Today I ran across an interesting discussion happening over at one of my favorite WordPress blogs, WPCandy, that I figured I would mention over here.
The discussion is regarding trademarking, and the use of “WordPress” in your domain URL. Obviously this domain uses WordPress in the URL, so I have both a fan interest and a financial interest in the discussion.
First, here is some information from Michael’s post:
According to WordPress.org, to protect their trademark they ask that if you are going to create a WordPress related site not to use “WordPress” in the domain you choose.
What’s the meaning behind this? Are sites that use WordPress in their name at risk? Is WPCandy at risk?
Although they are not lawyers, WordPress still insists that they must make it clear, “so that we protect our trademark.”
In addition to running this website and Slick Affiliate, I also spend a lot of my spare time as an active “domainer”, meaning that I buy/sell/develop/park domains both to generate extra income and invest in my online future. One of the things you learn very early when you buy and sell domains is trademarking and what domains are off limits. When you purchase a domain that includes the name of a trademarked product, the company that owns the trademark can take it from you if they invest the time and resources to.
Unfortunately, when I originally purchased the domain Hack WordPress, I knew about the risk of trademarked domains, but I didn’t realize the word “WordPress” had been trademarked. Looking back now, I probably should have done a trademark search, but it is to late now. When I eventually learned that it was indeed trademarked, I went out and purchased a “wp” domain that I am very happy with, should I ever have to move this website to a new domain.
Fortunately for those of that have a “WordPress” domain, I find it very unlikely that WordPress would ever invest the time or money involved in “shutting down” domains that use WordPress in the URL unless the sites were somehow trying to harm WordPress in some way, or were making really good money off the WordPress name. After all, this product is built upon open source and the WordPress community! I believe that WordPress fan sites do a lot to help the software and the community that supports the software, so it probably would not be in their best interests to remove them. We promote the WordPress product for free and help generate both interest and support for their product.
Overall, I believe this statement is more a legal precaution to protect them in situations where they would need to enforce this. The only thing I worry about is a major corporation such as Google/Yahoo/Microsoft acquiring WordPress, because they have been known to pursue fan sites violating trademarks.
What is your take on this issue?