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Trademark Use Policy:

The sections I am looking at is the Permissible Use section, list item 2 which states:

Use the ® trademark registration symbol when you use EllisLab’s registered trademarks, which are identified below

Which are: ExpressionEngine®, MojoMotor®, CodeIgniter®, pMachine®, Publish Your Universe®

Also the Proper Syntax & Usage section which states the correct spelling for their registered products.

I don't think it is speaking solely of CodeIgniter applications, but the use of their product names. Just the same as a tech article is speaking about a company's product they put the trademark symbol next to the name.

Would Stack Overflow be in violation of their trademarks because of all the CodeIgniter questions misspelling the brand, and for using it without the registered trademark symbol? Even the tag for CodeIgniter doesn't adhere to both items mentioned, not to mention other items on the lists.

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FairUse doesn't apply here? – Cole Johnson Apr 27 '13 at 3:27
Given that SO/SE is not involved in the sale of the mentioned products, nor the sale of a product including/using/based on said products, doesn't that exclude them from having to explicitly use such symbols? – Bart Apr 27 '13 at 3:30
I dunno, I'm no lawyer. Also I find this one crazy "7. Do not use EllisLab’s trademarks in connection with disparaging EllisLab or its products or services." So anyone posting saying "CI is one of the worst frameworks" is violating their acceptable use policy? – cryptic ツ Apr 27 '13 at 3:33
Why am I being down-voted for asking this? It fits within the FAQ. – cryptic ツ Apr 27 '13 at 3:35
Who knows. Disagreement? A preemptive "no I do not want to use such symbols" vote? Don't worry. – Bart Apr 27 '13 at 3:36
Because people don't find legal questions like this relevant. The fact is, that they could issue a takedown request (remember CypherCloud?) and so its of little issue in The grand scheme of things. – Richard J. Ross III Apr 27 '13 at 3:37
"CodeIgniter's mother is hamster and its father smells of elderberries." -- Come get some, it's been a few years since I was sued for trademark dilution, defamation, or libel. – Evan Carroll Apr 27 '13 at 3:37
You skipped over #1 - "don't confuse people" - which is probably the more important guideline. For contrast, check out the trademark and in-footer disclaimer on ExpressionEngine® Answers. – Shog9 Apr 27 '13 at 3:51
Just because some company decides to publish a list of brand guidelines, it doesn't suddenly make them legally binding on all and sundry. They are done for affiliates, associates, resellers etc etc – McNab Apr 27 '13 at 9:37
NEW TERMS & CONDITIONS: when you mention my name, you must add the by-line "Enriching Our Community with Enlightening Contributions since 2010™". Not doing so carries hefty penalties, and will lead to legal action. – Pëkka Apr 27 '13 at 9:58
@Pekka웃 Enriching Our Community with Enlightening Contributions since 2010™ I think that might get a little tedious, Pekka웃 Enriching Our Community with Enlightening Contributions since 2010™, but okay. :P – Doorknob Apr 27 '13 at 12:19
@Pekka웃 Just make that your username. Makes the @ replies a whole lot easier. – Bart Apr 27 '13 at 12:21
@Bart LEGAL NOTICE: YOU DID NOT MENTION "Enriching Our Community with Enlightening Contributions since 2010™" WITH Pekka웃'S NAME! THIS CARRIES HEFTY PENALTIES! LEGAL ACTION WILL BE TAKEN! – Doorknob Apr 27 '13 at 12:38
Does that mean we finally get a cha … err, regrettably have to remove all the CodeIgniter questions? – Gordon Apr 27 '13 at 16:05
@Gordon: That would be the perfect excuse =oP – cryptic ツ Apr 27 '13 at 18:03
up vote 7 down vote accepted

As users, it's not our problem.

We don't have to subscribe to a trademark holder's dumb-ass policies - mentioning a product name in a Q&A context clearly falls under Fair Use (the proper legal term could be this: Nominative Fair Use, but I'm not a law expert.) Marketing departments can demand whatever they want in as many shiny guidelines as they see fit to produce, but they can't legally force you as a ordinary everyday person to actually adhere to them.

Someone using the trademark outside Fair Use - say, to promote a product of their own - may be a different story, because that may not be allowed by default. Whether Stack Exchange can use the trademarks in the respective sites' subdomains and site names, however, is also not the community's concern, but Stack Exchange's.

share|improve this answer


SO is not responsible for the text in posts due to it's status as a DMCA safe harbor. Yes, as content creators we should try to obey all copyright/trademark laws. So there's not much that needs to be done about CodeIgniter®/etc.

However, their own personal trademark policy is not something that is legally binding. US trademark law is. I guess the SE lawyers have already dealt with this.

Regarding, here are the parts of the policy that we come up against:

enter image description here

We may have to do something about the domain. I guess or (possible opposition from our electrical engineering/electronics site) would work.

I'm not really sure if the text in the footer is conspicuous. Then again, one expects all the legal stuff to be in the footer, so I guess that makes it conspicuous in a way:

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The company's policies are not trademark law, though. What they want other people to do or not do with their trademark should be irrelevant - it's what the law requires SE to do nor not do. – Pëkka Apr 27 '13 at 9:53
@Pekka웃: hm, good point. Any idea what the US trademark policies are? – Manishearth Apr 27 '13 at 9:55
I don't know what the policies on this are - but I'm relatively sure people talking about a product do not need to add the silly ® no matter how badly the company wants them to. Not even Copyright law is that insane. Regarding SE's duties in regards to using the trademark in the domain name, I'd leave those to SE to figure out. – Pëkka Apr 27 '13 at 10:00
@Pekka웃: Yeah, I just pointed out where they may have to look. – Manishearth Apr 27 '13 at 10:04
Was this posted before EE.SE changed their name to – Robert Harvey Aug 2 '13 at 4:33
@RobertHarvey They never were called EE.SE. That's an abbreviation those guys use. Their old name was ChipHacker (SE 1.0) – Manishearth Aug 2 '13 at 8:02

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