Westfw gives exactly the right answer as always
When I registered the Freeduino domain name, I was also thinking that it would be a good example for those who were nervous about copying the Arduino design- i.e. was it was "OK to make your own" derivative and sell it, or call it Arduino etc.? (Note that this is all historical- that information is now clearly available). At the time there had only been a Portugese derivative, followed by the Boarduino (a team-authorized derivative). So, personally, at least , I thought this might give some impetutus to those who wanted to make their own derivative- to make a multitude of designs come about rather than one central board with no derivatives. I always thought the hardware derivatives was going to be the interesting part. The Arduino team had not gotten to the point of releasing the PCB production files, as they did 6 months or so later (to the team's credit!), so several of us were wondering if the hardware derivatives side was going to happen or not.
Westfw, NKcelectronics and Oliver K were kind enough to jump in and quickly reverse engineer the Deicimilia so that we could manufacture a few hundred demonstration copies and release the PCB files. that was pretty interesting- we had a Germany-Florida-California-Vancouver team that had never met, but every couple of weeks these prototype boards that we had designed would show up by Fedex!
The Freeduino anti-trademark (without a trademark or any restrictions since 2007!) was also a nice hack to dilute the uniqueness of the Arduino name/trademark, in line with the above thoughts on diversity in hardware. Even though Arduino is currently trademarked, it's not really a very strong or particularly enforceable trademark, considering all the long-standing derivative product names that have been allowed: http://www.freeduino.org/duino.html
The whole effort did seem to help make people feel comfortable about their implied right to rip the Arduino design into their own hardware derivative, as the license allows. While that right might seem clear now, it wasn't art all clear back in September 2007 when we launched the Freeduino derivative.
Anyway this is all ancient history, and even though I am sure we were a royal pain in the ass for the Arduino team
, everything seems to have worked out for the best. There isn't really a need for Freeduino now, as there are so many other duino's