Advertising Rules

Trademarks of Other Companies – What to do when referencing Trademarks of Other Companies in your ads

We all understand that there are special rules when referencing another companies trademark.  But does that mean you cannot make a reference to another company’s mark in your advertising material?  There’s other rules that come up here under fair competition rules etc. but we will focus our answer here on what’s the proper way to reference the other company’s trademark or service mark.

The best answer is to find some element of permission in the use of the other company’s mark. For example, if we want to reference Apple’s app store or the Apple iPhone, we should do a quick google search like ‘apple use of trademark guidelines”.   When you do that search, you will find Apple’s webpage entitled Guidelines for Using Apple Trademarks and Copyrights.  You will find a lot of rules of what Apple expects of you when using their marks.  Also, you will see these rules about giving proper “attribution” to Apple for the Apple marks.

Proper Trademark Notice and Attribution

1. Distribution Within the United States Only

a. On product, product documentation, or other product communications that will be distributed only in the United States, use the appropriate trademark symbol (TM, SM, ®) the first time the Apple trademark appears in the text of the advertisement, brochure, or other material.

b. Refer to the Apple Trademark List for the correct trademark symbol, spelling of the trademark, and generic term to use with the trademark. Generally, the symbol appears at the right shoulder of the trademark (except the Apple Logo, where the logo appears at the right foot).

c. Include an attribution of Apple’s ownership of its trademarks within the credit notice section of your product, product documentation, or other product communication.

Following are the correct formats:

_________ and _______ are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.

_________ and _______ are trademarks of Apple Inc.


Keep in mind in the mortgage business that these rules apply to references to Fannie Mae products for example.  So if you want to mention a Fannie Mae product that has been trademarked by Fannie Mae, you will have to use the following attribution to Fannie:

HomePath® is a registered trademark of Fannie Mae.


Note that if you are using logos for any Fannie Mae products you will need to get advance permission from Fannie Mae to use such logo in your advertisements.

Keep these rules in mind next time you are referencing another company’s trademarks and intellectual property.


Georgia Mortgage Advertising Rules – watch out for tricky rules

We recently learned that Georgia has a special rule related to references to another lender’s name in your ads. In this case however, there was no mention of a prior lender, but instead the ad referred to the borrower’s current loan of $230,000 which is available from public records.

What was the violation?’

It turns out that if you reference the existing loan amount of the consumer, that is a trigger of specific disclosure rules where you must say the name of the prior lender and you must add a clear and conspicuous statement in the ad that your company is not affiliated with the existing lender.

Recommendation – don’t include the consumer’s current loan amount in your ads sent to Georgia customers – if you do so you will have to comply with the above requirements.

Model ARM Disclosure – Adjustable Rate Mortgage Ad

So you want to place an add for a 5/1 ARM on a flyer, a mailer, a banner ad, a Facebook post? What needs to be in that ad? Lets assume you have some triggering terms like a payment amount or an interest rate so you will need to make all applicable disclosures.ARM Rates

Here’s the list of what must be your ad:
1) The APR (annual percentage rate). This should be listed right next to the statement of the interest rate – in same size font and same font color etc. It must be clear and conspicuous.
2) Make sure its clear that your ad in an adjustable rate mortgage loan (ARM) product and do not hide this fact.
3) State the effective date of the interest rate you have displayed.
4) Include a statement that the rates are subject to change.
5) State the payment amount during the initial five year period.
6) And here’s the tricky part – state that remaining terms of the repayment. This requires you to tell the borrower how the payment will change after the five years are up.

Need more info, check out the Advertising Disclosure Samples at our main site:

How to advertise Home Equity Lines of Credit (“HELOCS”)

I was asked to write the disclosure for a HELOC advertisement recently and realized it’s been many years since I had done so. I needed a refresher on the rules so I checked out Regulation Z to find out what the rules are for HELOC ads.  There’s an entirely different set of rules that closed end credit ads but I realized it really boils down to telling the consumer about three important things:

  1. What are the costs to obtain the loan and to maintain it each year?
  2. What are the terms of the repayment of the loan?
  3. What finance charges apply, ie. what’s the APR, and how do you calculate the rate that can change over the term of the loan?

We added a new page that discusses all of these rules for HELOC Ads. Check it out at: HELOC Disclosures – How to Advertise a Home Equity Line of Credit.