TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Mon Jan 22 00:24:42 EST 2018






Berthold Types Limited

The link recalls the history of this new company owned by the Hunts in Chicago. They bought the trademarks and some outlines from the bankrupt Berthold Types GmbH, but are not the successors of that famous German company. Since its creation, Berthold Types Limited has been sending (frivolous) legal letters usually related to alleged trademark violations. The typophiles discuss the situation, which turns a lot around the issue of Berthold not paying the original designers, such as Albert Boton. Erik Spiekermann is particularly (and rightfully) upset about the situation. A partial list of the "victims":

  • Adobe (2001): This page explains: Berthold had given Adobe a non-exclusive right to include many of Berthold's typefaces in the Adobe Type Library, and to use Berthold's trademarks in connection with the Library, from 1990 through 2015. Adobe had proudly included the Berthold Library in its Adobe Type Library since 1991, only to remove the in 1999/2000. Berthold claimed that this violated the contract and sued. The judge dismissed the suit, stating that Adobec was not forced to include the Berthold typefaces.
  • On Nick Curtis' site, we found this cryptic message, June 2003: "Berthold Types threatens legal action, claiming "trademark infringement and dilution of our ... marks, counterfeiting, and unfair competition with Berthold Types under applicable law" because of the similarity of the names Boulevard and Boogaloo Boulevard [the latter is a font by Curtis], and City and City Slicker [the latter is a font by Curtis]. More news as things develop." Not only is this frivolous and ridiculous, but I can't understand how a reputed typographer like G. G. Lange can keep his name associated with the Berthold syndicate. More details.
  • Jamie Nazaroff from Zang-o-fonts has been marketing a typeface called Omicron Delta, created by him in 2001. He was contacted by Melissa Hunt (Vice President&General Counsel, Berthold Types Limited, 47 W. Polk St. #100-340, Chicago, Illinois 60605). She claims that Delta, designed by Gustav Jaeger, has been in the Berthold library since 1983, and asked him to remove the font, which Jamie did. The reaction by various type designers is documented in this page.
  • The (now extinct) German foundry PrimaFont. Press release by Berthold: "Chicago, Illinois (January 25, 2000) - As a result of legal action taken by Berthold Types Limited, PrimaFont International of Germany agreed to immediately cease the unauthorized sales of more than 300 Berthold typefaces from the PrimaFont CD-ROM, which also includes typefaces from other type foundries including Adobe, Agfa, Bauer Types, Bitstream, ITC, Letraset, Linotype and Monotype. PrimaFont infringed upon the trademark rights of Berthold Types by employing a "compatibility list" to identify the true names of the typefaces that PrimaFont sold using false names. Berthold Types actively seeks to prevent the use of compatibility lists as such use has gone unchecked in the type industry," stated Melissa Hunt, Vice President&General Counsel for Berthold Types. Adding: "The use of compatibility lists causes as much damage in the type industry as any other form of font piracy." This most recent success in Berthold Types' continued aggressive anti-piracy efforts means that PrimaFont must remove the Berthold typefaces from the PrimaFont CD-ROM. In addition, PrimaFont agreed never to sell or deal in any products that contain Berthold's typefaces and to pay Berthold an undisclosed sum."
  • This page discusses the case of Cape Arcona's fonts CA Cosmo-Pluto and CA Cosmo-Saturn, which Berthold did not like (they have a typeface called Cosmos). To avoid legal costs, Cape Arcona renamed its fonts CA-Cosmolab.
Things are unraveling in 2008: Berthold fonts are now sold by Linotype, and Melissa Hunt is rumored to be leaving Harvey Hunt. The news of Melissa's possible departure from the font scene prompted this response from Erik Spiekermann: As quite a few people here could testify, Melissa Hunt was very much a part of this business. I certainly have been at the receiving end of many documents written on behalf of her husband. I certainly hope she has quit the type business for good, as that may put an end to a lot of arbitrary legal actions that have cost a lot of us time, money and sleep. In 2011, Berthold Types as acquired by 2011, finally closing an ugly chapter in typographic history.

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Berthold Types Limited
David and Goliath ⦿ German type scene ⦿

Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html