Are foundry initials an inherent part of a type family name?

Suppose foundry XYX released a type family XYZ Abc. Is 'Abc' now considered to be 'taken'? Can I still release my own font under the name 'Abc'?
I get it that sometimes an aged font is being digitized by more than one party and the individual renditions get the initials or the whole foundry name attached. But it appears some of the foundries just stick its name to all of their products for whatever reasons. My thinking then is, " 'Abc' is a cool font name, so since you guys decided to christen your baby 'XYZ Abc', I'm gonna grab the pure pristine 'Abc' for myself". (Btw, it looks kind of like a surname and a given name positioned in Japanese or Hungarian tradition :))
What are your thoughts?

Comments

  • Suppose foundry XYX released a type family XYZ Abc. Is 'Abc' now considered to be 'taken'?
    tldr; Yes.

  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 88
    edited December 2
    In some cases, it feels like they ate the cake and have the cake. My question was purely theoritical, anyway. Just something bothering me for a longer time.
  • In cases of revivals I understand the need to differentiate between different releases of similar design or namesake. When some foundries do this as a matter of principle for all their releases then this kind of blunt force marketing seems so off-putting to me, personally. Some grocery chains have their own line of low budget bulk products under their own in-house brand... it feels like that.
  • Suppose foundry XYX released a type family XYZ Abc. Is 'Abc' now considered to be 'taken'?
    tldr; Yes.

    That's a bit general, no? Monotype claims the trademark on "Monotype Scotch" and "Scotch Roman MT", but claiming the trademark on "Scotch" alone would be tricky. Nick Shinn released Scotch Modern and claims a trademark on that combination, but, again, not on the word "Scotch". 

    All kinds of common words, e.g. "Commercial", aren't trademarked, so you have Commercial Script and Basic Commercial. 

    Trademark law doesn't work by the "tldr yes" principle. You cannot freely register common words, personal names or names of places as trademarks, and while you can claim them, this can be disputed. If the trademark is a neologism, then it's easier of course. 
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 920
    edited December 4
    Jackson Cavanaugh said:
    But starting with legal technicalities to justify your not original idea will quickly turn you into the asshole.
    Agreed. On the other hand being a gollum about one's work (especially when it's an unoriginal design with merely an original name) does the same.

    The golden-rule starting point is Be Reasonable.
  • In cases of revivals I understand the need to differentiate between different releases of similar design or namesake. When some foundries do this as a matter of principle for all their releases then this kind of blunt force marketing seems so off-putting to me, personally. Some grocery chains have their own line of low budget bulk products under their own in-house brand... it feels like that.
    I like having a cluster of fonts of one foundry in the font menu.
    Just a matter of sorting I thought.
  • @Thierry Blancpain Did EvB ask Jeff Levine for permission?
  • There is also a practical point to it... having a unique name also helps when people search for your font, so even if it may be legal to use a similar name, it still better to use a unique one.
  • I had been using the name ‘Monument Grotesk’ online, in my portfolio, since 2008 or 2009. In 2014 someone released a font by that name, and so I ended up renaming my own retail release from 2016 to ‘Monumental Grotesk’. I felt screwed, but I had the choice to do the better thing and I did — names matter, but I’m not getting into a conflict if I can avoid it.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 653
    Also, in the U.S., you can become subject to the judgment of a USPTO trademark examining attorney who has to approve a registration.

    In 2012, when Carter & Cone and Font Bureau submitted to register Matthew Carter’s “Postoni” — the name of the custom Bodoni-esque headline fonts that the Washington Post had been using since 1997— the USPTO rejected the application on the grounds that the name was too similar to Adobe’s registered trademark for Postino.

    So, for retail release, the family was rechristened as Stilson.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 991
    the family was rechristened as Stilson
    for the wrench that was thrown into it?  ;-)

  • I think many of you will agree, though, that once you've decided on how to name your baby, according to how she is, feels, looks, and all, so that her name reflects her soul, is her guiding light; and you thereafter discover that someone bigger and older than you has already used that name for their own, far more perfect, usable, practical and soulless, though...
    The dissappointment.
    That's why sometimes picking a reasonable name, and making sure it's viable is so painstaking with some projects.

    Tl;dr: Just kidding, disregard. Ofc if the name is the most important part of the typeface, the typeface itself must be of little value.

    Btw, there was a thread recently mentioning that ITC wanted ITC Kabel sorted like 'Kabel' in lists. So again, have the cookie and eat it. Plus it makes some users unhappy.
    And as a database-savvy coder, I see having the foundry name included in the font name very not-2NF. I mean, this column ought to be computed if requested by a boolean flag set by the designers, to the horror of the word processing software developers.
  • Btw, there was a thread recently mentioning that ITC wanted ITC Kabel sorted like 'Kabel' in lists. So again, have the cookie and eat it. Plus it makes some users unhappy.

    Actually, that was me mentioning that I would prefer ITC Kabel sorted as Kabel. I have no idea what ITC would prefer (though IIRC, the version of Kabel from ITC is called ‘Kabel ITC’, whereas the one from Adobe is called ‘ITC Kabel’).

    Adobe apps still sort ‘ITC Kabel’ as ‘Kabel’, but they also sort ‘New York’ as ‘York’ — which illustrates the dangers with apps trying to impose their own rules on sorting — their internal rules might make sense in some cases (e.g. sorting ‘New Baskerville’ as ‘Baskerville’), but generally not in all cases.

    André
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