Quick question about naming copyright

I want to name a new font "Regata Sans", the font "Regata" already exists by Paratype, and "Regatta" also exists.

So is it "legal" to name it adding a "Sans"?

Thank you.


  • No.
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 773
    edited February 2016
    Fer: Naming has nothing to do with copyrigth. Naming is about "trademark".

    Many names are used but not trademarked, so you must do trademark searches in trademark databases. the one from the us being the most commonly used one.

    On ocations it may be legal to reuse another font name, but you may still want to avoid it in order to avoid confussion. And by using a new and different name instead, you can benefit from better search results.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,356
    edited February 2016
    Names are not subject copyrights, unless you live in Komongistan

    Names are subject to trademarks. Similar to copyrights, trademarks are 'automatic' and can also be 'registered' with a state to make that state multiply the strength of the monopoly right. The purpose of trademark monopolies is to prevent customers being confused about the origins of commodities; if you buy a leather handbag with 'gucci' written all over it, you can reasonably assume that it was made by the Gucci company, and not-Gucci companies making bags with that name all over the bag are deceiving customers (well, maybe in reality no customer is fooled by a $20 bag bought on the sidewalk, maybe the customer's acquaintances ;)

    So, if you publish a typeface called "Helvetica Serif" then will (potential) customers believe it is made by, or authorised by, the owner of the trademark "Helvetica"? Might they be confused? 

    It is the confusion of the public that trademark law seeks to prevent, and you have to decide for yourself if what you are doing is potentially confusing. 

    Unlike copyrights, trademarks and other grants of monopoly by states, a trademark must be enforced to remain; the biggest companies can lose their trademarks if they become generic terms for the kind of commodity the trademark is an instance of. Hoovering for vacuum cleaning, heroin for opioid painkillers, photoshopping for digital image manipulation (haha not really, or at least not yet ;) There's a long list.

    But I don't see a single typeface trademark there, and so if you do use a name that is confusing like the name some company has a trademark claim on - even inadvertently - then you can expect a prompt letter from their lawyer telling you to change the name or face a lawsuit.

    For example, "Apple Sans" would probably not be a good idea, even if the bowls look like apples. 

    However, if Apple was not in the fonts/software business, then they couldn't complain; well, they would, of course, haha :) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Corps_v_Apple_Computer

    So that's the legal fun and games. There's also the moral side, which is a separate kettle of fish. If someone did this to you, how would you feel? Best to treat others the way you wish to be treated... :)
  • Thanks for the comments, got it, learning as I go! Sorry
  • How about Henley or some variation thereof as a name?
  • Hin-Tak LeungHin-Tak Leung Posts: 359
    edited February 2016
    @Dave Crossland : I like to know which drug lord trademarked "heroin" - or is that a pharmaceutical company!? :)

    Edit: oh, it is a pharmaceutical company - before the term carries negative connotations...
  • In the European Author Rights law there is a concept called “anteriority”. If an Author can prove and document she/he gave a certain name first to a font, he can claim legal protection against you in his country.
    What said apply to individual artists/authors, not to companies who should register their names.

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