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!