Trademark and Legal
Like Linux®, Wikipedia®, and Java®, Holacracy® is a registered trademark; in this case, of HolacracyOne LLC. And like other stewards of open platforms, HolacracyOne aims to maintain the integrity of its brand and the quality of what it represents. All too often, novel tools and methods have their message and potential impact watered down by those who lack the expertise to represent them with integrity, even if unintentionally. When this integrity is protected, those who buy offerings tied to the brand can trust they’re getting the product and quality that the brand represents. This consumer protection is the original intent and primary goal of trademark law.
Aligned with that, HolacracyOne seeks to protect the integrity of its trademarks, and what they represent. We do not seek to restrict people from practicing or adopting the Holacracy method, or to restrict people from talking about or sharing Holacracy with colleagues (and trademarks do not create such rights anyway). We do prevent people from marketing or selling certain products, services, and trainings using the Holacracy trademark, unless they have a license to do so. We happily offer that license via our Licensing Program, to anyone who meets the quality and integrity standards of our brand.
What you can do:
Practice Holacracy methods in your organization, and say you’re doing so
Help your organization adopt or practice Holacracy, and say you’re doing so
Talk about Holacracy with your colleagues and friends
Reference the Holacracy practice as a method pioneered or promoted by HolacracyOne
Blog or write about Holacracy and share your thoughts about it with the world; and you do not need to include the ® on Holacracy when you do so (unless you are in our licensing program and are using the mark to market or sell services)
Give a talk about your experiences with the Holacracy practice, as long as you don’t charge a significant fee to attend
Help an organization adopt the Holacracy practice, as long as you do so on a volunteer (unpaid) basis without marketing yourself as a provider of Holacracy services
Share and distribute any materials that we’ve released under a license that allows it, per the terms of the license
Make and publish your own derivative works of the Holacracy® Constitution or any other materials released under a CC BY-SA license, per the terms of the license; when doing so, you may not brand your derivative work with Holacracy in its name, to avoid confusion between your work and the official Holacracy document.
What you can’t do (without permission):
Use the Holacracy brand to market or sell your own products, services, or trainings
Market yourself as a provider of Holacracy implementation, coaching, or support services
Market and sell registrations for your own Holacracy trainings or workshops
Offer, sell, or provide Holacracy services to your clients (although we’d love for you to talk about Holacracy and refer them to us or to one of our Licensed Providers!)
Distribute any of our copyrighted documents or materials that are not released under a Creative Commons license, or beyond the terms of that license (see each document for details)
Represent yourself or your product as an official representation of Holacracy or HolacracyOne.
Want to get permission?
We offer a licensing program for professional firms who wish to do everything above, such as market and sell Holacracy products, services, or trainings, and we help them do it with quality and integrity – contact us for details.
Need help or have questions about usage?
Contact us – we’re happy to help.
Find a violation?
Do you see something that looks like a violation of these rules? We’d appreciate hearing from you, just contact us to report it – and thanks for taking the time! If what you see is from one of our licensed Holacracy Providers, all is well – they are qualified and authorized to market and sell Holacracy services. If you see an organization that’s not listed there doing that, it’s likely a violation of the trademark; if you let us know, we’ll direct them to this webpage and ask them nicely to stop.