FontShop and Unnamed Firm Reach Agreement

Bald Condensed's picture

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 17, 2006

FSI Fonts und Software GmbH, (FontShop International) announced today that it had reached a settlement with an internationally recognized strategic brand development firm related to a dispute involving the design, creation and licensing of a typefont developed as part of that firm’s work for one of its clients.

The firm has denied and vigorously defended the allegation that the typeface infringed FSI’s copyrights or that the typeface was an otherwise unauthorized derivative version of FSI’s FF DAX and FF META typefonts. FSI first raised its claims in the beginning of February, 2005.

Without any admission of liability, the parties have agreed to resolve this matter pursuant to the terms of a confidential settlement agreement in order to eliminate the uncertainties, burden and expense of potential, protracted litigation. As part of that settlement, the firm has agreed to pay FSI $17,500.

About FSI Font Shop International
FSI FontShop International is a German-based international developer and licensor of electronic type fonts under its FontFont Library brand (www.fontfont.com). Comprising more than 3,500 electronic type fonts created by more than 150 font designers, FSI distributes the FontFont Library around the world through direct Internet sales. As well as its FontFont Library, FSI also distributes fonts from more than 30 other font foundries at www.fontshop.com.

Comments

Bald Condensed's picture

The firm has denied and vigorously defended the allegation that the typeface infringed FSI’s copyrights or that the typeface was an otherwise unauthorized derivative version of FSI’s FF DAX and FF META typefonts.

Do the FutureBrand people really think we're all blind and stupid? :^/

"Oh no, we certainly didn't rip off Hans Reichel's nor Erik Spiekermann's insanely popular typefaces. It just so happens that when you overlay FF Dax and the FF Meta lowercase g on UPS Sans the shapes match up to the Bezier points and handles. Isn't that the most amazing coincidence ever?"

They insult our intelligence. "Allegation" my a$$ -- anyone can see it's a rip-off.

FutureBrand. Think Ahead. Steal Ahead.

Jared Benson's picture

This is both a victory for the type designer and a lesson learned for the professional corporate identity designer. You can't tweak a few letters of a font and pass it off as your own.

Bald Condensed's picture

You're giving them way too much credit -- you can hardly call scaling the capitals and squring the corners "tweaking". :^D

Still I think they're getting away really cheap. We're talking UPS Worldwide here, that must be thousands of licenses! Plus I would have liked a judge set a judicial precedent.

dezcom's picture

See what Brown Nose? Oops, surly I meant Brown Knows. That spelling error was just a coincidence.

ChrisL

Chris Keegan's picture

It's too bad FSI settled. FutureBrand is getting off waaay to cheap. I'm sure they charged UPS much more than 17k for their "proprietary typefaces."

Chris Keegan's picture

I can't understand why such a high-profile firm wouldn't work with a type shop to develop the typefaces anyway. UPS would certainly have the budget to do so.

andreas's picture

The fontblogger has translated this thread and nicely illustrated it.

www.fontblog.de/C1130786794/E1847358505/index.html

--astype.de--

eolson's picture

And taking first place for ironic headline copy:
"THE DISCIPLINE TO BREAK THE RULES"

(as displayed on the FutureBrand "Our Clients A to Z" section of their website)

Bald Condensed's picture

Nice find, Eric! :^D

What bothers me about this case -- amongst many other things -- is that this was a nice high-profile job for a type designer that was lost.

dezcom's picture

And a precedent set for ripping off type people.

ChrisL

Thomas Phinney's picture

Unless FontShop was likely to get legal expenses awarded, even a small settlement may be more money in their pocket than they'd end up with from a protracted legal battle, after paying their lawyers. Plus there's the lost work time from proving their case. All that assuming they won (I'm not doubting their case, just saying that even with what seems to us a strong case, courts may make decisions that would surprise us).

I think my motto would be "don't knock FSI for settling out of court until you've gone down this path yourself."

T

dezcom's picture

I would not knock it for their sake, it is just too bad that the offenders did not get a more painful lesson than just a few thou. That is hardly a deterrent for the next guy.

ChrisL

silas's picture

I wonder where the figure came from. It must have some basis in the estimated licensing fees.

clive's picture

If anyone has information to tie this press release to specific companies and/or designs I'd appreciate seeing it. Thanks. clive@indx.co.uk

Bald Condensed's picture

It's all in the first reaction to this press release, Clive. Read it. ;^)

Bald Condensed's picture

It's not as if we didn't already know.

.'s picture

Just so that there's no confusion: FSI has not made ANY statements about this case. Any conjecture on anyone's part, either here at Typophile, or in any other forum is a case of putting two and two together and coming up with United Parcel Service.

What can be said? Type dorks are really good detectives. (So long as it involves type dork stuff, such as type.)

It's a shame that reputations have been sullied because of the actions of a few bad apples. Someone once said, "hate the sin, love the sinner." Maybe it was Jesus? Dunno. To paraphrase: Hate the identity, love the identified.

Bald Condensed's picture

> FSI has not made ANY statements about this case.

Indeed -- in my communications with FSI they have NEVER commented on this case, and they sent me the press release as is (probably because they know I have a keen interest in piracy in corporate fonts, as this was the subject of my TypeCon and ATypI presentations). I have contacted FutureBrand for more information, but they are playing possum.

> Type dorks are really good detectives.

As you can see when you follow my link, several people on the Type Identification Board came to the same conclusion independently of each other, and some additional investigations confirmed our suspicions. That's why I love this outfit -- thanks to the number of people involved and the unique combination of specific areas of interest, we must be the most efficient type identification tool in the known universe.

I was taught by my parents that if I did something wrong I should always confess, apologise and try to make things right, NOT make it any worse by lying even more. I'm particularly offended by FutureBrand's stuborness as they "[have] denied and vigorously defended the allegation that the typeface infringed FSI’s copyrights or that the typeface was an otherwise unauthorized derivative version of FSI’s FF DAX and FF META typefonts."

You don't want to tick off the dorks...

.'s picture

I was chatting with a man yesterday, who said that the best advice he ever got was: "Tell the truth, and the worst you'll get is a beating. Tell a lie, and you'll be f*cking killed." This advice came to him from the Sisters of Mercy. Gotta love a traditional Catholic school education.

dezcom's picture

"... the best advice he ever got was: “Tell the truth, and the worst you’ll get is a beating. Tell a lie, and you’ll be f*cking killed.”

Somehow (sadly) this may not hold true in Amercan politics.

ChrisL

Bald Condensed's picture

I just read Luc Devroye's entry on his site (scroll down to UPS, FutureBrand and FSI) and the Ulrich Stiehl PDF he refers to.

Luc clearly misinterpreted the press release and some points in this discussion. Furthermore, I think it's very convenient for Luc and Ulrich to be squarely against intellectual property rights, but then have no scruples to use these same principles to their advantage in an effort to prove some theory. I mean, choose a position and stick to it.

Also, going out of your way to show the minute differences between UPS Sans and FF Dax is a bit sad when by doing so you make it obvious that the whole thing was copied.

dezcom's picture

Seeing Yves' link above--There seems to be an awful lot of Adobe bashing going on at Luc Devroye’s site! Some of it is six years old (the Bill Troop piece for one). Is Luc on a personal vendetta thing for some reason or am I just readiny way too much intoit?

ChrisL

Bald Condensed's picture

Luc has problems with anything related to intellectual property. He's convinced that typeface designs can't be protected. What most of us do is worthless and deserves to be copied and pirated. :^/

hrant's picture

> There seems to be an awful lot of Adobe bashing going on at Luc Devroye’s site!

Yeah, nothing like your Typophile best chum...

hhp

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