Guidelines for the Use of the Stack Exchange Trademarks

We believe in our core mission to "make the Internet a better place to get expert answers to your questions." We decided early on that all user-generated content in the Stack Exchange Network would be given back to the community under a Creative Commons license. We created the Stack Exchange API as a way to allow users to write applications which use the Stack Exchange Network in new and creative ways. With open access to use (and reuse) our services, it is important that users not be confused by our relationship with the people who use our content and our services.

What this Document Covers

This document is designed to establish guidelines for use of our names (copyright) and logos (trademarks). The "names" and "logos" discussed here refer collectively to any site or service on the Stack Exchange network and Stack Exchange Inc. This document does not replace or waive any rights protected under Trademark or Copyright law. Please note:

  • If you would like to use our trademark or name in ways not clearly covered by this document, please contact us.
  • If you ever stumble across anything that looks like it violates our copyright, trademark, or policies, please let us know.

Trademark and Copyright

The logos associated with Stack Exchange Inc. and any Stack Exchange site are a trademark. The purpose of trademark law is to prevent consumers from being misled as to the origin of a product. So if you were making a product, and you used a Stack Exchange name or logo in your product (or in its advertising) in such a way that would mislead someone into thinking that your product was owned by, operated by, endorsed by, or in any way part of Stack Exchange Inc., you would be violating the trademark and this would not be legal.

Our logo images and site names are copyrighted. Any content on the Stack Exchange Network not contributed by users is copyrighted. Copyright is different than trademark. Ordinarily you couldn't copy it. But if you were writing a news story or blog post about a Stack Exchange site, reproducing the logo image would almost certainly be considered "fair use" and allowed under trademark law because you were not using it "in trade."

Naming your Product, Application, Website, or Domain Name

We want you to create awesome products, applications, and web sites (collectively "products") using the Stack Exchange API . We want people to recognize your product as an enhancement of the Stack Exchange ecosystem and use it with enthusiasm. But Stack Exchange is the name of our company and services, so we have to be cautious about any confusion that may cause.

  • Do name your application with something unique. Including one of the terms, "Stack" or "Exchange" or "Overflow" in your product name is generally okay.
  • Do feel free to explain that your product is built on the Stack Exchange platform so people understand your product.
  • Do not use our name in the name of your product.
  • Do not register or use a domain name containing our name (or misspellings of our name).
  • Do not apply for a trademark with a name that includes our own.

Design of Your Product

  • Do design your product with unique branding and logos.
  • Do feel free  to use names or logos for the purpose of labeling our sites within your product, as long as use of such logos could not be confused with the branding or endorsement of the product itself.
  • Do not copy the look and feel of our products.
  • Do not include elements of our network that are not user-contributed content (i.e. no copyright material).
  • Do not use our name, logo, or service to promote or allow fraudulent, abusive, or otherwise illegal activities.

Use of Our Name or Logo in Advertising

  • Do use the most current logo where applicable and permitted.
  • Do use the proper name for our company, product, or service (see "Proper Use of the Stack Exchange Name" below).
  • Do not use our logo unless you have been granted special permission by Stack Exchange Inc.
  • Do not use our name or logo in a way that might imply a false sense of partnership or endorsement with your product.
  • Do not use any name or logo that is similar to or might be confused with our name or logo.
  • Do not distort or alter our logo in any way.
  • Do not use our logo in a way that confuses our brand with another brand.
  • Do not use any other artwork from our network without explicit permission.

Promoting your own Account

  • Do feel free to use your profile "Flair" to reference or link to your user account. Use of unaltered logos in the context of displaying the entire content of User Flair is generally okay.
  • Do use the same guidelines as "Advertising" when promoting your own account.
  • Do not manipulate the logos or imply sponsorship, endorsement, or false information related to your association or account on Stack Exchange.

Writing a Book About Stack Exchange

  • Do make sure the title of your book makes clear that it’s a book about Stack Exchange, and not by Stack Exchange. For example, “Learning how to use Stack Exchange” is appropriate, whereas “The Stack Exchange Guide to Q&A" is not.
  • Do not use a confusing book title which might imply your book is endorsed or written by us.
  • Do not use our logo on your cover or in your title.
  • Do not use our name, logo, or service to promote or allow fraudulent, abusive, or otherwise illegal activities.

Merchandise/Manufactured Items

We generally do not permit use of our name or logo on merchandise.

  • Do contact Stack Exchange Inc. with a detailed proposal if you would like to request an exception.
  • Do not use the names or logos owned by Stack Exchange Inc. on any apparel or merchandise without our permission.

Proper Use of the Stack Exchange Name

There is some confusion around the proper use and context of the Stack Exchange name. Here are some guidelines:

  • Stack Exchange Inc. is the official name of the company.
  • Stack Overflow is a programmer Q&A site on the Stack Exchange Network. As a name, Stack Overflow, is always written "Stack Overflow" (two words, capital letters). The website domain name is always written stackoverflow.com (no CamelCase, single word capitalization rules apply). Currently, all Stack Exchange Network sites follow this convention: Server Fault (serverfault.com), Super User (superuser.com), etc.
  • A Stack Exchange site is a Q&A website built on the technology of Stack Exchange Inc. The phrase "Stack Exchange" is generally used as an adjective, not a noun. One would say "Propose a Stack Exchange site on Area 51" (correct), not "Propose a Stack Exchange on Area 51" (wrong).
  • The Stack Exchange Network refers to the collection of Stack Exchange sites and services.
  • Area 51 (two words) is the site used to propose new Stack Exchange sites for the Stack Exchange Network.
  • The Stack Exchange API allows users to write applications based on the Stack Exchange engine. The API is always referred to as "Stack Exchange API", even if the application is written for a specific site (i.e. never Stack Overflow API, Server Fault API, etc.).
  • The Stack Exchange Blog is the company blog which talks about everything we're doing on all our sites and what the company itself is doing.
The Stack Exchange name and logos are trademarks of Stack Exchange Inc. The names and logos for sites and products operating on the Stack Exchange network are also trademarks of Stack Exchange Inc.