OPENFOAM® Trade Mark Guidelines

OpenFOAM is the name given to software produced by OpenCFD Ltd. and released free and open source to the general public. During its lifetime, OpenFOAM has developed a strong reputation, so OpenCFD registered the trade mark OPENFOAM®  to enable it to maintain that reputation and prevent confusion amongst OpenFOAM users and the general public. We publish a OpenCFD trade mark policy which explains the permitted uses of the OPENFOAM®  trade mark (and other OpenCFD trade marks). This article provides some guidelines on the application of the policy in practice. It does not in any way replace the policy document. Note: although the OPENFOAM®  trade mark is in upper case, its use is limited to the same extent under any other capitalisation; in the following, we shall refer to both OpenFOAM and OPENFOAM® .

General principles

The essential function of a trade mark is to identify the commercial source or origin of products or services, in order to protect the consumers of those products and services. The test of correct use of a trademark, therefore, is always to consider whether a consumer of the goods or services could be confused as to the identity of their source or origin. For example, if someone unfamiliar with OpenFOAM downloads something called “OpenFOAM”, they should be able to rely on it coming from OpenCFD.

Software derived from OpenFOAM

The ability to customise OpenFOAM to meet a specific need is one of its great strengths and of free software in general. While OpenCFD encourages customisation of OpenFOAM, we must balance that freedom with the integrity of the trade mark and the quality which it represents.

Therefore, when the OpenFOAM trademark is used in association with a development effort related to the OpenFOAM source, it must be clear that the software being worked on is not in fact OpenFOAM as distributed by OpenCFD. For example, any new source code files should not be labelled as “OpenFOAM”, download files should not contain “OpenFOAM” in the name, project web sites should not contain “OpenFOAM” in the name or the URL, etc.

A naming scheme for a development effort based on OpenFOAM that helps to avoid confusion is to use the designation “Remix”. “Version” should be avoided, since it has specific meaning within the OpenFOAM project itself. For example, a pack of OpenFOAM specially developed with additional cloud computing functionality could be called “OpenFOAM Cloud Computing Remix”. Derivative names such as “cloudFoam” should be avoided.

Extensions to OpenFOAM

If you produce new applications, libraries, modules, extensions, etc. which are intended for use with OpenFOAM, you may use the trade mark in a way which indicates that they relate to OpenFOAM only. For example, if Archimedes wished to develop an application to simulate hydrostatics in OpenFOAM, we would strongly discourage project names such as “hydrostaticFoam” and “OpenFOAM Hydrostatics”. These names unfairly or confusingly capitalise on the goodwill or brand of the OPENFOAM®  trade mark and can imply an endorsement where one does not exist. With names such as this, any subsequent project on hydrostatics in OpenFOAM would have the choice of adopting a less “official” name to their disadvantage or to adopt the same name, causing confusion amongst OpenFOAM users, neither of which is fair to everyone.

A name for Archimedes’s hydrostatics project that is more acceptable would be “OpenFOAM Based Hydrostatics Application”. Better still would be to personalise the name to enable users to distinguish that particular project from any other, e.g. “Archimedes’s Hydrostatics Solver in OpenFOAM”. Alternatively, an entirely new name for the project, e.g. “Eureka”, could be created which could then appear within a descriptive title such as “Eureka - Hydrostatics Solver in OpenFOAM”. With this approach, “Eureka” could develop its own reputation, without gaining unfair advantage from the OPENFOAM®  trade mark, and Archimedes could similarly protect its reputation through trade mark law (providing the “Eureka” trade mark does not already exist).

Many software projects are distributed through repositories such as Sourceforge. Developers should avoid a Sourceforge UNIX Name that causes confusion, although we recognise that is difficult, when creating a short, convenient name. However, we consider it problematic when projects do not use acceptable naming in the Sourceforge Descriptive Name, which is used as the principal name for the project on the Sourceforge website.

Services in relation to OpenFOAM

Similar advice applies to naming of services in relation to OpenFOAM, in that names cannot imply endorsement, or take unfair advantage through confusion. For example, if Archimedes wished to provide support to OpenFOAM users in Syracuse, the use of the name “Syracuse OpenFOAM Support” would be unacceptable because it implies endorsement and exclusivity for support services in Syracuse, making it unfair to anyone else wishing to supply OpenFOAM support in Syracuse. “Archimedes’s Support for OpenFOAM” would be acceptable.

Commentary on OpenFOAM

Anyone is free to write articles, create websites, blog about, or talk about OpenFOAM, as long as it is clear to everyone, including people completely unfamiliar with OpenFOAM, that they are simply referring to OpenFOAM and in no way speaking for OpenCFD, or the OpenFOAM software. Audiences must not be left with any impression that a person commenting on OpenFOAM belongs to OpenCFD if they do not; organisers of events, websites, social networking groups, etc. must make every effort to ensure this. Any events, websites, etc. are themselves subject to the trade mark policy, so they must additionally ensure that such things as event advertising, the website banner, web site domain name, etc. cause no confusion amongst any participants/visitors or gain no unfair advantage from the OPENFOAM®  trade mark.