Invention Geek – Font Protection?

Question from Ize:

How are fonts protected?
Thanks, Ize

If certain conditions are met, an individual who creates a font has limited options in protecting their typeface. Copyright and trademark laws provide minimal or no protection against typeface piracy. The extent of protection a typeface should receive has been debated about between The U.S Copyright Office and type designers since the 1970s. Design patents are the best option if you want to protect your typeface.

Conditions to receive a design patent:

  • The font is not known or accessible to the public for more than one year prior to filing a design patent application.
  • The typeface was not described or used in a printed publication in any country during the year prior to filing the application.
  • The font design must be new. Meaning, it can not be an obvious variation of another design.
  • The typeface isn’t registered as a design patent or industrial design in a foreign country.