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

Last week kicked off part 1 of this 2 part Tuesday Training topic about use of the WordPress trademark. Last week I explained the WordPress Trademark policy and some of the thoughts behind it. This week, in order to make sure the explanation of the WordPress Trademark policy is clear I thought I would answer a few questions I commonly see come in about the trademarks for 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.. Let’s get right back to it, shall we?

Does this mean I can’t build something for WordPress?!?!?

No. Not at all. And I’m sorry if I made you think that. WordPress, both the software and the community surrounding it, is open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL.. It takes all kinds of contributors to create, build, support, maintain, educate, and energize WordPress. But it does mean if you are creating something within the WordPress space that is not officially part of the WordPress project you should use “WP” instead. 

I want to pause for a moment to address any of you who have already created something using “WordPress” in the name or with “WordPress” in the URLURL A specific web address of a website or web page on the Internet, such as a website’s URL www.wordpress.org and tell you something you might need to hear. When I see someone using “WordPress” without permission I always assume it’s because they didn’t know they weren’t supposed to. Not because they’re doing it with ill intent. So if you happen to be in that position and you want to figure out how to fix things, please feel free to reach out to trademarks@wordpressfoundation.org and someone will help you bring your site, event, or product into compliance with the WP Trademark. 

But t-shirts and stickers are cool, right?

Mostly not. In a typical year I see a lot of swag (shirts, stickers, bags, hand sanitizer, stuffed animals, sweatshirts, mugs, cups, pencils… the list goes on and on) with the WordPress or WordCamp logo or name on it. And most of that swag is okay because it is being given out for free at a WordCamp and has been approved. It’s common for WordCamps to give out branded event swag. And it’s not uncommon to see sponsors give out branded WordPress swag at events. And usually that’s alright. One of the key factors here is that it is being given away. It’s not for profit. Another one is that, if this has all been done “by the book” those items have been reviewed by the organizing team to ensure they uphold the standards of the project. 

But in this time of very few in-person events I’m not seeing a whole lot of swag. And that is to be expected, because without express permission from WordPress Foundation you can’t sell WordPress goods or co-brand your goods to make them seem affiliated with WordPress.

Reading all this, I realize someone I know is not in compliance with the Trademark. What should I do?

First thing is to remember that they’re probably not aware they’re not complying with the trademark. We want to assume good intent whenever possible. You can talk to them about it if you feel comfortable, or even just share this post with them. Alternatively you can submit information to a WordPress Foundation contact form and let someone there do the work of assuming good intent and reaching out to them.

I’ve already reported this site/thing/person and nothing has been done!

Yep. And that is super frustrating. This is a process that takes a while to get a handle on. It’s been slow going but it’s something that, even as I type this, more bandwidth is being given to. So if you’ve reported something in the past, know that it’s being worked on in the coming months. If you’re worried that it got lost you’re welcome to send it in again. 

Is there anything I can do to help?

The biggest help anyone in WordPress can give is to respect the Trademark themselves. I know for many that seems like passive work and you may be looking to actively do something. Being an active and respectful part of a community is a big help though.

Next week on a very special episode of Tuesday Trainings

Next week, we will have yet another live session as part of Tuesday Trainings, on do_action hackathons, organized by @harishanker. Hari is organizing a live panel discussion on Tuesday April 12th on how to organize a successful do_action charity hackathon online. Stay tuned for more details! 

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