With the meta question The evaluation period is over. We need your feedback! suggesting that we might want to encourage better integration with the wider Raspberry Pi community, and the earlier meta questions What should the logo look like? and Vote for a logo design! only covering the logo, I was prompted to check the current Trademark Rules on the Raspberry Pi foundation website.
In doing so I have realised that we are breaking one of their rules by having our domain name contain
raspberrypi and arguably breaking other rules by not linking to the Raspberry Pi Foundation Website.
From the Trademark Rules as of Oct 8 2012:
3. When can’t I use the Raspberry Pi Marks?
You may not:
(i) use the Raspberry Pi Marks as part of your company name, company logo or product name;
Which is already dealt with as we are seeking a logo of our own.
(ii) use the Raspberry Pi Word Mark as part of the domain name for your website;
At the moment we may fall foul of this. Whether we do or don't depends on how the "part of a domain name" should be interpreted. If it is interpreted as "substring of the main domain name" we would be fine, as
raspberrypi is only in the subdomain. If it is interpreted as "any part of a domain name" then we could have a problem.
I would argue that the latter would be considered excessive by many, but by flouting it, we could annoy the Foundation members who already have negative feelings about Raspberry Pi Stack Exchange.
Having said that, if in the three years since we went live, this issue has not been raised by the Raspberry Pi foundation, then the former interpretation is more likely.
Incidentally, Wordmark appears to have a specific legal meaning which appears inappropriate to this context, so it would be difficult to know how enforceable this would be without legal advice.
(iii) use the Raspberry Pi Marks in a way that creates a false impression that your product or business endorsed, sponsored or associated with Raspberry Pi or Raspberry Pi products or services;
This suggests that we need to make it clear that we are (as yet) in no way associated with the Foundation. This could go in the site header, the FAQ or (preferably) both.
It is also my feeling that this site is obviously part of the stack exchange network, with distinctly different branding which would be difficult to mistake for official Raspberry Pi Foundation branding.
(viii) use a name or logo which are so similar to the Raspberry Pi Marks which may confuse or mislead people into thinking that your business, products or services originate from or are associated with Raspberry Pi;
Again, I think we have already considered this.
(ix) use the Raspberry Pi Marks or a name or logo which is similar to them in a way that will take advantage of our brand or our reputation;
We may think that RP.SE is doing the Raspberry Pi community a service, but some people have already suggested that we are some fly by night trying to take advantage of the popularity of the Raspberry Pi.
(xi) try to pass-off your business, products or services as associated with Raspberry Pi and/or damage our goodwill in any way.
Note that the Trademark Rules page was updated to mention domain names some time between the 12th April 2012 and the 3rd May 2012 (probably on the latter date) while RP.SE site went public on 19th June 2012, after entering commitment on the 19th April. Thus it is likely that stack exchange had already decided on the subdomain name for the site before the Foundation announced it's change of policy.
If we want the Foundation to get on board, perhaps we need to consider being more considerate of their rules. I can understand why they have them, and I can understand why they me be suspicious of us, but I hope that consideration and education can address these issues, so how do we want to handle this?