US Copyright and Trademark Use
We have a registered trademark on our "Freecycle.org" graphic logo noted below. We do not currently have trademark rights to "FREECYCLE" or the former Freecycle logo which lacked the ".org" portion within the United States. We ask that all continue to use our "Freecycle" name as per the guidelines below so that we don't weaken our new mark which stands solely for our nonprofit mission and volunteer goodwill. Local groups within the United States should only have references to our having a registered trademark in the United States for "Freecycle.org", not for "Freecycle" or the former "Freecycle" logo lacking the ".org". We do have a registered mark in Canada, the EU, Australia and New Zealand as well as a common law mark in various other countries for one or more of these marks.
We are doing a really good thing here. And, we are also learning as we go, which means there will always be evolution and change. Because The Freecycle Network concept is unique and amazingly successful, there are many who have and who would try to use it for personal gain and profit. For that reason, The Freecycle Network is incorporated as a nonprofit organization, and the Freecycle.org® logo is a registered trademark of The Freecycle Network. We need to do our best to properly use the Freecycle.org® trademark so that we don't lose the right to it.
In legalese, the use of the term "Freecycle.org" denotes a gifting service which is officially approved by the nonprofit organization "The Freecycle Network," and one that the public can expect to adhere to certain standards. The Freecycle Network must approve any email list or web site that uses the term "Freecycle.org®" in its name and provides any sort of exchange service.
General Trademark Usage Guidelines
- While "The Freecycle Network" is a trade name (think proper name), it also functions as a service mark -- i.e., a source indicator -- so it is okay to use the term "Freecycle.org®" in place of "The Freecycle Network" to allow sentences to be more concise.
For example: While The Freecycle Network has been growing by leaps and bounds, Freecycle.org® also remains true to its core mission.
- In all other cases, the term "Freecycle.org" must be used as an adjective, never as a noun or verb. For example:
|Do not say "I'm a freecycler."||Do say "I'm a Freecycle.org member."|
|Do not say "Keep on freecyclin!"||Do say "Keep on recyclin', my Freecycle.org friends!"|
|Do not say "Freecycling group."||Do say "Freecycle.org group"|
|Do not say "Please Freecycle."||Do say "Please join a Freecycle.org group."|
|Do not say "There are 10 freecycles in this state."||Do say "There are 10 Freecycle.org groups in this state."|
|Do not say "freecycle's membership."||Do say "Freecycle.org's membership."|
|(Note: new groups may use the word Freecycle in their group name/title, but should not be approved with any variations of the word Freecycle in their name, title or description, like freecycler, freecycling, freecycles.)|