Lenovo sends cease-and-desist to Framework over a stylized letter “O”

Enlarge / The Framework Laptop motherboard’s 3D-printed case design. Lenovo has a bone to pick with the circular power button design.


If you bought the original Framework Laptop and wanted to upgrade its motherboard to the new version so you can benefit from the extra performance of a 12th-generation Core CPU, the company doesn’t want you to throw your old motherboard out. To that end, Framework designed and released an open source design for a 3D-printable motherboard casemaking it easy to repurpose an old Framework motherboard as a makeshift mini desktop PC.

But Lenovo has taken issue with this case design, according to a legal complaint shared via Framework’s Twitter account yesterday. At issue is the design of the case’s power button, pictured above, which looks like a circle or letter “O” segmented into three parts by straight lines. Lenovo’s legal team thinks that circle looks like the stylized “O” in Lenovo’s Legion brand logo. And they have a point, even if we don’t think it’s very likely that people would mix up a gaming laptop from a major PC manufacturer and a cheap 3D-printed plastic case for a niche laptop motherboard.

The segmented letter "OR" appears in marketing materials and printed on the lids of Lenovo's Legion laptops.
Enlarge / The segmented letter “O” appears in marketing materials and printed on the lids of Lenovo’s Legion laptops.


Fortunately for Framework, the “broken O” that Lenovo is upset about doesn’t appear anywhere on the Framework Laptop — it uses the company’s standard gear-shaped logo on its lid and keyboard, so Framework won’t need to make costly changes or dump any components it has already spent money on.

To make the problem go away, Framework is holding a design contest for a new power button design. Company CEO Nirav Patel will choose his favorite design so it can be incorporated into a new case and posted to GitHub. The contest winner will receive the Core i5-1135G7 version of the first-gen Framework Laptop motherboard — just make sure that the button design you submit doesn’t look like an apple with a bite out of itan alien heador three snakes tied together.