W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > November 2008

IP in fonts

From: Thomas Phinney <tphinney@adobe.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2008 13:32:22 -0800
To: Brad Kemper <brkemper.comcast@gmail.com>, "robert@ocallahan.org" <robert@ocallahan.org>
CC: "Levantovsky, Vladimir" <Vladimir.Levantovsky@monotypeimaging.com>, Mikko Rantalainen <mikko.rantalainen@peda.net>, "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <6D096C8718FA4241B934489A5E1CE1420118E2DE6211@nambx04.corp.adobe.com>
Almost all the patent discussion has been relating to MTX.

Fonts in the US can be protected by *all three* of copyright, design patent, and trademark.

Although it is possible to register a design patent for a typeface, I believe that Adobe is the only type foundry that routinely does this.

It is my firm understanding that all original digital fonts in Type 1, TrueType or OpenType format are protected by copyright. (At Adobe, we register every font we produce with the US Copyright Office.)

Trademarks can protect the names of fonts, like any other product. (Again, at Adobe we routinely do this. Of our original typeface designs, we get trademark registrations for almost all of them.)



From: www-style-request@w3.org [mailto:www-style-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Brad Kemper
Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 1:12 PM
To: robert@ocallahan.org
Cc: Levantovsky, Vladimir; Mikko Rantalainen; www-style@w3.org
Subject: Re: CSS3 @font-face / EOT Fonts - new compromise proposal

I assumed that much of the talk about patent have to do with the fonts themselves, and not neccesarily MTX. Isn't it patent law, and not copyright, that protects fonts as IP in the US?

Sent from my iPhone

On Nov 12, 2008, at 12:48 PM, "Robert O'Callahan" <robert@ocallahan.org<mailto:robert@ocallahan.org>> wrote:
On Thu, Nov 13, 2008 at 6:10 AM, Levantovsky, Vladimir <Vladimir.Levantovsky@monotypeimaging.com<mailto:Vladimir.Levantovsky@monotypeimaging.com>> wrote:
And, when I am looking at the GPL license language, I do see that there
is obviously a provision there when modifying the Program to the point
where all major parts of the intended functionality (e.g. CSS/HTML
layout engine) are lost and only separate code fragments remain for
completely different purpose would no longer be qualified as *the
Program* but rather a different Program.From the point of view of the
letter of the law (and this is exactly how lawyers will look at it) GPL
license and W3C RF policy are in agreement with each other.

Even if your lawyers give you an opinion that you can work around the GPL, that's not definitive until the opinion is tested in court. Given the FSF's stated position, a court challenge is likely. It would be unwise for GPL/LGPL vendors to take that risk, even if they were keen on working around the GPL, which Mozilla certainly is not.
I know, the
advocates of the FSF would claim that W3C policy may be against the
spirit of FSF and GPL license, but the only way I can get the acceptable
result is if I can make a very good case to my company lawyer as to why
this binding legal commitment to give away our legitimate patent rights
(and the rights to protect our IP) is necessary. Last time I checked -
lawyers don't deal with spirits :)

It's not necessary: you can walk away right now with your IP rights intact. No compromise that achieves field-of-use restrictions is going to be acceptable to Mozilla, so I don't think a compromise is possible here. Your options are to drop your restrictions, walk away, or press ahead with standardization without our support.

But why do we need MTX to solve the font format controversy, anyway? If "obfuscation plus Access Control" is satisfactory to font vendors, then we can easily find an unencumbered obfuscation solution --- just flip some bits in the header. Or we could use gzip as the obfuscation. We could even come up with an alternative, unencumbered split-stream compression method, depending on how Monotype's patent claims are worded and the prior art situation.
"He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." [Isaiah 53:5-6]
Received on Wednesday, 12 November 2008 21:41:54 UTC

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