In the past few weeks, I’ve come across more and more websites which are in clear violation of the WordPress trademark, namely the domain requirements as outlined here. The simple thing to do when creating a website centered around WordPress is not to have the full name as part of the domain name. For example, fanofwordpress.com. Instead, it should be fanofwp.com. That’s not all that’s trademarked though as the WordPress logo is also registered.
The description of the visual trademark according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office is as follows:
- 26.01.17 – Circles, two concentric; Concentric circles, two; Two concentric circles
- 26.01.21 – Circles that are totally or partially shaded.
- 26.17.13 – Letters or words underlined and/or overlined by one or more strokes or lines; Overlined words or letters; Underlined words or letters
If you need an official logo to use, this page on the WordPress.org website has quite a few but one thing missing from the page is instructions on the proper usage of these images in a way that does not violate the trademark.
WordPress is one of the most popular publishing systems in use today which spawns a host of websites that offer services related to the software or fan sites dedicated to the project. These sites will continue to be built but what happens if you invest time, money, and a bunch of sweat equity only to find out a year into the project that you’re violating the trademark and either have to redirect the domain to something else or change around the design of the website? This could pose quite a problem.
To avoid situations like these, I think it’s time that a dedicated section of the WordPress.org website be setup to specifically address the WordPress trademarks. Explain proper usage as it relates to domain names, visual identity, etc. Answer as many common questions as possible through the information presented on these pages so that we know ahead of time what is and is not a trademark violation. I also think there needs to be a form where community members such as myself can notify Automattic of trademark abuse.
While the model doesn’t have to be mimicked, I think Mozilla does a great job with presenting their trademark information to the public as well as providing a form to fill out to report trademark abuse.
What do you think?