TypoTechnica 2003

Copyright, Design Patent & Trademark Issues

Thomas Caldwell Font Development Coordinator Process and Quality Management


”Knowledge is the best protection.“


Why Protect your Work? Types of Protection How and where to register What Linotype Library does to Protect your Fonts

Aldus™ Antique Olive® Banco® ITC Bauhaus® Plantin® Times Ten™ Zapfino™

Trademark Design Patents & Design Registration Copyright End User License Agreements

When to use ® and ™ Adding Trademarks and Copyrights to your Fonts

Why Protect your Work?

Why Protect your Work?

Font piracy is everywhere. Designers would have no authorship rights to their designs without protection Nothing would stop pirates from copying fonts. Enforcement of intellectual property rights is only possible with correct protection The devlopment of fonts and new technologies is expensive and financed through sales

No sale of fonts is possible without documented authorship (designer and manufactuerer) and without a contract (End User License Agreement)

Types of Protection

Different rules apply for different regions. The three main regions are - Europe - USA - Asia (not covered by this presentation)

Types of Protection


Design Patents / Design Registation


Europe Trademark Patent Design Registration by country or for the whole EU Copyright registration not possible

USA Trademark and Design Patent as part of the Patent process Copyright registration possible

Types of Protection

Trademark Name of the typeface is protected

Trademark Name registration is possible for the whole world A registered Trademark Name has the highest level of protection The name can be registered in various different classes


Legally enforcable for the countries where registered Enforcable only for the classes registered

In Euope the use of a name can be considered justification for an TM unregistered Trademark It must be in use, so always use TM !

Design Registration

Europe Community Design Registration

Only a registration process – not validated No protection for A-Z, a-z, 0-9, only additional glyphs Protection only within the EU

Novelty required for legal enforcement – less protection for text typefaces Legal enforcement questionable May not be shown in public prior to registration (6 month grace period)

Duration of protection: 5 – 25 years The main reason for Design Registration is documentation of the design at the time of registration

Design Patents

US Design Patents Design of the typeface is protected

Only 153 entries in the class D18/24 (type font / typeface design) About 90% are fonts

Novelty and nonobvious ornamental design The design patent protects only the appearance You must claim prior art (provide samples)

Duration of protection 14 years Protection only within the USA

Online Research

Online Information (Example: Design Patent)

http://www.uspto.gov/pa tft/index.html United States Patent and Trademark Office Other organisations are making their information available online


Copyright Digital source data of the font is protected (hint instructions, outline points used in the hinting program)

Very weak design protection due to the exclusions in the Copyright Act No protection without Trademark, Design Registration and/or an End User License Agreement USA Curve points in combination with hinting have been protected sucessfully (Adobe Inc. vs. Southern Software Inc.) with an out of court settlement

Copyright is probably one of the most misundersood concepts of protection. Alone it provides no protection for typeface designs.

Europe No registration possible


Excluded from Copyright Protection

the utilitarian elements of industrial designs 85 familiar symbols or designs simple geometrical shapes mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering or coloring common works considered public property, such as standard calendars, height and weight charts, and tape measures and rulers

Typefaces & their digital representations do not enjoy copyright protection under the Copyright Act
Certain works and subject matter are expressly excluded from protection under the Copyright Act, regardless of their originality, creativity and fixation. Titles Names short phrases slogans
Typefaces & their digital representations (bitmaps, outlines – outline points questionable)


EULA The Protective Wrapper Condtions for the sale

The EULA helps protect your Intellectial Property. The customer is bound by a contract and informed about what can and cannot be done with the product.
reference: Bill Davis, ATypI EULA Workshop documentation and http://www.fonts.com/legal/ courtesy AgfaMonotype Corporation

A binding contract between the seller and the end user, OEM or reseller Definition of what may and may not be done with the product no modification in the original design

Important: The EULA must be agreed to before the use of the product (shrinkwrap or digital acceptance)

Linotype Library

How do we protect your fonts?

Registration of Trademarks, design and copyright where appropriate Constant policing of websites and products Dissuasion with ’cease and decist’ order for the future

Do you have any questions? Please contact Nihal Yilmaz at Nyilmaz@linotype.com

Innovation – new designs Innovation – revivals Innovation – new technologies

Legal action against infringers if nothing else helps End User License Agreements with detailed explanations, do‘s and don‘ts

Adding © and ® and TM

Adding Copyright and Trademark Notices to your Fonts

FontLab allows you to add the copyright and the trademark information into the font data

This is the copy in 17 pt. For blank lines between two statements use half value.