Ten years ago I published a typeface named Panoptica, a name derived from Bentham’s prison.
I didn’t register the name as a trademark (I don’t register all my typeface names, due to cost).
So it has just the common-law “™” protection, such as that is.
Panoptica is distributed by eight online distributors, and has appeared in several printed compendiums, such as Type Navigator and Creative Characters, so it is definitely “out there” professionally, despite not being very popular.
Now another foundry has published a typeface with a similar name, Panopticon, again derived from Bentham’s Panopticon.
This new typeface looks nothing like mine, although the design concept of diversity (from the Greek “pan-”) is the same.
Is this an issue?
What should I do, if anything?
If you have huge sacks of money that you're itching to get rid of, then by all means consider legal action. But if not, you'd do well to look the other way. I think sending a cease-and-desist letter would be mean-spirited in this case. I know if it came to me, I would spend a second or two looking at my hand, deciding which finger to show you. Let's just say it wouldn't be "thumbs up."
As the font climbed the charts, the others disappeared,
til there was nothing but it left to buy.
It got to number one, then into minus figures,
though nobody could understand why.
Alternatively, Genesis has a lot of strange names—name your next typeface after someone who lived 900+ years, for good luck.