like ‘real estate’,” Mr McKibbin said.

“I would be surprised if the REA Group could claim the rights to the words ‘real estate’, given the everyday use of the words in our society.”

A spokesperson from REA Group said the trademark does not mean realestate.com.au will own the words ‘real estate’.

“Our trademark would only extend to real estate portals, not to real estate agency sites, and there would be no change for sites such as realestateVIEW.com.au,” the spokesperson told the Australian Financial Review on Tuesday, 12 August 2014.

“This new trademark will recognise the goodwill and reputation we have created through our brand and help protect it from parties who may try to leverage off our brand.”