Working Out Loud® and WOL® are registered trademarks of Ikigai, LLC in the US, EU, Switzerland, and Australia, with registrations pending in other countries.

The purpose of the trademarks is to ensure a level of consistency and quality for products and services related to the brand “Working Out Loud.” As Working Out Loud has spread to a wide range of companies and countries, that consistency is increasingly important for consumers (and that kind of “consumer protection” is why trademarks exist). Also, in many regions trademarks are subject to a "first to file" process, so registering the mark assures that I can continue using it. (This is a common practice. The author of Getting Things Done, for example, isn’t the first person to utter the phrase or even write a book about it. He trademarked it so he could preserve the integrity of his method as well as the business he built related to it.)

The purpose is not to restrict people from talking about Working Out Loud (trademarks don’t create such limits anyway), or from using and sharing the WOL Circle Guides. On the contrary, the WOL Circle Guides have always been free and updated regularly, and thousands of people in hundreds of companies have used them. WOL-SC, the new practice, is also free.

However, the trademark does prevent people from marketing or selling certain products, services, and training using the Working Out Loud® or WOL® trademarks, unless they have a license to do so.

What you can do:

  • You may download, reproduce, or share the WOL Circle Guides Version 5.0 “as is,” for free, for your non-commercial use only. The WOL Circle Guides Version 5.0 are copyright of the author, John Stepper. They are provided “as is” and with no warranty.

  • You may, however, make the WOL Circle Guides Version 5.0 available to your employees for internal company use, e.g., through your corporate intranet or through a link sent via your company e-mail.

  • Present Working Out Loud in conference and events

  • Practice Working Out Loud methods in your organization

  • Help your organization adopt or practice Working Out Loud

  • Blog or write about Working Out Loud

  • Share and distribute (but not change) any materials I’ve released under a license that allows it - e.g., the free WOL Circle Guides, blog posts

When you do these things, please refer to so people know the source of the materials and can access more resources that can help them.

What you can’t do (without permission):

  • You may not, except with prior express written permission from the author, modify the WOL Circle Guides Version 5.0 in any way; include them in whole or in part in other works; or sell them or bundle them with professional services of any kind. Any unauthorized use of WOL Circle Guides Version 5.0 constitutes an infringement of copyright.

  • Use the Working Out Loud® brand to market or sell your own products, services, or training

  • Market yourself as a provider of Working Out Loud® implementation, coaching, or support services

  • Market and sell your own Working Out Loud® training or workshops

Licensing options

There are currently eight WOL Coaches who are licensed to offer certain Working Out Loud® services. These are people I’ve worked with personally and who have made numerous contributions to the WOL community over the years. It is not a public program at this time.

Have any questions about this?

Contact me at I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.