Tuesday Trainings: Can I use “WordPress” in my product name? part 1 of 2

This year we’ve changed the format of Tuesday Trainings to better get directly at the issues that seem to be on the minds of folks in our Community. How are we doing that? Great question. We’re either seeking to answer commonly asked questions or address commonly heard complaints, concerns, and confusions.

If there’s a question you’d like to see answered or a topic you’d like to see discussed please share it in the comments or email me at support@wordcamp.org with the subject line Tuesday Trainings. Now onto this week’s topic.

This week’s post is part 1 of a 2 part series around the WordPress trademark.

Can I use “WordPress” in my name?

Well you just opened up a big ol can of proverbial worms asking me this question. Because, strictly speaking, no. You can’t. Or at least you shouldn’t and the chances are if you’re doing so right now, you’re doing it without permission.

So let’s dive in and talk about the WordPress trademark. First a little background: The WordPress Foundation owns and oversees the trademarks for the WordPress and WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. names and logos

“Permission from the WordPress Foundation is required to use the WordPress or WordCamp name or logo as part of any project, product, service, domain name, or company name.”

The important thing to think about here is permission. People don’t always realize they aren’t supposed to use the name “WordPress” because they are able to procure a url or username with the word “WordPress” in it. Trademark law is there to keep others from using or misusing a trademarked name or logo. But it can’t stop them from picking it up. So sometimes we see things with WordPress in their name, title, URLURL A specific web address of a website or web page on the Internet, such as a website’s URL www.wordpress.org, or username when “WordPress” really doesn’t belong there. 

If you’re anything like me you are currently thinking of all of the times in the last week, month, year, decade, etc that you’ve seen “WordPress” used in a way that might not have been permitted. And that can just feel gross. So let’s sort out some facts about using the “WordPress” name and also dive into some of the feelings that you might experience around seeing others use it or not being permitted to use it yourself.

What’s the actual trademark Policy?

To read WordPress Foundations Trademark Policy in its entirety you should go straight to the source and read the entire written policy here.

But in short, the WordPress Foundation wants to make it easy for anyone to use the WordPress or WordCamp name or logo for community efforts that spread and improve WordPress and wants to make it difficult for anyone to use the WordPress or WordCamp name or logo to trick or confuse people who are looking for official WordPress or WordCamp resources. 

So when I think about whether something should have WordPress in the url, name, or title I ask myself one question. Is this an “official” WordPress event or resource?

If the answer is “yes” then you’re probably working with someone who is familiar with the nuances of how to go about this. If the answer is “no” then you should leave the trademarked name “WordPress” or “WordCamp” out of it.

I bet you have questions. Ask them! 

Perhaps, does this mean I can’t build something for WordPress?!?!?

No! No no no it doesn’t mean that at all. Next week we’ll dive into this question and I’ll share more information on how you can use “WordPress” or “WP” in your work. We’ll also touch on swag, what to do if you think your project isn’t in alignment with the TM– or someone else’s project isn’t in alignment– and I will answer any questions you might have from this week’s post. 

So if there’s something you’re wondering about the WordPress and WordCamp trademarks that you would like me to answer on next Week’s Tuesday Training please let me know.

And if you have a question about the trademarks you’d prefer to ask privately you can email questions to trademarks@wordpressfoundation.org any time.

#tuesdaytrainings, #wordpress-trademark