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We were disappointed, but not surprised, that Erik Spiekermann, a noted and respected type designer and author, would knowingly make false and misleading statements regarding Berthold in a public forum.
As such statements affect the reputation of Berthold Types, I am responding with this posting. I attach a letter dated June 3, 2004, to Mr. Spiekermann explaining the actual facts behind the continuation of H. Berthold's type business by Berthold Types. This letter is from Berthold Types Limited's German attorneys because the subject matter involves German law. We arranged for the attached English translation.
Although the letter to Mr. Spiekermann addresses the myths and misconceptions perpetuated by Mr. Spiekermann's comments, I would like to make a few points:
1. Berthold Designers
Mr. Spiekermann states that Berthold Types has no contracts with any of the original Berthold designers even though he is well aware of the agreement with Guenter Gerhard Lange. Mr. Spiekermann, a friend of Mr. Lange, tried to persuade Mr. Lange against working with Berthold Types but failed.
Contrary to Mr. Spiekermann's statement, Berthold Types has agreements with Guenter Gerhard Lange, Bernd Moellenstaedt, Dieter Hofrichter, Orjan Nordling and Prof. Werner Schneider.
--Mr. Lange (at 83) is working on new typefaces for Berthold Types; having completed Whittingham in 2001 and additions to his other typefaces (Bodoni Old Face and Imago). He also has a new typeface yet to be released and has embarked on another large typeface project for Berthold Types. Mr. Lange as artistic consultant is actively involved in future type releases by Berthold.
--Mr. Moellenstaedt has created a new, large typeface family for Berthold Types (yet to be released) as well as preparing additional offerings of Formata.
--Prof. Schneider recently completed and Berthold Types released his Senatus typeface.
--Mr. Hofrichter works on many projects for Berthold's type program and works closely with Berthold Types to insure the continued quality of the Berthold type program. He works directly with GGL on all his new releases.
All of the contracts between H. Berthold AG and the designers specifically stated that when a typeface design falls into the public domain the obligation by Berthold to pay royalities ceases. Berthold Types offered to pay designers nonetheless. Notwithstanding, Hans Reichel chose to release a reworking of Barmeno.
Interestingly, according to H. Berthold's royalty worksheet, Mr. Spiekermann was never paid royalties on an ongoing basis for Berliner Grotesk and LoType.
2. Registration of Berthold's Trademarks
Mr. Spiekermann also implies that any company could simply register H. Berthold's trademarks. This is simply not true.
The Type division of H. Berthold was a separated in October 1991 and the Type assets were "leased" back to H. Berthold by a consortium of banks. The Type division was not a part of the H. Berthold AG bankruptcy in 1993 and was separate from Berthold's other businesses. Berthold Types acquired the type assests (e.g. the trademarks as well as other IP rights -- see the attached letter) through the chain of title through these banks, not through bankruptcy.
Accordingly, contrary to Mr. Spiekermann's statements, over 80 German trademark registrations, and numerous UK and US registrations, were assigned through the "chain of title" from H. Berthold AG to Berthold Types, including the "Berthold in a red square logo" and the "H. Berthold" trademarks.
3. Protection of Berthold's IP Rights
Mr. Spiekermann states that Berthold Types has been "suing dozens of people with frivolous cases which have cost me and other designers and foundries millions of dollars (and I am not exaggerating)."
It's a myth. In fact, Berthold Types has filed only twelve lawsuits two of which were against FSI/FontShop (both for trademark infringement). Mr. Spiekermann cannot provide any basis supporting losses of "millions of dollars." Type is just not that large of a business.
If Mr. Spiekermann wants to debate: Stick to the facts, please.
Berthold Types Limited
Spiekermann_Translation.pdf (91.9 k)