Commercial use of fonts and typefaces
Produced in partnership with Jessica Stretch
Commercial use of fonts and typefaces

The following IP practice note Produced in partnership with Jessica Stretch provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Commercial use of fonts and typefaces
  • Fonts and typefaces—definitions
  • Typeface
  • Font
  • Webfont
  • Fonts and typefaces—intellectual property (IP) rights
  • Copyright
  • Designs
  • Trade marks
  • Sourcing fonts and typefaces—legal issues
  • More...

IP COMPLETION DAY: 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marks the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements come to an end and significant changes begin to take effect across the UK’s legal regime. This document contains guidance on subjects impacted by these changes. Before continuing your research, see Practice Note: What does IP completion day mean for intellectual property?

Typefaces are a key component of a brand’s identity, using a unique typeface helps a business to distinguish itself from its competitors. Many businesses will select or create a typeface to use across print and digital media to help foster consistency and build a recognisable brand.

This Practice Note provides legal and practical advice on fonts and typefaces. It covers the following topics:

  1. Fonts and typefaces—definitions

  2. Fonts and typefaces—intellectual property (IP) rights

  3. Sourcing fonts and typefaces—legal issues, and common licence terms and issues with sourcing fonts and typefaces

Fonts and typefaces—definitions

The distinction between the terms font and typeface is important from a legal point of view (see section on ‘IP protection’ below) but in practice the terms are often used interchangeably.

Typeface

A ‘typeface’ is a set of letters, numbers and characters designed with a specific and consistent style resulting in the appearance of

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