Microsoft faces lawsuit over use of a font in Office and Windows

Microsoft has faced its share of lawsuits in the past but the latest legal action the company has to deal with is a little different. A person claims Microsoft is using a font in its Office and Windows software without the permission of its owner.

The Haaretz website says that the lawsuit was filed in Israel by the daughter of Henry Friedlander, the late creator of a font called Hadassah. The daughter, Hannah, claims that Microsoft used the Hadassah font as the basis for two fonts used in Office and Windows, Guttman Hodes and Monotype Hadassah.

Hannah said that the family never gave Microsoft permission to use the Hadassah font nor to alter it for the use of the two Office fonts. However, Microsoft has issued a statement of its own, claiming that the Hadassah font doesn't belong to the family at all.

Microsoft says Friedlander sold the rights to the font in 1950 to a printing house in the Netherlands, which later licensed the font rights to Microsoft. The company added, "Friedlander never made any claims during his life about the widespread use of the Hadassah font. On the contrary, he expressed satisfaction that the font was so widely spread by the Dutch printing house."

There's no word on the amount of damages Hannah is seeking from Microsoft in this case.

Source: Haaretz via WinBeta.org
Law button image via Shutterstock

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14 Comments

These kinds of lawsuits always make me wonder if it was the plaintiff seeking the compensation, or if it was an ambulance-chaser looking for dough, and then THEY notified the person about the supposed injustice.

I guess daddy's inheritance was not enough. Lets file a lawsuit against Microsoft, I want live like Kim Kardashian.

I don't even have that font installed (on Windows 7/Office 2007). Which probably proves its not popular. If I were Microsoft, just send a Windows Update that deletes it.

Mr. Dee said,
I don't even have that font installed (on Windows 7/Office 2007). Which probably proves its not popular. If I were Microsoft, just send a Windows Update that deletes it.

It's likely only included with particular Office language packs. (It is a Hebrew font face.)

Yeah when Android OEM's implement simple but patented tech like bounce back or FAT, it is stealing IP and MSFT and Apple have been wronged, but when MSFT steals from the little guy without compensating them for work they own, they should just stop crying, and not dream of making money because only Ballmer and Billy G can be rich, right?

recursive said,
Yeah when Android OEM's implement simple but patented tech like bounce back or FAT, it is stealing IP and MSFT and Apple have been wronged, but when MSFT steals from the little guy without compensating them for work they own, they should just stop crying

Well, if you'd read the article, apparently the artist sold the rights to the font to another company, and then Microsoft licensed it from that company. (Kind of the opposite of what the OEM's that you're defending did.) How is that stealing exactly when it was paid for? If there's anyone who should be on the receiving end, it's that third party who is allegedly infringing on the rights, licensing something they don't own and all that.

recursive said,
Yeah when Android OEM's implement simple but patented tech like bounce back or FAT, it is stealing IP and MSFT and Apple have been wronged, but when MSFT steals from the little guy without compensating them for work they own, they should just stop crying, and not dream of making money because only Ballmer and Billy G can be rich, right?

Read Max's response above, and the original article. It sounds like she has no ground on which to claim any expectation of compensation.

She's also claiming that aside from being copies, its a "falsification" that distorts her father's design. So I'm wondering, how can a font be both a "copy" and a "distortion" at the same time. I did a Google Image search for "Monotype Hadassah" and to me, someone who has read a lot of books with Hebrew, at first glance, it looks like a totally different font.

The reason is that Hadassah has become so common and accepted, its hard not to be derivative from it:
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~libr....html?mswitch-redir=classic

recursive said,
Yeah when Android OEM's implement simple but patented tech like bounce back or FAT, it is stealing IP and MSFT and Apple have been wronged, but when MSFT steals from the little guy without compensating them for work they own, they should just stop crying, and not dream of making money because only Ballmer and Billy G can be rich, right?

You are hereby fined one United States dollar or equivalent in other currency for making a stupid comment without reading the article.

The font is Hebrew not English. If this font was sold to a publisher then it should have a paper trail and be very easy to prove who has the right to it.

Based on what I see, Microsoft can't be sued for this but the publishing company that Microsoft and many other companies licensed the font from may be, if the original creator didn't release the rights to it as she claims. But I think she's just looking for a money grab.

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