Michael Weinberg writes, "After over a year of community development, the Open Source Hardware Association has released its new certification program. Hardware with the certification logo is guaranteed to meet the community definition of open source hardware. As a bonus, any hardware registered before the end of October is eligible to receive the coveted 000001 unique ID registration number."
By design, no one owns the term "open source hardware" or the open gear logo. This allowed both the term and the logo to be widely adopted by the community. However, it also created a challenge. In many cases, creators would label their hardware as being open source and use the open gear logo without complying with the community definition. This created confusion in the community where users were unsure what it really meant when something was labeled "open source hardware".
The certification is designed to complement the existing open gear logo by bringing clarity to how the creator is using the term "open source hardware". Unlike the open gear logo, the certification logo is controlled by OSHWA. In order to use the certification logo, a hardware creator must make a legally binding promise that their hardware complies with the community definition of open source hardware. That means that when users see the certificated open source hardware logo they know the hardware complies with the community definition of open source hardware.