How do I copyright or trademark typeface names?

dezcom's picture

Does anyone know the proper path to do this?

ChrisL

dan_reynolds's picture

Typeface names can become Trademarks (or Registered Trademarks). I do not know what the procedure is to do this myself. But I would recommend doing it.

You cannot *copyright* a typeface name, I think. You can only copyright the source code of a font. Font source code data may be copyrighted as a literary work, like other computer programs. This is done through the copyright office of the country you live in (I believe that the US Copyright Office is in Washington, D.C.). Other countries have copyright agreements with the US; therefore, it is usually not necessary to register this copyright elsewhere.

dezcom's picture

Perhaps then "trademark" is what I am looking for?

ChrisL

ndmike's picture

Perhaps this webpage can offer some assistance (for trademark registration in the U.S. anyway):

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/tac/doc/basic/

There's also this website about worldwide registration from the World Intellectual Property Organization, called the Madrid System:

http://www.wipo.int/madrid/en/

--m

dezcom's picture

Thanks Michael!

ChrisL

claes's picture

don't you need to own a company to register trademarks and such? i always wanted to trademark a few things, but i don't have a real company so i never thought i could.

Norbert Florendo's picture

Chris, what are you intending to protect legally?
As Dan mentioned, a typeface name (a name of an actual product) can be trademarked after a moderate search of like sounding and spelling names within the industry or market of the product.

A registered trademark requires extensive tradename research (legal fees) before you can even apply, then more application fees, a period open for contention, then more legal fees for actual registration. It's really all about "trade" protection, or to disuade "competitors" from capitalizing on the brand investment and product name equity of the originating company.

If a "brand" is big enough or well known enough, its protection will go beyond the actual product category and marketplace. An example would be if you tried to register a trademark for a typeface named Corvette.

A name won't protect the typeface itself, if that's what you're hoping to do. If you are interested in "branding" a typeface, it requires more than just protecting the name as well.

Let me know... I'll help if I can.

dezcom's picture

Thanks Norbert! I am interested in protecting typeface names so maybe the first case you mentioned is enough but that just might be wishful thinking. I would be grateful for any light you can shed on the subject.

ChrisL

Norbert Florendo's picture

Well, here's a sure-fire way to protect your typeface names and build a brand for yourself, and it will only cost you another beer at TypeCon Boston this summer.

Brand Thy Self
I've been both fascinated and enamored of your user handle "dezcom" (and I vaguely remember what it stands for, but that's neither here nor there in the matter). It's a fairly small field of type foundries and designers, so branding yourself will stand as both memorable and irrefutable as to the source of any of your typefaces.

Dezcom NOW, or Dez Leporello, or Dz Align Sans, or CL NOW, all can easily be branded and trademarked at the same time since your "prefix" becomes the actual distiguishing name.

It's why Aaron Burns insisted that "ITC" preceded every licensed release (except for the few ITC sub-licensed) and why several type suppliers and vendors still use prefixes today. But personally, I think "Dezcom" or even "Dez" is quite catchy, and you can even use your avatar as a brandmark.

Trying to trademark and brand three new type families is far more difficult and costly than building a single brand with three available products (in this case typefaces).

Now if that's not worth a beer, I don't know what is. :-O

dezcom's picture

Norbert,
IOU a pint (at least) of the foaming brew of your choice--to be collected in the fair city of Boston, this Summer of 2006 at the event called TypeCon.

ChrisL

PS: I hope you don't pick this one:

dan_reynolds's picture

Dezcom NOW, or Dez Leporello, or Dz Align Sans, or CL NOW, all can easily be branded and trademarked at the same time since your “prefix” becomes the actual distiguishing name.

If I were you, this alone would not be enough for me. Let's say you name Leporello "Dez Leporello", and someday soon a competitor names his typeface "Dis Leporello". This is no good.

In the future, should automatic internet searches dominate the way people find fonts, both of you could end up in a sticky situation. I know that it isn't the nicest thing to do to threaten someone else with trademark infringement, but sometimes it beats the alternative.

dezcom's picture

Dan,
NOW IOU a pint of German beer in Boston!
Boy are we all gonna get sowsed if this keeps up.

As Vinnie Barbarino used to say, "Mistah Cawtah, I am soooh confused!"

ChrisL

dan_reynolds's picture

I love Boston. We can each buy each other a pint. I've always perferred the micro-breweries in Beantown to imported European beer. The imported stuff doesn't taste the same on the otehr side of the atlantic. Something must happen out there on the ocean…

dezcom's picture

I think U.S. beer makers lobby congress to have all foreign beer sit out on the dock in the sun for 6 months before they let them distribute it :-) [when I was in Viet Nam, they sent American beer over for servicemen. It sat in the sun in Da Nang harbor in the tropical sun forever before we poor slobs in the boonies got it. It had that same weird aftertaste.]

ChrisL

paul d hunt's picture

Let's vote on it!

(the trademark issue, that is)

oldnick's picture

Boston brews: Sam Adams Black Lager, Cream Stout or -- if you're man enough -- Double Bock. And, if you can find it, Wachusetts Black Shack Porter is to die for...

dezcom's picture

Wo Nick! Those sound like some stout offerings :-)

ChrisL

Norbert Florendo's picture

Yes... all good brews to be sure,
but then one evening you must visit my neck of woods on the North Shore of Boston for some Ipswich Ale and SmuttyNose!
The suds are on me (literally)!

dezcom's picture

And here I thought you only had a smutty mind :-)

Sounds like fun to me.

ChrisL

dan_reynolds's picture

if you’re man enough — Double Bock

Hrumph! I've hiked upped mountains in Bavaria just for a good glass of Doppelbock.

But I've always favored Ipswich Ale over Sam Adams.

dezcom's picture

But do any of these beers have "The TWINS?"
:-)

ChrisL

oldnick's picture

I must admit that Sam Adams Double Bock isn't the best of its kind, but it IS from Boston. Moretti La Birra Rossa, as a doppelbock, is far superior to Sam Adams, and is perhaps the best brew of its kind in the world. Then again, I am not man enough to get through a bottle of Samiclaus Brown...

Geoff Riding's picture

For a doppelbock, it's hard to better Adventinus, which is superior to any doppelbock I've tried. As for the best brews in the world, you can't go past some of the trappist beers in Belgium.

However, I admit I haven't tried many American beers, they don't have a good reputation here for some reason (budweiser) and the reputed microbrews sadly hasn't been imported into Australia. :-)

dezcom's picture

Slovak Pilsner is pretty fine.

ChrisL

jselig's picture

Well since the topic has strayed; you could always get a pint at "Cheers" - Where everybody knows your name!

dezcom's picture

LOL!!!
Yes, but I want them to also know my face(s),

:-)

ChrisL

dan_reynolds's picture

Yes, but I want them to also know my face(s),

Well, then you'd better have your shirts ready this time around. Then you can wear one at the bar.

Of course, if any other bald, middle aged guys buy your shirts, and wear them to the bar, they might get chatted up in hopes of getting free beer, too.

My favorite Doppelbock of the moment is from Kloster Andechs, a beer brewing monastery about an hour southwest of Munich. They also have a church were people (used to?) go to receive miracle healings. I wonder if there is a connection!

My favorite beer though, is hands down that the from König Ludwig Schloßbrauerei Kaltenberg. This brewery is run by the former Bavarian royal family (oh how the mighty have fallen?). It is getting easier and easier to find it sold outside of Bavaria. But I don't think they sell internationally yet.

Belgian beer is good, but I find its palette a bit superfluous and decadent.

oldnick's picture

Some offbeat suggestions...

Belgian beer: Trois Pistoles, a hearty (9% ABV) cask-conditioned ale (comes in a champagne-style bottle).

German beer: Burgerbrau Roggenbock, an unfiltered rye bock (serious sedimentation) with a delightfully different flavor; Aecht Schenkerla Urbock Rauchbier, made with smoked malt, redolent of olives(!).

Russian beer: Baltika No. 4, 6 & 9 - No. 9 calls itself "Pale Beer," but it's robust and has a kick (8% ABV); No. 6 is a porter, rich and full-bodied; and No. 4 is an unfiltered wheat ale, one of the tastiest light-colored beers I have ever encountered.

American Beer: Cave Creek Chili Beer, not because it's superior beer, but because each bottle is conditioned with a chili pepper. Drink one of these puppies, and you'll be calling for a cold one (but NOT another CCCB)...

Norbert Florendo's picture

Sounds like the TypeCon Boston T-Party is rapidly becoming the Boston Beer-Party!

dan_reynolds's picture

…all a man needs apart from type!

Pretty darn close, I'd say.

Miss Tiffany's picture

This happens every year, doesn't it? Conference season arrives and thus the discussion of beer, lager and ale. :^D

dan_reynolds's picture

…if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

fontplayer's picture

I'd like to weigh in on this important topic by saying I'd like to try Pilsner Urquell fresh from the tap wherever it is made. And while we're at it, Grolsch also.

dan_reynolds's picture

Pilsner Urquell

…is Czech, if I recall correctly. You could get it on tap, fresh, in Prague.

dezcom's picture

There are 2 Pilsners, one is Czech and the other is Slovak. My Slovak friends here assure me that the Slovak version is best. Gee, I wonder what a Czech might say? :-)

ChrisL

fontplayer's picture

Although off-topic, I remembered this node had morphed into discussion on beer, and I have a new tip if you can find it. Two actually.

1: Longboard Lager from Kona Brewing (amber lager)
2: 1554 by New Belgium Brewing (a tasty dark)
Both carried by BevMo.

Disclaimer: Please drink responsibly, and all that.

speter's picture

Our local brewpub has an oatmeal porter that is out of this world.

I'm still looking for the elusive rhubarb lambic I once had in a bar in Allston, MA. Mmm, rhubarb lambic...

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