Announcing a new trademark policy for pfSense

Many individuals in our community have posed questions regarding the sale of pfSense® software and the ‘rules’ surrounding open source licensing, trademark usage, logo display, etc.

Trademarks and service marks provide assurance about the source and quality of the goods or services with which the trademarks are associated. The pfSense marks are recognized the world over as a symbol of some of the most advanced, open source security technology. They serve to distinguish those products that are official pfSense, as produced by Netgate, from those produced by other entities.

Confusion can arise if the same or similar names are used in connection with someone else’s products or services that are similar to ours. Our protection of the pfSense Marks benefits the pfSense community, ensuring that you know that what you are receiving is authentic and genuine pfSense software and services. In order to prevent market confusion regarding pfSense software, we have updated the pfSense trademark usage policy to address these situations more directly.

In order to preserve the spirit and meaning of pfSense as an open source project, we have modeled these guidelines after the Model Trademark Guidelines, as used by other widely-used open source software including CentOS, Ceph, and CloudRouter. The Model Trademark Guidelines are designed to provide a range of choices that would be found lawful and enforceable under trademark law, that are consistent with FLOSS culture, and that respect the trademark owner’s desire to ensure that the software distributed under the trademark delivers a consistent user experience and meets the brand promise of the name.

By adopting these guidelines for the project, we are not trying to limit the lawful use of our trademarks, but rather describe for you what we consider the parameters of lawful use to be. Trademark law can be ambiguous, so we hope to provide enough clarity for you to understand whether we will consider your use licensed or non-infringing.  Stringently adhering to these guidelines benefits the entire community by ensuring quality products and software for your business or implementation.

We believe the steps taken with this new trademark policy will preserve and enhance the brand of the project while protecting it from malicious actors and questionable practices. Please help us maintain this work by aligning your use of our trademarks and logo in accordance with this policy.