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  • Karel Costa-Armas

Trademark Infringement - Using the Association's Name

Common Interest Communities have a name to protect.


Trademark Infringement is the unauthorized use of a trademark or service mark on or in connection with goods and or services in a manner that is likely to cause confusion, deception, or mistake about the source of the goods and or services. With technology having advanced so much and put tremendous resources at one’s fingertips, it is easy for someone to generate posts, groups, social media pages, or profiles that would depict them having an implied authorization to represent the association. This is new territory for most associations and attorneys really have not delved into the details.


Depending on the activity around your property, and who stands to profit from using the association's name in connection with their business, you may or may not have to monitor this matter often.


One common occurrence is a real estate brokerage or agent that sets up a website using the association’s name within the URL or domain address. For example, Pleasant Creek Owners Association can be portrayed as PleasantCreekAssociationHomes.com online but actually have no relationship to the association. If you find businesses profiting from using your association's name, I recommend advising your attorney and get legal advice on whether or not the use of the association's name is allowable.


One other example that your association may look into is FACEBOOK pages and groups that imply authority on behalf of the association. If you find something on the web that misrepresents your association, bring it up to the rest of the board and consult with your attorney.


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