Typography legal question?

New Here ,
Dec 27, 2009 Dec 27, 2009

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I am working a logo for someone and their site is based on a current popular video game.

The title of their site has the video games title in it and I have worked up a font that resembles very closely the games font, but is in fact created by me.

I am hoping someone here might know the legal ins and outs of doing such a thing?

Is it still risking copyright infringement if the font resembles but is not that of another company?

And otherwise, how far must one change their font before it is then free and clear to be used in this manner?

Thanks for your help!

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Enthusiast ,
Dec 28, 2009 Dec 28, 2009

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You're seeking legal advice, and for that you are best off talking to a lawyer. I'm not a lawyer, and don't even play one on TV. I can recommend some good lawyers who specialize in this general area, notably Frank Martinez (http://www.martinezgroup.com).

My lay understanding of these things is that the answer depends on several things, including what legal jurisdiction you're in, the vintage of the original typeface, and what legal protections were sought for it in the first place. For example, in the USA, the abstract design of a typeface is only protected if a design patent is obtained. Because of the costs involved, very few typefaces have such protection (as far as I know Adobe is the only foundry to routinely do so, and only in the past 15 years). European countries may often offer greater protection to the abstract design of a typeface, however.

The actual digital font files are regarded as subject to copyright in the US and apparently in many other countries. But if you didn't start with somebody else's digital file, I imagine you'd be safe on that score.

See also: http://blogs.adobe.com/typblography/2006/01/legal_protectio.html

Now, there's a separate question in my mind about getting too close to the appearance of the trademarked logo of the video game... but you haven't really told us enough for anybody to tell if that could be an issue.

Regards,

T

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