Legal protections for the term "open source hardware"?


What can be done when someone is falsely advertising their product as being open source hardware?

About a day ago it was noticed that a Kickstarter project for “anonabox”, a Tor hardware router, claims their hardware is open source while it’s actually a Chinese clone of a TP-Link TL-WR703N. Concerns about this were first voiced by htilonom on Reddit. Articles about this have already been published by The Daily Dot, The Inquirer, and Network World.

The Kickstarter project in question uses the old open hardware logo in its advertising. Does the term “open (source) hardware” or either the current or old open source hardware logos have any kind of legal protection that would discourage activities like this? Can anyone just source a PCB from China, slap an “open source hardware” sticker on it, and sell it as an open source device (possibly with their own definition of open source hardware in fine print somewhere)?


I think this is where trademarks can be used? I know Wikimedia Foundation has trademarks on the Wikipedia logo to prevent miss-use


Hi Kapena.

This situation is one of the main reasons that OSHWA created the certification program (see: Since no one controls the term “open source hardware,” anyone can use it however they want. However, only hardware that complies with the community definition of open source hardware and has passed the certification process can use OSHWA’ open source hardware certification logo.