Gearing Up Against Similar Trademarks

OSHWA and OSI are meddling up against their logos which apparently appear to be similar. Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design. The hardware’s source, the design from which it is made, is available in the preferred format for making modifications to it. The Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) which has a gear logo where part of the gear is broken indicates hardware is open-source and designs can be openly shared and modified.

Where as The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a non-profit corporation with global scope formed to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community.The OSI also has a green circle which has been broken to indicate open sauciness.
Based on OSI’s Logo infringement, they have informed OSHWA that the issue is the keyhole at the bottom of the open- source hardware logo, which is similar to the keyhole at the bottom of the OSI Logo. The gear logo has gained popularity, and OSHWA director Nathan Seidle would love to see it stick around.”We want to see the gear logo stamped onto bicycle parts, on the back of a wrist watch, on the bottom of a chair,” said Seidle, who is also CEO of Colorado-based SparkFun Electronics, in an e-mail.
Dave Vandenbout, who runs X Engineering Software Systems in North Carolina, was putting the gear mark on open-source boards, but is suspending that until the issue is sorted out. The gear logo told people that the board is open-source and they can build upon it if they wish.
“If it is found that the Gear logo infringes OSI’s trademark, then I suppose I could receive a cease-and-desist letter. That might be pretty disastrous for me if I had to actually scrap my inventory,” Vandenbout said.
OSHWA is asking its members if it should design a new logo or license the gear logo as a derivative work from OSI.OSHWA President Alicia Gibb wrote recently that it was possible to argue OSI’s claims in court. But this would be a waste of resources and would split the open sauce community. But the gear logo has gained in popularity and more than one OSHWA member wants to keep it.
We will keep you posted as the case unfolds.
– Akshatha Karthik