WordPress Foundation: Answering FAQs on WordPress Trademarks and their usage

The WordPress Foundation owns and manages trademarks for the WordPress and WordCamp names and logos. Over the years, many people have approached us with questions on WordPress trademarks and how to use them. This blog post aims to address some of the most common questions and clarify the usage of WordPress trademarks.

Can I use “WordPress” in my name?

Strictly speaking, you cannot use “WordPress” in your website name or your product name. As mentioned in the WordPress Foundation trademarks page

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 purpose of trademark law is to keep others from using or misusing a trademarked name or logo. But it cannot stop them from picking it up. Sometimes, people use “WordPress” in their name, title, URL, or username when “WordPress” really does not belong there. However, such uses of the trademark violate the WordPress trademark nevertheless, and cannot be allowed.

What is the actual trademark Policy?

You can find the entire written Trademark policy on the Trademarks policy page of this website. In short, the purpose of this policy is to make it easy for anyone to use the WordPress or WordCamp name or logo for community efforts that spread and improve WordPress. It also aims to make it difficult for anyone to use the WordPress or WordCamp name or logo to trick or confuse people looking for official WordPress or WordCamp resources. When you are in doubt, ask yourself this question: “Is this an “official” WordPress event or resource?” If the answer is “no,” then you should leave the trademarked name “WordPress” or “WordCamp” out of it.

Does this mean I cannot build something for WordPress?

NO. The trademark policy does not restrict people from building anything for WordPress. WordPress, both the software and the community surrounding it, is open source. 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 not use the name “WordPress” to name it. However, you can use an alternative name like “WP” instead of “WordPress” for your products. 

I was unaware of the Trademark policy and already created something using “WordPress” in the name or the URL. What do I do now?

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 (or send us a message through the contact form on this site), and someone will help you bring your site, event, or product into compliance with the WP Trademark. 

Does the trademark policy apply to WordPress swag? 

Yes. Using the WordPress logo in products or any sort of swag is not permitted. Without express permission from WordPress Foundation, you cannot sell WordPress goods or co-brand your goods to make them seem affiliated with WordPress.

However, WordPress swag (shirts, stickers, bags, hand sanitizer, stuffed animals, sweatshirts, mugs, cups, pencils… to name a few) – given out at a WordCamp is okay. Branded WordPress swag from sponsors at a WordCamp is also allowed. This is because the swag is being given out for free (not for profit) at an official WordPress event, and has been approved. You can also find approved WordPress swag in the official WordPress swag store.

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

The first thing is to remember that this person could be unaware they are 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 the trademark policy with them. Alternatively, you can submit information to the Trademarks contact form on the site or send an email to trademarks@wordpressfoundation.org and let someone there do the work of assuming good intent and reaching out to them.

I have already reported this site/thing/person, and nothing has been done!

The process of resolving trademark issues takes a while, so we have assigned more bandwidth to speed up the process.  If you have reported something in the past, know that it is being worked on in the coming months. If you are worried that it got lost, you are 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 that it seems like passive work for many, and you may be looking to do something actively. Being an active and respectful part of a community is a big help, though.

This post is based on Part 1 and Part 2 of the “Can I use “WordPress” in my product name?” Tuesday Training from @camikaos in the Make WordPress Communities blog.

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