The Certification Process

This guide is intended to be used as a reference to best practices to ensure that your projects comply with the definition of Open Source Hardware.

Open source hardware certification

This guide is intended to give you instruction in how to ensure your project is both legally open for downstream use and so you can better understand what level of intellectual property protection applies to each of the common elements found in open source hardware projects.

Unlike open source software, which is generally protected by copyright law, many elements of open source hardware are more difficult to protect from copying and may be impossible to protect from misuse at all.

This guide is not intended to be legal advice. If you have questions about how any of these concepts apply to your hardware or apply in your country, OSHWA recommends that you contact a lawyer. The product examples included here are only meant to serve as illustrative demonstrations of the concepts being discussed. These descriptions do not reflect a legal opinion of OSHWA or the companies referenced.

After completing this guide, you will have the knowledge to self-certify your product as OSHWA-compliant open source hardware. This allows users to know that your hardware complies with the community definition of open source hardware. The OSHWA certification mark can only be used by projects that comply with the community definition. Completing the certification creates a legally binding and unique logo that can only be used by projects that comply with the community definition of open source hardware.

Certification Elements

These four elements are found in open source hardware projects. Click on any of the elements to skip directly to its learning module.

OSHWA Open Source Hardware Certification Logo