Erik Spiekermann's statements re Berthold

anonymous's picture

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.


Harvey Hunt
Berthold Types Limited

Spiekermann_Translation.pdf (91.9 k)

nigelh's picture

Right from the beginning, I was convinced that Avenir is the better Futura.

Adrian Frutiger

Does Linotype pay royalties to Paul Renner?

hrant's picture

Can somebody send me Bill's post of Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 10:44 am please?
I heard it had sex in it.

And what the hell happened to Bill, if there was one way you could make yourself useful to the type world, that was it, but you're just sitting on the idea.


johnbutler's picture

Bill Troop writes:
With all this dreadful litigation going on, we still don't have a usable digital version of Bembo.

What do you think of Aetna?

hrant's picture

I don't know if Bill is still here - maybe it was a hit & run - a felony not just in US traffic law but netiquette too - but I actually hope he's still around.

Bill likes Aetna a lot. When I wrote my review of Vendetta back when, he arranged for me to get a copy of it to review as well - but for various reasons that never materialized. I owe Jack one.


anonymous's picture

Dear Mr. Hunt,

As a graphic designer, I appreciate the Berthold type library, particularly Akzidenz Grotesk, which may come at no surprise as I'm sure its very popular. In fact, I'd be inclined to say that if stranded on a desert island with one font and a newletter to publish, AG would be a top choice.

However, when our studio is looking to purchase new fonts, I'm less inclined to purchase from Berthold when I have heard so many rumblings of lawsuits and cease-and-desist letters to other, arguably smaller, type foundries over similar-sounding font naming taxonomies.

When I attended TypeCon last year, I was heartened to get my first taste of the cameraderie of the type design industry, not to mention observing over the last few years the friendliness of font industry designers and reps in their interactions here at Typophile, many of which are small business owners working very hard to stay afloat and perfect their craft in a tough industry.

Many foundries and retailers were represented at TypeCon; I don't recall any Berthold presence, other than careful mentions in hushed conversations. Come to think of it, I rarely hear of anything other than legal action and scare tactics. Surely you must understand that while these actions intend to protect your assets from infringement, the perceptions of the end customer suffer. How would you respond to this? As one of the established names/brands in the industry, what is Berthold doing to preserve the craft and build the community?


B. Gibbs

Jared Benson's picture

Moderator's Note:

For those who are following along and might be curious, this thread
is presumably in response to this one and/or possibly this one.

anonymous's picture

To answer to Mr Hunt, I just say that his story seems partial and omit some examples for which he can't be proud.

An example:
Boton family is sold by Berthold Types despite Albert Boton never sign any contract with this new company. Note that Albert Boton never see any

anonymous's picture

>Can you tell me if cease-and-desist letters are
>common in our industry?

Of course they are.

anonymous's picture

>Being inconspicuous is much more effective. :-/

And that will sell a lot of fonts.

anonymous's picture

The Russian foundry FontCity run by Igor Shipovsky reports that BTL forced them to rename their fonts CITY OF SAMARA, CITY OF PLESETSK, CITY OF KHABAROVSK, CITY OF TSARITSYN, CITY OF SUZDAL, CITY OF CHERKIZOVO, CITY OF OSTANKINO, CITY OF MOSKVA because it apparently infringed BTL's registration of the trademark "CITY" for typefaces.

Here's the correspondence:

The main text is in Russian only:

Apparently, Igor Shipovsky decided to give way to BTL and renamed all his "City of ***" fonts to "Gorod.***", as you can see on:

Mike Rifkin, Canada

anonymous's picture

>I was talking about public discussion. And
>your anonymity helps prove my point.

Being inconspicuous in public discussion is more effective than sending cease and desist letters?

anonymous's picture

>letting (in this case) corporations be successful
>with their scare-tactics

If you put out a font called Fuityger you'd probably get a cease and desist letter from Linotype, if you put out one called Ffunit or just Unite you'd probably get one from FontShop.

Complaining about foundries trying to protect their trademarks is a pointless excercise.

Please complain to the Typophile admins that Linotype is a sponsor, but that Linotype have sent out cease and desist letters in the past and taken court action against those who have pritaed their fonts or their designs.

anonymous's picture

>No, it's more effective than being legal in avoiding
>cease and desist letters.

I think what you mean is that if people don't want to get cease and desist letters for infringement of trademarks then they shouldn't make it obvious that they are distributing them?

Isn't that pretty much *not* distributing them?

It's easier just to pick another name isn't it?

anonymous's picture


Is the question "does like CITY OF CHERKIZOVO infringe on the trademark Berthold City?"?

Berthold thinks it does, and asked that it be changed. The guy that put it out probably thinks it doesn't, but doesn't need the hassle... which tends towards him agreeing with Berthold.

The fact is that no one really knows, because only a court is competent to decide - and it didn't go to court.

Joe Pemberton's picture

True John. Too true.

Let's not mistake an argument with Hrant for an argument on the merits of the points in this thread.

And let's not mistake using the law (where there are real merits and valuable protections) for abusing the law where the goal is simply to eliminate the competition rather than legitimately protect something like a trade name.

anonymous's picture

>Let's not mistake an argument with Hrant for an
>argument on the merits of the points in this thread.

What are the points of this thread? Or their merits?

Mr Berthold wants to put his case. Who can argue the merits of that?

People want to ask "but how many cease and desist letters did you write?" Ok, what's the merit in that question, when every foundry does the same thing?

If you want to argue about the points Herr Spiekermann made, then go ahead, but that's a different thread - where Herr Spiekermann says hisself, Berthold are entitled to protect their rights.

>And let's not mistake using the law...

As pointed out previously, it's not really up to us to make those decisions.

If you want to debate whether Berthold are the bad guys, then I think you can do that, but don't do it on the basis of them trying to protect their trade marks.

Jared Benson's picture

Allow me to interject before we steer off course. Let's stay on topic and save the back-and-forth for private messages. There's an opportunity here for some meaningful discussion. I, for one, am hoping we'll see a response from Berthold now that their post has spawned such conversation.

anonymous's picture

BertHoldings FIRE SALE!

You too can now own the hard work of unpaid type designers! Choose from this selection of royalty-free loot from BertHoldings: (Bellevue)

Marvelous! That's around half the library! And not a single cent of your purchase goes to any of the designers!

Ecommerce servers are standing by!

anonymous's picture

By the way, Is not Mr. Harvey Hunt the person who used to run this FontShop outlet famous for selling font *without sending the money to the designers*?

anonymous's picture

Erik Spiekermann wrote:
"Berthold Types has no contracts with any of the original designers whose fonts are being sold today"

Berthold listed several of the original designers so how can Erik Spiekermann "substantiate everything i wrote" when he lied about this.

There is no libel in the truth but there is in false statements.

Perhaps that is why Erik Spiekermann will not respond in this forum.

anonymous's picture


As Erik stated even a letter from an attorney can be threatening in itself why don't you lead by example and post the letter that you sent online so that others can learn how do achieve things without threats (real or implied).

anonymous's picture

>Berthold listed several of the original designers so how
>can Erik Spiekermann "substantiate everything i wrote"
>when he lied about this.

I think it's not really the case that Mr Spiekermann lied, there are different interpretations on what was written, here's one.

>3. Berthold Types has no contracts with any of the
>original designers whose fonts are being sold today;
>thus effectively stealing from designers...

While Hunt says:
>Contrary to Mr. Spiekermann's statement, Berthold Types
>has agreements with Guenter Gerhard Lange, Bernd
>Moellenstaedt, Dieter Hofrichter, Orjan Nordling and
>Prof. Werner Schneider.

Well straight away it should be clear that these five individuals are not those representing all the designs in the Berthold catalogue.

Additionally it seems that Hunt is talking about "new" or reworked designs, where Spiekermann is talking about the "original" designs.

I think it's unlikely that Spiekermann is privvy to the day to day running of Berthold, so it's equally unlikely that he knows exactly who is doing what for them - so missing some detail here cannot be contsrued as lying (you can only lie if you falsely state something that you actually know).

The worst that you can say is that Spiekermann exaggerated - but even then he would need to know every fact, and it's not clear that anyone outside Bethold does, or even that Berthold itself does (being the "final" recipient in a long line of bankruptcies).

As posted by "Hans Mustermann" there's a great chunk of the Berthold library for which no designer receives a royalty.

Joe Pemberton's picture

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Joe Pemberton's picture

Chris, all are worthwhile questions, but probably deserve their
own, new thread.

anonymous's picture

"Finally, Berthold offered and still offers a contract to anybody who had original designer agreements with H. Berthold AG."

But when you receive no answer from an existing designer (years ago now), you should stop to distribute the family rather than to continue to distribute it and making money without paying the designer. More, all money received from Adobe sales of the typeface (This family of typefaces part of ATM bundle... just imagine the amout...) should be given at the correct percentage to the original designer.

Its fair practise that you seems ignoring completly.

anonymous's picture

I just have a call with the real Albert, and its worst than what I recall. He never receive any letter, proposal from you.

So, you have registred the own name of Boton
and distribute his typeface family.

He never received any money from it.

Please explain.

anonymous's picture


Please! Get real. Berthold says it spends millions of dollars promoting and protecting its fonts - do you really think that a few bad words on the internet are going to make any difference then think again.

All this is "tomorrow's fish and chip wrappers".

Do you think McDonalds sells less burgers because they got Plazm to pull a character from a font?

anonymous's picture

>If it's not spin-control...

It is spin control, but so what?

Who knows any more now than they did a couple of weeks ago?

If someone wants to use a Berthold font what are they going to do, steal it? Worse, if someone

anonymous's picture

I agree with John on this, but I'll point out the obvious differences:

>There were enough empty seats on the busses in Selma...

Ok, how did that change? Lot's of people walked around outside the bus station with placards screaming "boycott the bus" and lots of people cared enough about the issue to do something about it.

You had a grass-roots movement.

Now if ten of you march up and down outside Berthold

anonymous's picture

>(I think that this is all true)

I think all of this is bullshit.

Bitstream has never had any licence from Linotype for their designs, except within the last six months they have signed an agreement to pay royalties to Linotype, and have a license to use the trademarks.

All those fonts right through the 80s and 90s were sold without licensing the trademarks or designs, and no designer got paid.

Perhaps this was "legal", but what are you all railing against Berthold for, doing something illegal - call a cop!

No, you're accusing them of being legalistic and perhaps immoral - I haven't seen anyone claim they broke any laws.

I don't mean to support them, I understand that some people came off a lot worse off because of Berthold's practices. But a lot more people lost out due to Bitstream's practices, and those of other foundries (Agfa still selling Triumvirate, and licencing stuff like Book Antiqa and Segoe to Microsoft).

anonymous's picture

>Bitstream isn't in Berthold league, not by a long shot.
>Not to those of us who care about decency.

I agree, Berthold is a long way short of the diablocal actions of Bitstream. Berthold, allegedly, stole perhaps a couple of dozen designs - Bitstream stole thousands.

If it's not the point, then why is Dan Reynolds trying to defend Bitstream on the basis of what they did was legal!? Does he also not know what the point is?

anonymous's picture

>And this isn't about companies stealing fonts from each other...

It isn't? I thought the whole point of the thread was the accusations made that Berthold didn

anonymous's picture

>it is about bullying


anonymous's picture

>And I would like to know the answer to my two questions.

Then write a letter to Berthold in Illinois.

>And if they go unanswered, I'd like to know what
>people think the reason(s) for that might be.

Because they are no longer paying attention.

Because it

anonymous's picture

>1) That Berthold is not necessarily at fault here in any way...

I never wrote that. What I wrote was that if you want to criticise them do so for stealing the designs of others - don't do so for sending out cease and desist letters.

And if you're going to do it then take into account what others do - ie Bitstream and Agfa...

If you go back to the comments that started this thread you'll see that even Erik Spiekermann - who has more to complain about than most others here - said that Berthold are entitled to protect their trademarks.

>2) That the real intention of your posts are to bring
>closure and/or abandonment to an issue that you do not
>want to see discussed further (especially by Hrant).

Not at all, I just see no logic in demanding answers when it is reasonably clear that you won't get them. Additionally it's still not altogether clear to me *what* this thread is about.

It starts with Hunt responding to Spiekermann's allegations - someone (smart person) calls Spiekermann a liar (good move I think!). Some points are clarified, many are not. Read between the lines and you have the answers:

Berthold pays some of its "designers" - these are people who are engaged in revivals of their own work or extensions of the same. Berthold has no choice but to pay them because they wouldn't do the "new" work otherwise.

Therefore it is obvious that those that are not named are not getting paid - because the "spin control" would seek to neutralise all the criticism that it can. It can't, QED.

>Bouncer, I find it strange that you are so quick to forgive
>Berthold, yet you will demonize Bitsttream

I never forgave Berthold, nowhere in this thread. And what Bitstream did in terms of design theft was much worse than Berthold. It's easy.

>Even if they are guilty of piracy in the past, which
>I don't believe, they are certainly clean now.

What do you mean you don't believe!? Bitstream stole all of Linotype's designs, renamed them and sold them for years and years - there was no deal with Linotype that allowed them to do this.

Please, show us some evidence to back up your claim?

The reason all the names were changed was because otherwise it would infringe the trademark, the only protection available to Linotype in the USA. IE Bitstream relied on the law rather than ethics.

I believe you are confusing this issue with that of URW - which is similar, but quite different.

>At least I have the decency to post under my real name
>when I make controversial statements such as the ones above.

Great, you can use your "real name" to perpetuate lies, and I can't use a nick to tell the truth. Justice!

>Those storeis would show up here, too, and they haven't.

Yes, because this is the font of all knowledge.

anonymous's picture

>If they honoured the old contracts, one might be more
>inclined to believe that argument.

That's a very good point Erik, thank you.

anonymous's picture

I am new to this forum and must say I find that I don't think these photos are a good idea. How can I think about discussion when I have Hrant staring like a Biblical prophet waiting for his dinner?

The discussion here - so bitter and humourless. Why can't we have some discussion of the most funny lawsuit in type history? I'm sure some of you know about it. It's the one between two major type entities over Hrant himself. What makes it funny is that everybody agreed not to tell Hrant anything about it. Hasn't enough time passed to let this cat out of the bag?

Jared Benson's picture

Moderator's Note:

Please enjoy the new lo-carb version of this thread. We've cut the fat and sugar, and left the meat.

However if you enjoy your Typophile with bickering, name-calling and off-topic (ahem) ranting, refer to this uneditted PDF.

application/zipBerthold Thread (1621.1 k)

Miss Tiffany's picture


Trademark law also does not require that the infringer use the EXACT trademark. The US requires only that the mark be "confusingly similar" and looks at the facts and circumstances of the situation. Other jurisdictions (e.g. England) also do not require use of the EXACT trademark to find infringement.

I'm curious. Is this because those who wrote the law and "lawyers" in general don't see and haven't been educated to the differences? It assumes a lot to say that "typophiles" are probably alone in seeing the minute differences. Granted it also assumes a lot that they aren't alone. But isn't that where the law falls apart and fails us? They write a law but don't bother to see the possible differences? "What ARE typefaces ... who cares ... it is all Times, Arial and Verdana." It seems to me that this law needs some brushing off and cleaning up if something as simple as a few letters or a vague descriptor is giving people the right to go to court. What a waste of energy. I suppose I do understand wanting to protect what you worked to create. But with something like type ... word gets around ... most anyone who is going to license type and understands the investment they are making will shop around and ask around ... typophile is proof of that, we get questions all the time. Why would we suggest Signata if what they really want is Signa? The name, at the end of the day, is irrelevant to the person who will license the type. It is actually the design that counts the most. I have had clients ask me the difference between Times Roman and Times New Roman, I know that it is only typophiles that are interested.


On another similar note. I'm curious about contracts for use of their designs. In the world of design, and as I understand it, once a contract expires or if no contract is signed, the ownership of the artwork reverts (or is always) with the designer. Isn't this the same with typeface design? I'm referring to the GAG Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidlines ... According to the Fair Practices Act sections 359.350 (Definitions for ORS 359.350 to 359.365), 359.355 (Art work reproduction rights retained by artist unless expressly transferred; effect of federal copyright laws), 359.360 (Ownership of physical work of art remains with artist unless expressly transferred), 359.365 (Ambiguity in agreement transferring right to reproduce art work resolved in favor of artist)

What I'm driving at, in my own inarticulate manner, is while a typeface name and design may be trademarked ... or is the design only copyrighted ... by a given foundry, shouldn't the design itself revert back to the originator of the design?


If you can trademark a word, but names are too ambiguous you must add a word that somehow makes it unequivocal, what is the difference from this to just adding a few letters?

If we look at the following examples, and I've stuck to the two foundries which have been discussed, maybe someone can explain these to me.

ITC Esprit, 1985 (which FontShop carries)
Sayer Esprit, ?

Signata, 1994
FF Signa

All different. Is it okay then for a foundry to work against itself? I'm sincere in my questions, for once I'm not trying to be cheeky.

Miss Tiffany's picture

I'll add that I'm in no way questioning the right to protect a typeface design.

anonymous's picture

A quick side note for Mr. Hunt: As far as I know, the various FontShops are actually independently owned/run businesses, so I don't think that what any individual FontShop is selling has anything to do with Spiekermann & Co.

From their "About FSI" page:

FSI (FontShop International), founded in 1990, is a renowned type foundry based in Berlin, Germany, with an office in San Francisco, USA.


FSI are Licensors of the FontShop concept. There are 6 independent FontShops in Europe, Australia, and USA.

That said, I'd love to hear you argue that the use of the word "city" in the name of a typeface is going to lead to consumer confusion. That's almost akin to trying to trademark "Greek" or "Type" or "Hand"! Perhaps you should simply make a crappy typeface (not that the original Berthold typefaces are crappy) for every potential generic font name soon-to-be in existence and put all future competitors out of business!

Or perhaps someone in the Typophile community should register the name "Berthold" for numerous types of products beyond the reach of your current trademarks, if for no other reason than to try to create some REAL customer confusion and give you a taste of your own medicine!

I guess I'm just wondering why you're in this business at all - there are so many other way to make much more significant amounts of money if you're willing to be as ruthless as you've demonstrated. Are you actually a typography enthusiastic to any degree?!?

Joe Pemberton's picture

In this corner we have ITC Orbon versus Bitstream Orbit!

Linotype's got Univers. They could sue ITC over University
Roman, but then ITC might just turn around and crack down on
URW for Roman Stylus. Then URW could go after ITC for using
Stylus, and then ITC could sue Bitstream for Bruce Old Style, just
to keep them on their toes.

Wait, I left out Humana. That's it. Bitstream, you sue ITC back for
that Bruce Old Style thing by holding up Humana in court
against your mighty Humanist! Nice one.

Now there's Elsner + Flake. They've got a lot of nerve using Rose
Garden and Rose Deco when it's clear that Agfa Monotype
has Rosewood. And how can Agfa get away with Davison
Americana when Bitstream has had American Typewriter for ever.

Good thing that old Omicron Delta was put in its place to protect
Jaeger Delta. And good thing Berthold cracked down on Signa in
order to protect Signata. Or was it the other way round?

Linotype, did you know you can sue Agfa? Yeah, your Shelley and
Shelley Script could easily take Agfa's puny Shelley Adante
Script. What are you waiting for? Millions of your customers are

Berthold has City. Good one. It's hard to believe there are
foundries out there with the nerve to sell Beijing, New York,
Orlando, Monaco, Chicago, Atlanta, London
and even Old
There's Paris from one foundry and Old Paris Nouveau
from another. There's Parisian and then there's Parisian and
don't forget Old Art Nouveau in case you want to cover
all the old and nouveau bases.

Which is which?! Sue everybody!

Dax vs. Dex vs. Dex Gothic

Estiennium vs. Etienne

Fago Office vs. Officina vs. Info Office vs. Info

Jannon vs. Janson (I bet he's rolling in his grave. Or probably
just rolling his eyes.)

Meta vs. Metallophile

Yanus vs. Janus

Ooh, I've got a good one. Picture this: Times vs. the whole times
cartel, Times New Roman, News Gothic, News Plantin, Plantin
and Plantain. (Which one is the plaintif?)

Stone vs. Stone Hinge vs. Manga Stone vs. Stone Age vs. Stone
And in the second round watch as Stone takes on Bedrock et al.

Fuse vs. Fusion

Recently my wife asked me to pick up some Corn Flakes and
then got upset when I came home with Frosted Flakes.

Of course nearly all of these are fictitious, in case anybody is
confused. I know it can be hard to tell the asinine examples
from the asinine examples.

Joe Pemberton's picture

So now that I've gotten the satire out...

What many lawyers and apparently the USPTO don't get is the
reason the fonts in the above post do not get confused is
because the fonts look completely different. We're not talking
about knock-off Kate Spade handbags or fake Swiss Army

Mr. Hunt, with all due respect, and with the humor aside. I hope
you'll see that people hold Berthold products in high esteem,
otherwise they would've stopped paying attention a long
time ago. If the Berthold fonts sucked we would've changed the
channel. Now is your chance to show that Berthold is worth
preserving for the craftsmanship of it, not petty font names.

Regardless of the technicalities of the law, regardless of your
ability to present a case in court and win, I hope you realize that
the nature of your lawsuits seem frivolous to those familiar
with the profusion of similar font names. That's the business
you bought in to.

I think it's safe to assume that you started this thread in order to
clear the Berthold name. I realize nobody is on trial in this
thread. There's no judge or jury here. But what is at stake is the
collective perception of the Berhold name.

If it's true that a brand is nothing more than a collection of
perceptions in your customers' minds... And obviously you value
the Berthold name or you wouldn't desire to protect it by setting
some facts straight... If these are true I hope you can see that the
way to gain positive influence can't be gained in a court - and
certainly not with the heavy handedness you seem to have
shown over what appears to be trifling issues.

In court you have had some wins, but in the public mind you
look like the playground bully. The branding lesson here is that
whether you are a bully or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is
what your customers think, and to a large degree what you do
next, because, whether you like the attention or not, people are
paying attention. Given the respect people have for Berthold
products I think it's safe to assume they don't want to see
Berthold fail. Let Berthold succeed by being innovative or
intelligent or creative or hard working or quick to market or...
pick an attribute people can believe in.

I didn't really intend to write an op-ed piece. I'm not privvy to
whatever litigation has happened. Frankly I don't really care who
said what - and that's kind of my point. When it comes to your
branding issue - where brand equals reputation - those details
matter less than the perceptions you create by seeming to wield
an iron fist or by seeming to letting your counsel speak for you.
Or by sending letters over light-weight issues.

I hope you'll take this in the spirit it's intended: with respect for
the heritage you entrust, the designers you employ and with
hopes for a better future for Berthold.

hrant's picture

Thank you for telling us your side of the story.

Two questions, if I may:

1) You cited 5 designers with whom you have a valid business relationship. How many designers total are represented in your library? How would you describe the relationship with them?

2) "Berthold Types has filed only twelve lawsuits". May we please know how many "cease and desist" and other what might be informally called "pre-lawsuit" letters you have sent out? I think this is significant because -as anybody knows- a confrontational letter (especially when directed to individuals with modest or non-existent legal resources) can have nearly the same effect as a lawsuit.

I ask these question only in the interest of full disclusure (some of us simply enjoy knowing), not as a potential basis for persecution. I don't have a lawyer, btw. But I am from Beirut.


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