Is the Chicago Association of Realtors fostering trademark fraud?

Real estate agents often have a long list of acronyms corresponding to “professional” designations following their names. My generally-accurate rule of thumb is: the more unrecognizable acronyms, the less competent the agent. That’s especially true as to acronyms that aren’t officially recognized or endorsed by the National Association of Realtors.

Some of the designations claimed by real estate agents signify nothing more, in my opinion, than a gullible agent or one who thinks the public can be easily duped. These junk designations take only a few hours to achieve, and typically require no demonstration of competence.

I encountered a new junk designation earlier today, the ADPR, an acronym for Accredited Distressed Property Representative. Here’s the description from the Chicago Association of Realtors:

The ADPR designation focuses on training REALTORS®, attorneys, investors, and homeowners to be proficient in conducting short sale transactions. This designation educates and supports those who have decided to integrate the emergent niche market of short sales and foreclosures into their business.

The Accredited Distressed Property Representative Designation (ADPR) designation is awarded to those who successfully complete the two-day course by passing the final examination.

“The ADPR® designation is not affiliated with or endorsed by the National Association of REALTORS®.”

You will learn:
Where your market is going
Foreclosure options
Financing options
How to keep a client
How to build your business

Additional Benefits of the ADPR® Designation:
Regular Updates on Short Sale and Foreclosure Issues
Legal Matter Updates on Short Sale, Foreclosure and REO Properties
Customizable Marketing Pieces, Press Release, Post Cards and Brochures
Listing in a Searchable Online Directory for Future Referrals
Certificate and Lapel Pin

Despite the use of the ® symbol designating a federally registered trademark, the ADPR mark hasn’t even been applied for, much less granted registration status.

Deliberate use of the federal registration symbol may constitute fraud, although it’s probably just a reflection of ignorance in this case.

NOTE: We’ve previously written about the Chicago Association of Realtors’ cavalier attitude toward the misuse of professional designations by its members.

ADDED 4/15: The Chicago Association of Realtors has updated the page in question by removing the offending use of the trademark symbol.

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