As you may have already heard, the D20 Trademark License is being revoked with the release of 4th Edition. WotC considers the D20 mark to have been a failure due to the lack of quality control: In their opinion, the value of the brand had been diluted because consumers associated it with a lot of bad products.
That may or may not be true, but the utility of the D20 Trademark License was never about identifying quality products: It was about identifying compatible products.
This leaves third-party publishers (like myself) in something of a bind: Without the D20 Trademark License, we have nothing that we can use to quickly and easily identify our products as being compatible. (The D20 Trademark License not only covers the use of the trademark itself — it also covers the “Requires the Use of the yada yada yada” language which is the second-most common way of identifying a compatible product.)
This sudden yanking of the D20 Trademark License only complicates a situation which was already on the verge of being completely muddied by the advent of 4th Edition: To whit, there’s no easy way for a publisher to indicate that their new product is compatible with the new edition. (Or, if the market forks, that their product is compatible with 3rd Edition and not with 4th Edition.)
In order to solve both of these problems, Dream Machine Productions has created two trademark logos that can be used to indicate compatibility: The Seal of the 3rd Edition and the Seal of the 4th Edition.
The Seal of the 3rd Edition is being immediately released under a free license so that anyone who wants to use it — whether a professional company or amateur designer — can use it freely.
The Seal of the 4th Edition will be released under a similar license as soon as the 4th Edition SRD becomes public. (Until the SRD of the new edition becomes public, we can’t finalize the compatibility guidelines.) (EDIT: The GSL actually released for 4th Edition made this project untenable.)
4th Edition Seal – Color
4th Edition Seal – Black
4th Edition Seal – White
4th Edition Seal – Grayscale
4th Edition Seal – Full Size
4th Edition Seal – PSD File
If you have questions, suggestions, or concerns, please feel free to drop me a comment or an e-mail.
Similarly, if you have a need to use the Seal of the 4th Edition trademark logo before the 4th Edition SRD becomes public, simply contact me for permission.