The FreeCAD Project Association now owns a trademark

The FreeCAD Project Asso­ci­a­tion (FPA) has reg­is­tered a trade­mark on the FreeCAD logo! The trade­mark is pub­lic and can be seen here.

The trade­mark is reg­is­tered in Benelux only, but it still pre­vents any­one else in the Euro­pean Union from reg­is­ter­ing the same trade­mark.

What does it mean? Basi­cal­ly the FPA (and only the FPA) now owns the rights over the com­mer­cial use of the FreeCAD name and logo. Noth­ing will change with­in FreeCAD or for its users, but it gives the FPA legal pow­er to take action against oth­ers mak­ing mon­ey with FreeCAD (and often not com­ply­ing with the license terms).

The first things we have in mind obvi­ous­ly are the fake ver­sions of FreeCAD sold on the Win­dows and Apple app stores. We have tried fil­ing com­plaints in the past, but noth­ing ever came of them. Now we have an argu­ment that these com­pa­nies under­stand better.

The logo itself is still cov­ered by the LGPL license, so every­one still has the legal rights to use the logo as far as the LGPL per­mits. The trade­mark pre­dom­i­nant­ly acts as an addi­tion­al tool to enforce the under­ly­ing copy­right when the LGPL is vio­lat­ed. actu­al­ly acts more like a super-copy­right, which does not con­tra­dict the open-source license.

A trade­mark itself does not bind any­body to any legal oblig­a­tion, it is not writ­ten in any law. It is just some­thing that has more weight when you claim your copy­rights have been vio­lat­ed. Think of it more like an “offi­cial­ly reg­is­tered” copy­right. It is not just us pre­tend­ing we “are” FreeCAD any­more. We now have a respectable insti­tu­tion vouch­ing for us and guar­an­tee­ing we are “the real FreeCAD”.

So that’s basi­cal­ly it, keep using the FreeCAD logo every­where, since it’s still open-source!

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