Debian, the mother of Ubuntu, has made a historical decision by changing the terms of their trademark policy. According to the new trademark policy, Debian logos and marks may now be used freely for both non-commercial and commercial purposes. The Debian Project encourages wide use of its marks in all ways that promote Debian and free software.
Stefano Zacchiroli, current Debian Project Leader and one of the main promoters of the new trademark policy, said “Software freedoms and trademarks are a difficult match. We all want to see well-known project names used to promote free software, but we cannot risk they will be abused to trick users into downloading proprietary spyware. With the help of SPI and SFLC, we have struck a good balance in our new trademark policy. Among other positive things, it allows all sorts of commercial use; we only recommend clearly informing customers about how much of the sale price will be donated to Debian.”
The project is also encouraging the vendors to create Wheezy-themed merchandise (t-shirts, stickers, mugs, etc.), using the upcoming release’s artwork.
However, one is not allowed to use the trademark in certain cases including these:
- You cannot use Debian trademarks in any way that suggests an affiliation with or endorsement by the Debian project or community, if the same is not true.
- You cannot use Debian trademarks in a company or organization name or as the name of a product or service.
- You cannot use a name that is confusingly similar to Debian trademarks.
- You cannot use Debian trademarks in a domain name, with or without commercial intent.
If you want to use it any of the above cases you need to take permission from the project.