Suppose I want to release a software program to the App Store, under an open source license. As I want to increase the number of downloads, I want to advertise that the software is an Open Source Project.

I would like to use the logo of the Open Source Initiative, to help me do this. Assuming that I would use the logo correctly, without misleading anything in my previews, would I be allowed to do this?

3 Answers 3


Yes, if

Source: the first section of their Logo Usage Guidelines says (bold emphasis mine):

The OSI logo is a trademark of Open Source Initiative. In order to protect and grow the OSI brand, we have a distinguishable logo that can be used to mark software licensed under an OSI Approved License. […]

It depends on the exact nature of the app store which guideline from the Trademark Guidelines section "Distributing software under a license approved by OSI" applies in your case.

It’s probably "Software distributed under OSI Approved Licenses and software not licensed OSI Approved Licenses separately on same website".
If you intend to use the logo, you should of course always read the mentioned documents. In the "tl;dr" variant this section says:

  • Use one of their logos without editing it (unless it’s explicitly noted to be allowed). (It might also be required to state something like: "The OSI logo trademark is the trademark of Open Source Initiative.".)

  • Make sure that users won’t get the false impression that the other software available from this app store would also be licensed under an OSI-approved license.

  • Right after publishing it, send the URL with your use of the logo (e.g., your app’s page) to the OSI (using the category "Trademark enquiries").

  • Perhaps you could expand on logo usage and trademark guidelines?
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 16:03
  • @Zizouz212: I’m wary to repeat their terms (in case I miss or misrepresent something), so I added a "tl;dr" variant with disclaimer for the case of an app store.
    – unor
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 16:38

Yes, under certain conditions.

The bottom of the OSI website says that website materials are licensed under CC-BY. This generally means you can use them, including the logo. However, there are special considerations for the logo because it is also a trademark.

In general, if you're using the logo in good faith for a reasonable purpose, you should be OK (because this falls under the definition of fair use, you probably shouldn't rely on it though). You should not use the logo in any way that could imply endorsement or affiliation with the OSI. Thus you can say that "this project is open source, as defined by the [logo] OSI". You can not say "this project has been approved by the OSI".

  • The logo usage guidelines and trademark guidelines of the OSI forbid a lot of things, and "In general, if you're using the logo in good faith for a reasonable purpose" seems way too loose to be save here.
    – Martijn
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 15:21
  • @Martijn good faith for a reasonable purpose falls under the definition of fair use. I take your point though, let me edit a bit.
    – ArtOfCode
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 15:22
  • There is no fair use defense for trademark violations: fair use is a U.S. only thing that only applies to copyright, not trademarks.
    – Martijn
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 15:23
  • @Martijn in all legality, yes, though courts will often allow it as a defence if they deem the violation to be in good faith.
    – ArtOfCode
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 15:25
  • The question expressly states it wants to use the OSI logo to help him with publicity. That violates good faith.
    – Martijn
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 15:31

It depends on your exact use, but probably not.

The OSI logo is a trademark of the OSI.

The logo usage guidelines implore that you may only use the logo if (among other things) it doesn't imply sponsorship, association with or endorsement of the OSI. It sounds like you want to use the logo to associate yourself with the OSI, which is one of the things that is disallowed.

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