Previous section

Practical Guide to the Open Brand
Copyright © January 1998 The Open Group


The Open Brand is signified by the "X" Device which can be associated with and used in relation to IT systems that have been registered with The Open Group as being fully conformant to one or more specific defined sets of functionality known as Product Standards. Its use is governed by the Open Brand Trademark License Agreement (TMLA). Anyone wishing to register a product, or products, and use the "X" Device must first sign the Open Brand Trademark License Agreement and thereby "warrant and represent" that any products they register will fully conform to the identified Product Standard(s) and will continue to do so.

An Open Brand Certificate is issued for each Registered Product and an entry is made in the Directory of Registered Products which can be found on The Open Group web site at A single product may be registered as conformant to more than one Product Standard.

The Open Brand cannot, and does not, attempt to dictate the content of any transaction in any specific supplier/customer relationship. It does not attempt to force a purchaser to buy, or a supplier to supply, items that the customer does not require. What it can, and does, do is provide the mechanism through which, if a buyer wishes to procure a product that is guaranteed to conform to a Product Standard, the supplier will provide a fully conformant product in accordance with the terms of the Open Group Trademark License Agreement.

The rules are very simple. The Open Brand applies to a product or product range marketed by the supplier, and means that if a configuration matching a particular Product Standard is ordered from that product range it will be delivered in full, and all the conditions of the Open Brand Trademark License Agreement will apply to it.

Anyone buying a Registered Product is guaranteed that:

Product Standards relate to one or more of the following:

The detailed requirements for conformance are identified in each Product Standard. They include both implementation detail and any specific testing requirements. The Product Standard refers to formal standards, CAE Specifications, or other standards or specifications that have been adopted or defined by The Open Group and included in its Standards Information Base (SIB). The Standards Information Base forms part of The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF). The Open Group Architecture Framework is explained on The Open Group web site at and the Standards Information Base is accessible at

It is important to note that one Product Standard can include another Product Standard, and that additional conformance requirements may be included as a requirement within a more comprehensive Product Standard.

Registration of a product requires that it conforms to the requirements of the Product Standard. The Conformance Statement (see Conformance Statements) states precisely how the specific product conforms. The process is shown in the following figure:

Figure 1 The Path to the Open Brand

Following the merger of X/Open Company Ltd. and the Open Software Foundation (OSF) to form The Open Group, the X/Open Brand (introduced in 1988) is now known as the Open Brand. Other terminology has also changed to reflect the broader perspective of the Program. Profile and Component Definitions are replaced by Product Standards. The acronym "XPG" has been dropped (its expansion "X/Open Portability Guide" was dropped long ago). Conversion tables from the old to the new terminology can be found on The Open Group web site at

Why not acquire a nicely bound hard copy?
Click here to return to the publication details or order a copy of this publication.

Contents Next section Index