The Possibility of Copyright Protection of Printing Fonts (Typefaces)
In order for a typeface for printing (printing fonts) to be protected as a “copyrighted work” under the Copyright Law, it must have originality compared to conventinal fonts and also aesthentic characteristics that make it an object of artistic appreciation.
Article 2(1)(i) of the Copyright Law defines a “copyrighted work” as “a creative expression of thought or feeling that falls within the scope of literature, science, fine arts, or music.” In order for a typeface for printing (printing fonts) to fall under the category of a work of authorship, it is necessary that the typeface for printing has originality in that it has remarkable characteristics compared to conventional ones, and that the typeface for printing has aesthetic characteristics that make it an object of artistic appreciation.
Although the appellant’s typeface (printing font) is a novel design with a graphical sense that is not found in the conventional Gothic typeface, it does not deviate greatly from the conventional Gothic typeface design. Therefore, the appellant’s typeface does not have any originality or aesthetic characteristics, and cannot be considered a copyrighted work.
<Writer: Masakazu KOBAYASHI (Attorney-at-law and Patent Attorney)>