Off-topic: trademark usage?

This isn’t about Tidelift specifically, but maybe people here know…

Everywhere I look, I see organizations with trademarks. They all have pages explaining how to use the trademarks, and the guidance always says, “Do not use XYZ as a noun, use it as a modifier for a generic noun.” Then their home page and many other places use XYZ as a noun.

Examples: https://python.org, https://slack.com

Why is this? It seems contradictory and confusing. What nuance am I missing?

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All about who uses it - for the trademark owner, it is OK to use as a noun; for others, not ideal. The idea is that this avoids confusion for readers - first-person (on slack.com or python.org), you know who the source is; if it is coming from a plugin or module author, rather than the ‘upstream’, you want to have some clarity/distance.

In my opinion, this works pretty well for something like Slack (which definitely comes from Slack, Inc.) but is a bit more messy for Python, where forking is allowed and the community/upstream boundaries are fuzzier. But no one has come up with better solutions (not for lack of trying).

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Thanks, this is really helpful. I’ve never seen mention of a distinction between what the owner can do compared to what others can do. Do you have a link to something that expands on that?

Oh, interesting observation. Typically the way this works is that the public policy is for (as Mozilla puts it in theirs) “you” and then there is an internal policy (might be called a style guide, like https://mozilla.design/) that governs internal use. But in looking at Python’s policy (and even Mozilla’s), I see that this isn’t made particularly clear. Interesting — possibly a case where all the public discussions of these things tend to happen in a context where everyone knows the situation, so some of these details can get lost.

I’ve worked in a few places with trademark guidelines, and maybe I was looking in the wrong places, but I never found a distinction expressed like this. I guess the approach could be, “Tell everyone the strict thing, and only tell the few who need it the subtler more lenient guidelines.”?

IANAL, so I might not be able to understand more technical documents, but if you have a link that explains this inside/outside distinction, I would find it very helpful.