Can I Trademark a Font?
No. But you can trademark the name of a font.
Fonts are not trademarkable because the font is the product itself, and as a result, the font is merely a necessary functional component. Since products themselves do not qualify for trademark protection, a font cannot be trademarked. In other words, when you think of what can and cannot be trademarked, consider whether a font, as a product itself (not as part of a logo), is enough to determine where that font came from. Unless you’re a student of typography, you probably have no idea that Helvetica was developed at the Haas Type Foundry, or that Palatino was developed by the Linotype company. Similarly, if someone presented you with a glass of random brown colored soda, would you know whether it was Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, RC Cola, Mr. Pibb, or some brand of root beer just from looking at it?
Now, just because a font itself cannot be trademarked doesn’t mean you cannot trademark the name, logo, or slogan associated with that font, so long as you use that name, logo, or slogan as an integral part of that font’s branding. Of course, as with all other trademarks, the name you choose for the font must be unique enough to qualify for trademark protection.
If you are a typographer or graphic designer who has developed her own new font and are interested in selling it to the public, contact us today to speak with trademark attorney Eric Norton to discuss the importance of trademarking your font’s name, logo, and slogan (and to make sure it doesn’t run afoul of any existing copyrights).