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LUC DEVROYE


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Legal Protection for Fonts

Thomas Phinney explains the legal protections fonts enjoy in the United States and offers two novel thoughts: (1) It would be interesting to see what the PTO would do if somebody tried to trademark the likeness of a font. After all, (as an example) the distinctive Disney word logo is a trademark, and I'd wonder whether a font which implemented the individual letters of that logo might be considered infringing. So why can't you trademark the distinctive likeness of a font the way you can a logo?, (2) I understand hand-lettering is protected by copyright. So if we hand-letter our designs prior to turning them into a digital font, would the digital font then be a derivative work from the hand-lettering? Wouldn't that mean that the abstract design of the font - as seen in the original hand-lettering - is protected? The article is legalistic in its approach, explaining laws and ways to apply laws to the advantage of font sellers. And it starts from the premise that intellectual property is a good thing.

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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