July, 2017 InFRE Update: Guidelines for the Use of the Certified Retirement Counselor® (CRC®) Mark

We’ve noticed recently that some CRC® Certificants need a reminder on how to properly display the marks on their business cards, email signatures, or on LinkedIn.

Because the CRC® and Certified Retirement Counselor® marks are trademarked, it is important for all Certificants to properly display the marks in commerce.  CRC® Certificants are essentially “licensed” the right to use the marks to indicate that they currently meet all the requirements necessary to be a Certified Retirement Counselor®. By all of us doing our part to protect the use of the marks, we maintain their value.

Here is a reminder of how to properly use the marks, excerpted from the CRC® Certificant Handbook, beginning on page 14.

InFRE CRC® Trademarks

InFRE (the International Foundation for Retirement Education) owns CRC® trademarks on both the full name and short name (initials) as shown below:

Full Name Short Name (Initials)
Certified Retirement Counselor® CRC®

Using the Correct Symbols

A trademark which uses symbol “®” is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. The federal registration symbol “®” may only be used after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office actually registers a mark.

Style Guidelines (Presentation, usage, fonts, colors)

InFRE’s trademarks are very easy to use correctly. InFRE prefers that you present any trademark in italics; however, you may use a non-italicized format if you wish. There are no prescribed fonts or colors that you must use for a trademarked phrase or certification; you are free to use your best judgment and own sense of style when it comes to font selection and color choice.

Whether using the full name or initials, the CRC® certification trademark is a proper adjective that describes one of our educational programs. Do not use your marks as generic nouns or verbs. The appropriate trademark symbol must be used every time the trademark appears. Always use the full, proper trademarked brand names in all communications.

Proper Use

Capitalization. Always capitalize the first letters in Certified Retirement Counselor®. Always capitalize all letters in CRC®.

Abbreviations and Hyphenations. Do not abbreviate any of the trademarked full names. For instance, do not use “Cert. Ret. Counselor” for Certified Retirement Counselor®. Do not hyphenate any trademark. For example, do not use Certified-Retirement-Counselor®.

Trademarks as Adjectives. Always use the trademarks as adjectives modifying the Certificant’s name. For example, John Smith, Certified Retirement Counselor® or John Smith, CRC®.

Trademarks for People, not Firms. Always use the trademarks as adjectives for individual people, not groups or firms. For example, John Smith, Certified Retirement Counselor® is acceptable; Retirement Planning Ltd., CRC® is not acceptable.

Acceptable Usage Examples

A. Print (business cards, stationery, letterhead, ads, signs, brochures, fliers):

Business card


B. Online (e-mail, websites, domain names, email addresses):

The same guidelines apply as for print usage. Trademarks should not be included as part of an e-mail address nor a web site address or domain name.  jscrc@business.com and www.retirementplannerscra.com would NOT be acceptable use.

C. Presentation (PowerPoint):

InFRE trademarks should always be attributed with the proper symbol on all presentations that are displayed to the public (sales, educational, seminars, trade shows, etc.).


  1. Does Certified Retirement Counselor® have to be in italics?

No, though InFRE prefers that you do use italics when possible. Non-italicized type is acceptable though.

  1. I’m in the process of earning my certification; may I go ahead and use the appropriate mark now?

No; to protect the integrity of the educational programs and the marks, you cannot use any of InFRE’s trademarks until you have earned the appropriate certification and been granted permission to do so specifically in writing.

  1. How do I make the ® in my Word document or Outlook e-mail?

® = Ctrl+Alt+r (to superscript, highlight the symbol and press Ctrl+Shift

Posted in: The InFRE Update

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