SharePoint Community: Use ‘SharePoint’ Appropriately

There has been a lot of information posted on the internet and various social media sites today about the usage of the word 'SharePoint'. Yes, a few sites have been singled out about their improper use of a trademark. This is a far cry from the sensationalism that is being widely spread about a massive crackdown. Community groups can absolutely continue to use the word ‘SharePoint’ as long as it’s in a referential manner. I’m enclosing a link to the general usage guidelines for Microsoft trademarks so anyone who's interested can read them. Below that is an excerpt containing the Social Media Guidelines. It's pretty easy to follow, the sky is not falling.

I would like to just end my portion of this post saying that we absolutely value our Communities and Partners at Microsoft and that will not change.

General Microsoft Trademark Guidelines

Social Media Guidelines

The social media guidelines associated with use of Microsoft trademarks are quite similar to the app guidelines included above. Specifically, your social media account names and any and all pages or communities should not include any Microsoft trademarks. Any associated account, page, or community images should not include any Microsoft logos. The only exceptions to these requirements are if (1) you’ve secured permission from Microsoft through a license or equivalent (though such licenses are not generally available in this context); or (2) you’re using a Microsoft trademark (not including logos) to describe the purpose of your account, page, or community without suggesting affiliation with Microsoft. Finally, any social media account should not use the name or likeness of any prominent individuals within Microsoft.

For example, you cannot name your account, page, or community “Skype Forum” or “Microsoft Products.” However, it would be acceptable to name your account, page, or community “Forum for Skype Users” or “Information about Microsoft Products” as long as you do not use the Skype or Microsoft logos or otherwise suggest any affiliation with Microsoft.

Company, Product, Service, and Domain Names

Do not use or register any Microsoft trademark, including Microsoft logos, symbols, icons, or any potentially confusing variation thereof, as part of your company name, trade name, product name, service name, or domain name. Do not place your company name, trademarks, service marks, or product names next to, or combine them with, a Microsoft product name.

Update 1/4/2014

The SharePoint Team posted an update to their blog on the topic of trademark issues. Please check it out.


I've been asked for examples that can provide more guidance on this topic. If you have terms like 'Users', 'Fans', or 'User Group' in your name then that is ok. People should not be worried about imminent termination or anything like that. If Microsoft were to find an account that is problematic, we would work with the account owner to address it.

That being said, examples of acceptable use include the following:

  • SharepointLover
  • SharePoint Evangelist
  • Info for SharePoint
  • Feed for SharePoint
  • SharePoint User Group
  • SharePoint Interest
  • Focus on SharePoint

Any name that doesn't generate confusion that an account is operated or sponsored by Sharepoint is generally acceptable. It is important to note that likelihood of confusion is heightened by use of our logos. Please visit the page linked above for the General Microsoft Trademark Guidelines as it will have the most updated information available. If there's anything not addressed on that page feel free to leave a comment here with your question and I'll get it answered. Thank you.

Comments (7)
  1. Bjørn Furuknap says:

    …so SharePoint Pro Magazine is great, but SharePoint Magazine is, after 5 years, not OK?

    Makes sense. Obvious difference. The Pro thing is really making it obvious that this is not misuse.


  2. Stefan Bauer says:

    Hi Bryan,

    i'm running a SharePoint User Group in Austria basically on Facebook. So my question is if I have a user group registered at Microsoft Community Portal may I allowed to call my user group "SharePoint UserGroup Austria" or do I need to rename the group to User Group for SharePoint Users?

    Or is the registration enough to get something like a licensed name?

    Kind regards


  3. Bjorn all I can say is that it appears you were not compliant with the policy for the past 5 years.

  4. Bjørn Furuknap says:

    Bryan, all I can say is that this apparently wasn't a problem when there was a very pro-Microsoft operator of the site; an MVP no less. I haven't had the need to be compliant for the past five years because in the majority of those years, I wasn't running the site.

    You see, you've known about any non-compliance for years and you haven't acted. SharePoint Magazine always was a community resource. Something has changed recently to make you start going after community resources now. You're not saying what, citing some 'secret' communication going on, of which nobody outside of Microsoft, most importantly me, has been a part.

    Either you're targeting me, which would make this whole scandal far worse (don't be openly critical about Microsoft or we'll hunt you down), you're shifting your priorities and attacking for new reasons, which should make everyone very nervous regardless of what you claim, you're targeting 'commercial exploitation', which will make a huge number of your vendors very nervous, or you're lying.

    Let's see which one it is, shall we? Let's play "Don't mess with the SharePoint community: Round 2"

  5. Bjorn, it's unfortunate that you see this as a fight. There are clear guidelines that have been posted in black and white. It's that simple. As a member of the community for several years I admit I hadn't read the trademark guidelines until yesterday. You've brought this to the attention of the SharePoint community which is obviously well overdue.

    I'd be happy to open a dialog and put you in touch with the LCA office at Microsoft to help you resolve your issues quickly. Please feel free to contact me if there's anything I can do to help.

  6. Edin Kapic says:

    Bryan, I am afraid that your statement on "SharePoint User Group" is incorrect. I run a SharePoint user group in Barcelona region. We tried to register ourselves as a non-profit called "SharePoint User Group Catalonia Association" but Microsoft didn't let us have "SharePoint" in the title, in no way. We finally had to register under the name "SUG.CAT Association".

  7. Edin,

    You are correct. The rules are different for company, product, service, and domain names. I am updating this post to include guidance for those items.

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