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ITC sues Monotype

In October 1996, David Lemon provides the history: Like many traditional type companies, Monotype had a number of "similar-to" or analogue designs in their library, dating from the years when type was tied to a specific platform, and each hardware company had to offer the popular designs in order to keep their hardware business viable. However, when they entered the cross-platform world of digital type, Monotype stopped this design plagiarism for a while and focussed on their great collection of classic designs. After a time, it seems that Linotype's dominance of the PostScript market (due to a more extensive library and to jumping onto the PostScript bandwagon much earlier, as well as owning part of the printer font set) was too threatening, and they decided they had to have core-font equivalents. The precedent, Times New Roman PS, was easy to justify. When Monotype came out with their first PostScript imagesetter, they were offended at the idea of having Linotype's Times in the RIP, considering Times originated with Monotype. They prepared a modified version of the original Times New Roman in which the glyphs were fitted onto the widths used in the 12-point Times of the LaserWriter set. I did the Type 1 production for the ROM font. Several years later, things got more serious, and Monotype created Arial. I've been told that the decision to make this an analogue of Helvetica was a late decision by new upper management, but others are certain the direction was there before that change transpired. Monotype had definitely returned to the slipperly slope, and continued with Z-Antiqua. Not much later Monotype became bedfellow with Microsoft, which was developing a PostScript clone (later scuddled) and had licensed TrueType. The motivation on Monotype's part is easy to understand; not only did TrueType offer the possibility of recovering from their belated adoption of PostScript, but Monotype was on extremely thin ice financially, and needed a large cash infusion to keep their heads above water. The Microsoft motivation stemmed from their business model, which involves never paying royalties. The core set consists of designs trademarked by ITC and Linotype (except for Courier, which is public domain, and Symbol, an un-trademarked Adobe design partly based on Times). ITC and Linotype will consider any serious offer about royalties, but "none" isn't in their vocabularies. When Microsoft released the Monotype analogues, ITC sued Monotype for breach of contract. The standard contract signed by companies which licensed ITC designs (which included Monotype) stipulated that the companies would not sell "similar" designs into the same markets. Thus the case turned on the question of whether the Monotype analogues were too similar to the ITC designs (Avant Garde Gothic, Bookman, New Century Schoolbook, Zapf Chancery and Zapf Dingbats). Although it's clear that the Monotype fonts weren't outright clones (harder to say in the case of Book Antiqua) I was surprised that Monotype found a fellow at Reading who was willing to testify they were not similar, and the court bought it. Personally, I'm still a bit bewildered about how Corsiva just happens to be swashed in the same way as Zapf Chancery... I'd speculate that the broken relations between ITC and Monotype, which remains a major font-seller, were one of the factors that pushed ITC into rethinking its model of subsisting on font license fees and royalties, and into trying its hand at selling fonts directly. Ira Mirochnik, president of Monotype in the late 1990s, explains://web.mit.edu/jmorzins/www/typetalk.html">here: As an ITC subscriber, ITC felt that Monotype should not be able to produce a set of typefaces which were competitive (functional equivalent) with the 10 ITC typefaces which were in the LaserWriter 35 collection. ITC never really claimed that the Monotype's new typefaces were ripoffs, they just claimed that we could not do what we had done. These typefaces were very important to ITC and they were interested in protecting their market. Monotype, on the other hand, was interested in addressing the needs of Microsoft and the Windows market for an alternative set to the existing standard typefaces. The dispute, in simple terms was primarily centered around anything in the subscriber agreement which Monotype may have voilated. ITC was making claims in the marketplace that Monotype had violated the agreement. Monotype was of the belief that it had not violated the agreement. Monotype decided to ask the Federal District Court for a declaratory judgement that it had not violated its agreement with ITC, as it felt that the issue was hurting its marketing efforts. The legal battle culminated with a trial. At the conclusion of the trial, the district court ruled that Monotype had not violated its agreement with ITC. In the end, Monotype and ITC have continued to work together very well and the whole issue is far behind us.

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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