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Bertholdgate I: Die selbsternannten Rechtsnachfolger der Aktiengesellschaft H. Berthold AG

German language article by Ulrich Stiehl regarding the question: Who is the legal successor of H. Berthold AG? And a damning indictment of the Hunts who run Berthold Types in Chicago. The main dates in this sad case, beautifully researched by Stiehl:

  • 1858: Hermann Berthold (1831-1904) founds the company in Berlin.
  • 1896: The company becomes Aktiengesellschaft H. Berthold AG.
  • 1896-1960s: The company operates from Berlin and Stuttgart under the name H. Berthold AG Schriftgiesserei und Messelinienfabrik.
  • 1960s-1993: The company uses the name H. Berthold AG.
  • 1993: H. Berthold AG files for bankruptcy. Its main business at that point was the sale of phototypesetting machines, not fonts, and that business had come to a standstill. The 1800 fonts at the time of the bankruptcy are all listed in Stiehl's document.
  • 1993: The bankrupt company had incredible debts, and no one was interested in taking over those debts. So, the bankruptcy court in Berlin decided to liquidate the company. There is no legal successor (Rechtsnachfolger). For a period of 30 years after 1993, any legal successor would have to take care of the debts.
  • 1994-now: Several companies stake out claims of being legal successors or at least copyright owners of Berthold fonts:
    • Softmaker GmbH in Nürnberg, owned by Martin Kotulla. His 59 Euro CD with 10,000 fonts (the best buy in the business) has over 1,000 of Berthold's 1,800 fonts. The names were changed. Softmaker claims to have copyright to these fonts.
    • Berthold Types Limited, Chicago, owned by Harvey and Melissa Hunt: The CD "Exklusiv Collection" has 800 of the 1,800 Berthold fonts but costs 6350 Euros. This outfit uses the old Berthold names. Incredibly, Berthold Types claims to have the copyright, and states that it is the legal successor of H. Berthold AG. (How can this be, if they never assumed the debts?) To complicxate matters, the company started calling itself Berthold Direct Corp in 2005.
    • Franzis Verlag GmbH, owned by Werner Mützel and others: The CD "1800 Profischriften für Windows" (16 Euros, 4 Euros on Ebay) has 1,800 fonts, of which 1,200 (renamed, though) are from the Berthold collection. Franzis claims to have copyright to these fonts. Note: these fonts are qualitywise indistinguishable from the Berthold Types collection.
    • FontStuff Ltd, London, or Bertlib Corporation, a post office box company which started up a font business on the web in 2005 based on the old Berthold collection. Just as Berthold Types Limited, they say that they are the legal successors of H. Berthold AG, and that the copyright is theirs. The web site disappeared at the end of 2005 though. Stiehl belives that the company was a front for Klaus-Dieter Bartel's "Babylon Schrift Kontor" (a defunct foundry). Bartel died recently.
As an example, Stiehl compares the copyright lines of several Akzidenz Grotesk styles, starting with H. Berthold AG's own Akzidenz Grotesk Buch (copyright H. Berthold AG, 1992). This was followed by Agba by Franzis (copyright ClassicFontCorporation, 1993), AG Book by Berthold Types (copyright Berthold LLC, 1997 and 2001), Atkins by Softmaker (copyright Softmaker Software GmbH, 2002), Gothic 725 (Bitstream), Ancona (Infinitype), A750 Sans Schoolbook (Softmaker), and Europa-Grotesk by Bertlib (copyright BERTLib Corporation, 2004). Stiehl then notes that the quality of the cheapest collection (Franzis) is just like that of Berthold Types Limited, Chicago. He observes that Berthold Types does not have an office in Germany--for otherwise they could be in legal trouble for misleading web visitors into thinking that they are the legal owners of the Berthold collection. I quote from them: Berthold Types is the legal successor to H. Berthold AG, the highly regarded German type foundry. Stiehl produces a document signed by Dr. Susanne Teipel from an attorney's office (Schwabe Sandmair Marx) in München (representing Berthold Types) in which the following official statement is made: Berthold Types is the legal successor to H. Berthold AG. Stiehl believes that this alone could spell serious trouble in Germany for both that law firm and Berthold Types. Development in 2008: Berthold fonts are now sold through Linotype/Monotype.

EXTERNAL LINKS
Bertholdgate I: Die selbsternannten Rechtsnachfolger der Aktiengesellschaft H. Berthold AG
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INTERNAL LINKS
David and Goliath ⦿ Akzidenz Grotesk ⦿ German type scene ⦿








file name: Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk Poster by Amin Qutteineh 2014


file name: Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk Poster by Natasha Zraikat 2014


file name: Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk Poster by Natasha Zraikat 2014b


file name: Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk Poster by Natasha Zraikat 2014c


file name: Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk Poster by Andrea Canelo 2016


file name: Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk Cond 2007


file name: Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk Next Black 2007


file name: Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk Next Cond 2007b


file name: Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk Next Cond Extra Bold 2007


file name: Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk Next Med 2007


file name: Bitstream Gothic725 1990 after G G Lange







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