Court

THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BAD PUBLICITY, RIGHT? WRONG!

If you think font license infringement lawsuits are folklore, think again – they are more common than you think. The majority of font licensing infringements are settled well before they make it to court in order to avoid negative publicity and additional costs.

No advertising agency or brand likes bad press. The optics of being accused of infringing on someone else’s intellectual property can be unsavory and damage your reputation.

The cases shown here are some that made it to court (and the press).

Don’t let this happen to your business. These cases were preventable. Font Shield will help you gain control over your font licensing and usage. Our customized font governance program will help your company achieve font licensing compliance. 

iStock-1084067932_edited_edited_edited.jpg

FONT DINER vs HARIBO


NOVEMBER 2017 Damages Sought: $150,000 Final status of complaint: Currently being litigated According to the article, confectioner Haribo of America allegedly used Font Diner’s Stovetop typeface on packaging for “Haribo Trick or Treat Mix” sweets. A basic desktop license was purchased by Haribo’s design firm, but the necessary license upgrade for commercial, for-profit use wasn’t. See article: http://bit.ly/2AHbIKQ




BERTHOLD vs TARGET


OCTOBER 2017 Damages Sought: up to $150,000 per infringement

Final status of complaint: Currently being litigated
According to the article, Target allegedly used Berthold Type Group’s Akzidenz Grotesk font in a promotional video which violated the licensing agreement. The font originally was only licensed by Target for internal business purposes only.
See article: http://bit.ly/2zrGB5j




BERTHOLD vs VOLVO


JUNE 2017 Damages Sought: up to $30,000 per day

Final status of complaint: Unknown
According to the article, Berthold alleges that Volvo used Berthold’s typeface and typeface software without permission. According to the complaint, the plaintiffs further allege the defendants created the typeface “Volvo Sans 2012 OT Pro”, which was derived from the plaintiffs’ typeface software under copyright.
See article: https://bit.ly/2M9PkfD




HYPEFORTYPE vs UNIVERSAL MUSIC STUDIOS


AUGUST 2017 Damages sought: $1.25 Million + destruction of existing materials and merchandise
Final status of complaint: Unknown According to the article, HypeForType alleges Universal Music Studios used their Nanami Rounded and Ebisu Bold fonts in the logo of British band “The Vamps” and created artwork, promo materials and merchandise without obtaining licensing. While Designer Stuart Hardie did purchase a basic license in 2013, Universal did not purchase the additional license upgrade to use the fonts on a commercial scale.
See article: http://bit.ly/2u8GvgQ




FONT BROS. vs HASBRO (MY LITTLE PONY)


JANUARY 2016 Damages Sought: $150,000 per infringement Final status of complaint: Currently being litigated in court According to the article, it is alleged that Hasbro used Font Bros’ Generation B font to create My Little Pony toys, videos, advertising materials and website without obtaining/purchasing licensing. It is also alleged that Hasbro created unauthorized copies of the Generation B Font Software and distributed them to their third party vendors.
See article: https://bit.ly/2W299wf




HOUSE INDUSTRIES vs NBC UNIVERSAL


JULY 2012 Damages sought: $3.5 Million
Final status of complaint: Settled According to the article, Brand Design alleged NBCU subsidiary Oxygen Media purchased a basic, 36-user license to use the CHALET font. However, Brand Design says the licensing agreement did not permit the use of the copyrighted font software on NBCU’s websites. NBCU is accused of using a free font software conversion utility to convert the font into a format allowing it to be embedded into websites. This purportedly violates licensing terms on modification. See article: https://bit.ly/3aXSv5a




P22 vs NBC UNIVERSAL (HARRY POTTER)


JANUARY 2012 Damages sought: $1.5 Million + destruction of all relevant merchandise
Final status of complaint: Settled P22 alleged that their Cezanne font was used by NBC Universal and some of their manufacturers to create various Harry Potter themed souvenirs sold at Universal theme parks and through their web site. It is also alleged that some of the manufacturers did not even purchase a basic license or any additional licensing required to create and sell commercial products.
See article: https://bit.ly/2SyNKsz




TYPOTHEQUE vs RAISE DIGITAL (RICK SANTORUM CAMPAIGN)


AUGUST 2011 Damages sought: $2 Million
Final status of complaint: Unknown Font Foundry Typotheque asserted that Raise Digital had no license to use their “Fedra” font. They also claim they modified the same unlicensed “Fedra” font software in order to use it on Rick Santorum’s website – a further licensing violation. See article: https://bit.ly/2VEviTV




FONT BUREAU vs NBC


OCTOBER 2009 Damages sought: $2 Million
Final status of complaint: Unknown According to the article, Font Bureau alleged NBC used three of Font Bureau’s fonts to produce network and show promos on TV and the web. These fonts were only licensed for a single workstation but were used on multiple computers. Font Bureau also alleged NBC distributed several copies of the same fonts to third parties outside of NBC.
See article: https://bit.ly/2z4yTix