Jump to content
Join our community of friends of typography!

Akzidenz Grotesk

Recommended Posts

Nigel, you wrote that Linotype no longer delivers the Akzidenz Grotesk. That's right. But nowadays Linotype delivers 4 weights and 4 italics of the Basic Commercial typeface. If you look at www.linotype.com you will be able to read the following sentence: "Basic Commercial font is based on the design for Akzidenz Grotesk, which appeared with Berthold in 1900, designed by type setters whose names have not been recorded, but whose skill cannot be overlooked. This typeface has been popular among groups and movements so diverse as the Bauhaus, Dadaism, and the masters of Swiss typography. It served as an influence for a variety of newer, more anonymous grotesque fonts as well as Helvetica. Basic Commerical font is a clear and objective font whose forms exhibit almost nothing unusual, but which remains both lively and legible".
Basic Commercial is available in OpenType with the better hinting, But also in PS and TT for non-InDesign users.

14056BasicCommBold.pdf (16.0 k)
Link to comment


It is still only four weights and the italics were created only recently so call me a purist but give me the original versions from Berthold.

And is Hrant campaigning for the Rush Limbaugh prodigy award? Can't you find a more appropriate website to express your views on repenting and revolution?

Nigel Hamilton

Link to comment


There is a lot more to the Berthold story than has been discussed here. In my opinion, none of the big stories have been brought up so far. I wish I could talk about it, but even this message is probably more than I ought to say.

I can note that Berthold fonts were formerly available from Adobe, Agfa Monotype and Linotype, and that all of these companies are no longer resellers of Berthold designs.



Link to comment

Ice-T: "Freedom of speech - just watch what you say."

William: well of course not - and that's exactly the point. And the problem of course isn't a single company, it's the system which allows and even encourages companies to behave in this way.


Link to comment

jumping in late here with a few points

Prior Art, while mostly cited in patent and copyright cases,
can also apply to trademarks.

You can file a trademark as

a) the word
b) the design alone
c) word + design

the patent examiner will check active trademarks
for possible conflicts, thus checking for Prior Art.

In the Berthold/Delta situation specifically, Prior Art, taken literally, is
indeed irrelevant but Prior Use is not.

William wrote "my understanding is that the owner of a trademark
is required to sue or risk losing ownership of the trademark."

Not quite right. It will help you if you can
show a track record of protecting your mark.
But there is not requirement to sue.
It's not about that.
But if you have a trademark that is in jeopardy,
nowadays, you probably are spending your money elsewhere.
On advertising.
That's how you keep from 'losing' a mark from
it becoming genericized.

Take Xerox, Wite-Out, Band-Aid, Velcro and some
others. The owners of these marks take out ads every month in various magazines
(usually Writer-oriented publications) that spell
out proper usage of their marks in print.

Kleenex (TM) brand disposable tissues, etc.

the older brands did not do that ... if I'm not mistaken.
So these brands today can point to a pile of money
spent educating others on proper usage
if the generic nature of their mark becomes an issue.

As far as Berthold, it's interesting to look specifically at the Delta mark's history.

2004-02-17 - Registered - Principal Register

2003-11-25 - Published for opposition

2003-11-05 - Notice of publication

2003-09-22 - Approved for Pub - Principal Register (Initial exam)

2003-08-07 - Communication received from applicant

2003-08-27 - Case File in TICRS

2003-08-07 - PAPER RECEIVED

2003-04-11 - Letter of suspension mailed

2003-03-27 - PAPER RECEIVED

2003-02-03 - Letter of suspension mailed

2002-11-14 - Communication received from applicant

2002-11-14 - PAPER RECEIVED

2002-11-05 - Case file assigned to examining attorney

2002-06-21 - Case file assigned to examining attorney

2001-04-18 - Letter of suspension mailed

2001-02-09 - Communication received from applicant

2000-08-18 - Non-final action mailed

2000-07-18 - Case file assigned to examining attorney

I don't know if this TM just got forgotten when a
sale of the business was happening? I know
nothing about the Hunts, but become more and
more curious to hear the truth.

And I'm not saying that Berthold taking four years to get this
trademark is relevant, just interesting.



Link to comment

Also interesting ...

February 04, 2003

The Schoolyard Bullies
Never Go Away

In the typographica entry, linked above,
Jamie Nazaroff says he received the letter from
Berthold's attorney Jan. 27, 2003. Delta was not even close to
being a registered mark at that time, according
to the info cut-and-pasted from the USPTO site.

So I really would like to see the actual email
to see whether Berthold misrepresented this fact.


Link to comment

certainly. but with respect to commencing
trademark litigation it does.

You can send out letters and threaten but
you can't file a suit until you have a
registered mark in hand. That's my understanding.

Which means nothing here anyway as long as Berthold
isn't missrepresenting its marks.... big company vs. an
individual, some threatening letters,
ends things pretty quickly without litigation.

but if Berthold had wanted to sue Jamie, it would have had to wait until
'Delta' became registered
or sue for infringement on the 'Delta Jaeger'
mark only, not the 'Delta' mark.

blah, blah, of course this is boring.
More interesting ... luc's summary, below.


Nigel, do you have some association with Berthold?

And how would you assess the way Berthold is being run, if you know or care to share ...


Link to comment

>but if Berthold had wanted to sue Jamie, it would have had to wait until 'Delta' became registered

You are wrong on this. You can sue without a trademark being registered.

>More interesting ... luc's summary, below

Luc's article is full of incorrect statements and conclusions it belongs in the Star or National Enquirer.

He also references comments by Fred Nader which speaks for itself.

As far as how I feel that Berthold is being run I think that the type industry is going back to the days when foundries exclusively distribute their own product.

For example only Linotype markets Linotype Univers, Optima Nova, Linotype Syntax etc.

You don't see any of Agfa Monotype's new product (including ITC) in the Adobe Library or through Linotype.

In fact in a recent Adobe's SEC filing there is a lawsuit between Agfa Monotype and Adobe which Adobe claims would have an adverse effect if they lost.

Berthold controls its product although it apears that Agfa Monotype distributes Berthold rather than licensing it as they did in the past.

I think Agfa Monotype, Berthold, and Linotype are doing things the right way. Controlling their product.

And the only reason that I entered this thread is that I keep seeing so much misinformation about trademarks that no wonder the independent type designer gets into trouble if he doesn't know right from wrong. Especially if he follows Luc's positions.

Nigel Hamilton

Link to comment

fair enough Nigel ... I was told that that was the case for
a copyright, so I assumed that trademarks would be the same. hmmm.

> You can sue without a trademark being registered.

Of course anyone can sue anyone over anything.
But I don't think that's what you are saying.
You're saying that a judge would actually hear a TM case
(and not throw it out) where the plaintiff only has a common
law trademark but not a pending or registered mark.


I would like to learn more if you happen to have a link.



Link to comment


On the Luc site, a lot of Berthold's actions seem to be silly and pointless.

The issue with Baremo and FF Sari, though, seems to me quite reasonable. Sari is in fact a 'new Baremo'and 'New Barem' would be exploiting the reputation of the old which is still evidently owned by Berthold - so it would cut into their mark.

In fairness, you should answer the question about whether you are associated with Berthold.

I agree that people are way too ready to attack anyone trying to protect their IP rights. But Berthold does look silly in some of the warning letters. Do you think I wrong about this?

Link to comment

It would be handy if one could rely on stuff on Luc's site, but I don't feel I can trust even the stuff that seems plausible. In some areas that I do know plenty about, like OpenType, his writing has a lot of material that is simply false, as well as a lot that is misleading or devoid of content (but always full of inflammatory rhetoric). We're talking a major axe to grind.

Of course, if you believe that all corporations are evil, and that there are conspiracies everywhere, then you'll probably find Luc's world view quite complementary to your own.


Link to comment

Nigel -- The link goes 1000 different directions, but I am
aware of the USPTO site, treble damages, etc.
If you could point to something specific, I'd be grateful.

I'm on a 4-day weekend and need to get
away from the computer, so for now, I'll take your word for it.
Anyhow, clearly, I was mistaken and should learn
more before I make pronouncements. :-)



Link to comment

> the burden of proof is on the person suing.

That's generally inconsequential, because the bureaucratic weight -that's fostered by the system- causes the case to be resolved in favor of the bastard way before any actual judge* gets involved.

* And where does the judge's paycheck come from, I wonder?

Thomas, don't bundle valid complaints about wanton capitalism with conspiracy theorists and provincial concepts like "Evil". You're playing into the hands of the usurpers.


Link to comment
  • 1 month later...

>I think Agfa Monotype, Berthold, and Linotype are doing things the right way. Controlling their product<

I've kept quiet for a long time, but now i have to clear up a few facts.

1. Berthold Types in chicago is not the legal successor to H. Berthold AG

2. Berthold Types has registered most of H. Berthold's trademarks and thus has every right to defend them

3. Berthold Types has no contracts with any of the original designers whose fonts are being sold today; thus effectively stealing from designers like Hans Reichel, who designed Barmeno but doesn't receive license payments for his design. Nor was he allowed to re-issue his own face as New Barmeno. So he had to call it Sari and redraw it extensively, just to be able to publish a typeface he licensed to H. Berthold AG, not Berthold Types (see 1).

4. Berthold Types sues everybody who only gets into the vicinity of one of their trademarks or even imagined marks, for example "super" or even "grotesk". In these cases they just lost, finally. It is absurd to want to claim a trademark for a generic term like Grotesk, just because it occurs in one of their trademarks (Akzidenz Grotesk). Defending this not only cost countless hours but also tens of thousands of dollars in attorneys' fees.

5. They have been sueing dozens of people with frivolous cases. Failing to answer brings about a judgement in their favour; answering cost more money than all these small designers and foundries have. They win not by being right, but by default.

6. They are bullies; it is not about trademarks but about deleting the competition.

7. I could cite many more (and worse) cases which have cost me and other designers and foundries millions of dollars (and i am not exaggerating), but this will probably already make me the target of the next attack.

8. This list doesn't discuss legal matters for their own sake. This list is not called legaphile; it is run by and for people who care for and live by typography.

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Iwan Reschniev: a typeface based drawings by Jan Tschichold
  • Create New...

Important Information

We are placing functional cookies on your device to help make this website better.