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Foundry initials before font name

I've noticed foundries like Büro Destruct, Cape Arcona and dozens more are putting there initials before the font name (BD Aubergin, BD Roylac, CA Aircona, CA Spy Royal), is that to avoid trademarking every font name? According to MyFonts Büro Destruct does have some of there names trademarked, but not all and Cape Arcona doesn't have any. If it's not to avoid trademarking why do it?

I also remember ITC, Monotype and Letraset putting there initials at the end of font names, is that for the same reason?

Does it annoy the users that the fonts alphabetize under the foundry name rather than the font name?


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    Thanks Mark,
    I do agree that it would be better to put the initials at the end, because it does usually annoy me when I can't remember the foundry who made the font. Though it does help with the search bar now.

    Do you have any idea if the initials are enough to stop a trademark conflict? If I named a font Michael MW, is that enough to stop someone with a trademark on Michael from coming after me?

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    Do you have any idea if the initials are enough to stop a trademark conflict? If I named a font Michael MW, is that enough to stop someone with a trademark on Michael from coming after me?
    First, remember that the lawsuit does not have to be probably winnable, or even at all winnable, for somebody to choose to file it. When the stakes are relatively low, if one party has not enough money, no matter who “wins,” they always lose.

    I don’t feel comfortable giving any other real advice on this—that is what a lawyer is for. But *I* sure wouldn’t name my font the same as a trademarked font name, plus a space and a couple of initials after it.
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    As for trademark protection, if there is a trademark on ITC, sure, it (ought to) prevent another company from calling any of their fonts ITC Something-or-other. But ITC doesn’t trademark the entire name, somebody else could presumably sell their font as Something-or-other.
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    Thanks Thomas,


    Do you have any idea if the initials are enough to stop a trademark conflict? If I named a font Michael MW, is that enough to stop someone with a trademark on Michael from coming after me?
    But *I* sure wouldn’t name my font the same as a trademarked font name, plus a space and a couple of initials after it.

    I would never release a font with a name that was already in use whether it is trademarked or not. But twice I have found a font being sold with the same name as one I had sold for years. Luckily, for me, both the foundries were no longer around when I found them so I didn't have to deal with the issue. I was just wondering if the initials would help any possible future conflicts if someone trademarked a name that I had already been using.


    Do you have any idea if the initials are enough to stop a trademark conflict? If I named a font Michael MW, is that enough to stop someone with a trademark on Michael from coming after me?
    I don’t feel comfortable giving any other real advice on this—that is what a lawyer is for.
    I know that any advice I get on this forum isn't real legal advice, I just appreciate the opinions and advice from people with way more experience and knowledge then me, which both you and Mark have.




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    Sure, I will be more explicit, albeit as a NON-LAWYER who is not a trademark expert, and is not offering legal advice, I would not expect that appending (or prepending) a foundry name or foundry initials would prevent an otherwise identical font name from infringing. If some other foundry has a valid trademark on “Glurbish” as a font name, a Glurbish MT or Adobe Glurbish would presumably infringe.

    (Of course, with a name like “Phinney Garamond” I would expect to be safe because there have been countless fonts with Garamond in the name, from different foundries, all using the 16th-century “Garamond” typefounders’ name which is not in and of itself subject to trademark, at least not for a font. I could trademark “Phinney Garamond” as a combined name, but nobody can trademark Garamond by itself, when used for a font. You could presumably get a trademark for a perfume or a car or something named “Garamond,” though.)

    Still, take it for what it is worth: a REALLY I AM NOT A LAWYER person commenting about what they THINK they know about legal stuff. But it is certainly worth at least what you paid for it....
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    Regarding the alphabetization issue, this is complicated by the fact that some applications (notably ones from Adobe) impose their own views of how things should be alphabetized, ignoring more common foundry names when it comes to alphabetizing.

    I'm perfectly happy when Adobe apps choose to alphabetize 'Adobe Garamond' as 'Garamond'. But It's confusing when Adobe apps alphabetize it under 'G' where other apps alphabetize it under 'A'. And this gets even worse for ITC fonts where, depending on where you obtained the font, a font might be named ITC XXX or XXX ITC, so in some cases Adobe and non-Adobe apps will behave the same way where in other cases they will not.

    However, I don't think there's any way to consistently deal with how to best alphabetize things. There are certain fonts where I view the foundry identifier as part of the font name and others where I view it purely as a modifier. For example, while I don't object to finding 'Adobe Garamond' alphabetised as 'Garamond', I find it weird that 'Adobe Text' is alphabetized as 'Text', text being such a generic term that I think of 'Adobe Text' as the name of the font rather than as a foundry name modifying a font name.


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    Thanks, again, Thomas. I guess I was clinging to the hope that the Garamond example would work with everything. Clearly it doesn't. If I'm concerned about protecting font names I will just have to break down and figure out the trademark route.

    Thanks for your comment André. I've never noticed any foundry names being ignored by Adobe apps other than Adobe, but I will certainly be on the lookout in the future. And it seems weird to me that ITC would alphabetize differently depending on where you obtained it from. I think for simplicity and consistency it's best if I leave any foundry modifier out of the name.

    Thanks everyone
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    You put your font foundry initial at the start so you can 'take' the in-use good font names without repercussions:
    PH Archer
    PH Proxima Nova
    PH Gotham

    I'm being sarcastic btw.


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    Our library is highly curated and slowly grown. We’ve released only 14 families in as many years. The foundry strengthens the brand of each typeface, and each typeface strengthens the brand of the foundry.

    At least in our case, it has nothing to do with vanity or trademarks.
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    In the late 80s/early 90s days of Type 1, I remember the suffixes LT, MT, and BE on the Type 1 fonts Adobe sold, and BT was the suffix for all Bitstream fonts. I’d bet money they originated both to facilitate trademarking and to prevent font name collisions inside OSes and applications. This kludgey precedent later metastasized into a branding gesture. Many smaller libraries did not use them.
    Adobe Garamond and Adobe Caslon were so named to avoid confusion with existing other Garamonds and Caslons—ITC and Berthold both had theirs—but Minion and Utopia were always those names, not “Adobe Minion” or “Adobe Utopia.”
    “MM” and “Pro” and “Std” and “OT” suffixes (guilty!) got really old really fast. I would not add them to any font built in 2023.
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    Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,146
    edited September 2023
    There weren’t a lot of indie foundries around in 1998 when I launched Shinntype, and it seemed to me that prefixing was only done if revivals were involved, to differentiate one foundry’s Garamond or Bodoni from another’s, so as my designs were original, I saw no need for it. Actually, I did have a Bodoni, but it was Bodoni Egyptian®, not a revival per se.
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    I predict not long from now, people might get tired of seeing “Variable” at the end of every other font name.
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    Well, we only need “Variable” in the name if/when we are shipping the same family in variable and non-variable versions. I hope this passes, but it is dependent on variable fonts being sufficiently well-supported.
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    Don't assume that a name that hasn't been used in many years is fair game for reuse. BNSF Railway recently forced an airline to change its name from Northern Pacific Airways even though Northern Pacific Railway was merged into BNSF predecessor Burlington Northern Railroad in 1970. Finally, Burlington Northern ultimately took over the Santa Fe Railway in 1996 to become BNSF Railway. A trademark which only appeared on some rusty old forgotten box cars for over 50 years still bit an airline in the butt.
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    Maybe an odd take, but for me personally I detest foundrys' marketing encroaching on "my" computer's font dropdowns. It only works as branding because the minority of fonts in a users font dropdown is prefixed. If all font names were prefixed we'd all be sick and tired of it, font people and regular users alike. So why, I ask myself, would you propagate this?
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    You can't escape it completely. Font names are almost always chosen with marketing in mind.
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    jeremy tribbyjeremy tribby Posts: 217
    edited September 2023
    there is at least one practical reason to do it, unrelated to branding: if your font names contains anything but basic latin. application menus really don’t sort fonts consistently if there is for example an /é somewhere early in the name - I’m having to think about the pros and cons of this regarding the title of a font I’m working on. 
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    I can't speak for myself, but I use my Microsoft font vendor code (IDMS) in front of any of my commissioned fonts.  That way my Shenandoah Clarendon font stands out from my IDMS Voices Clarendon and I can contact my client and let him know that the font got out into the wild.  Otherwise I really don't bother with it; it kinda ruins the fun with naming fonts otherwise.
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    Maybe I’m an odd graphic designer but I like the foundry initials or name in front and wish it also grouped them in my Adobe menus as I can often recall the foundry name but not the typeface haha 
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    Thanks for all the comments everyone, you've been very helpful. Except for you Paul (I'm being sarcastic btw). :D

    It's good to hear why people like it and don't like it, and why they do it and don't do it. I guess it mostly comes down to my personal preference. While I do really like the idea of adding the foundry suffix for marketing, it does annoy me that it affects the alphabetizing, and if everyone did it it would drive me completely crazy. If I do end up adding my initials I think I would add them to the end. But who knows how I'll feel about it all when I actually start releasing fonts again.
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