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Typeface copyright decision in UK High Court

A Cambridge software publisher has lost its fight in the English High Court against the owner of a major library of fonts, having been accused of infringing the library’s copyright in a number of different fonts by selling copies in its own font collections.27 Sep 2001

GreenStreet Technologies was sued in the High Court of Justice by Linotype Library and its parent company Heidelberger Druckmaschinen. Linotype argued that GreenStreet was infringing the copyright of the design of four typeface families from the Linotype Library, entitled Arcadia, Duc de Berry, Herculanum and Neue Helvetica.

Linotype's claim was based on the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988. On 24th July Mr Justice Etherton issued an order against GreenStreet, demanding that it must not commit any further infringements and that it must deliver up and destroy all infringing materials and provide Linotype with a comprehensive list of all parties from whom the fonts were obtained and to whom they were sold. The issue of damages continues to be pursued.

Linotype had earlier purchased samples of four of GreenStreet products - 100 Fonts True Type, 500 Fantastic Fonts, 1000 Professional Fonts and 2000 Fonts Collection to gain its evidence against the company. Linotype considered a total of 122 fonts to infringe its intellectual property rights, prompting its court action against the publisher.

In a statement issued yesterday, Bruno Steinert, general manager of Linotype Library said:

“This judgement against [GreenStreet] marks an important stage of our fight against font piracy that is rife among low-cost consumer aimed software products around the world. The UK is a prime market for high quality fonts and this High Court order supporting our claim for copyright, particularly in respect of Neue Helvetica, is a milestone achievement for the whole type industry. Our policy of pursuing whatever means available to assert our legal rights is paying off and will continue.”