All about Fonts

Open type

OpenType is a cross-platform font file format developed by Adobe and Microsoft. Adobe has converted the entire Adobe Type Library into this format and now offers thousands of OpenType fonts. Open type font has two main benefits. The way it is developed makes it compatible with Macintosh and Windows computers.  It is also able to support widely expanded character sets and layout features, which provide richer linguistic support and advanced typographic control. 
Postscript is a programming language that describes the appearance of a printed page. It was developed by Adobe in 1985 and has become an industry standard for printing and imaging.

There are generally two main components to PostScript typefaces. The first file contains the actual PostScript typeface itself and is often called the “binary” or “printer” file. The second file contains the typeface’s complete name, the spacing characteristics, and information to help the computer display the typeface on the screen and for printing the font. Both files must be submitted.

True Font

True Type Font isa file extension for a font file developed by Apple. TTF stands for True Type Font. TTF files are currently used by both Apple and Microsoft as a raster font format. The ability to view or use TTF files is embedded into Apple and Microsoft operating systems.Truetype fonts only require one file to be submitted but a separate file needs to be submitted for each instance of the font. For example, a different file is needed for normal, bold, italic, bold italic. TrueType typefaces are generally used in business office and can be less reliable for publishing applications.

The computer should not have both a TrueType and a PostScript version of the same typeface installed at the same time. It is better to remove the TrueType versions and force the Macintosh to use the PostScript versions. This will help to avoid character and line spacing problems.

Type’s Dismal Copyright History

In past years it was almost impossible for companies to file an application to register  copyright for their products. Severalcompanies had filed and lost. Today companies can protect their products by trademarking them or by copyright. Fonts though are denied registration because they contained no creative authorship.

In 1988 policy statement, the Copyright Office went one step further, making the distinction between the computer program that created the font and the actual typeface itself. A computer program, it said, could be registered even if the thing it creates could not. But in order to register such a program, the copyright application must specifically disclaim any copyright in the fonts created by the program. (Of course, if you’re using an off-the-shelf program like Adobe Fontographer, the software company already holds the copyright in the product.)

In 1992, the Copyright Office issued another policy statement reiterating its position that the computer programs used to create fonts were protected but the typefaces weren’t. The Office concluded, however, that the disclaimer requirement was “too burdensome” and announced that it was no longer required in type-program copyright applications. Click Here

Looking to Patents and Trademarks

Patent law is more promising. Design patents are available for ornamental designs embodied in a manufactured article. Although design patents are traditionally granted for industrial designs like furniture, hundreds of typeface design patents have been issued. While typeface patents can take a long time to come through, the process isn’t as difficult or expensive as the process for utility patents (for inventions). Designers were concerned, however, that the same problems of originality and creativity for copyrighting typefaces could affect the validity of design patents.

In 1995, Adobe Systems sued Southern Software, better known as Softkey, for copyright infringement of Adobe’s Fontmonger and Fontographer software when Softkey created a new font collection called Key Fonts Pro. Adobe claimed that Softkey began selling font packages that were essentially manipulations of typefaces included with the programs. Softkey argued that no creative authorship was involved in the creation of fonts, claiming that all it had really done was to manipulate an unprotected font image to create another slightly different (but still unprotected) font image.

Adobe also sued Softkey for infringing design patents Adobe had obtained on some of its fonts included in Fontographer and Fontmonger. Softkey claimed that design patents for typefaces were invalid because they didn’t meet the statutory requirements of originality and ornamentality in a manufactured article. This is a similar argument to what the Copyright Office claimed in its 1988 and 1992 policy statements. But Adobe prevailed and the lower court found that typefaces are appropriately covered by design patents. To get More information Click Here

Protecting Your Fonts

So where are we now? What should you do if you want to try to protect a typeface design? Some things are clear. You still can’t get copyright protection for the typeface itself, but you can secure protection for the computer program that creates fonts—if it’s an original program you created yourself.

You can obtain design-patent protection for your typeface if it meets the following criteria:

  1. The typeface wasn’t generally known or accessible to the public for more than one year prior to filing your application. This means that if you or your client have been using a font that you designed for years, it won’t be eligible for patent protection; it has to be newly created.
  2. The font wasn’t used or described in a printed publication in any country at all during the year prior to filing. So even if it hasn’t been made public, it will still be ineligible if it appeared in print anywhere in the world.
  3. The face isn’t registered as a design patent or industrial design in a foreign country.
  4. The font must be completely new—it can’t be an obvious variation of another design.n

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s