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NBC Sued Over Use of Fonts

Typographic firm seeks no less than $2 million from network.

Call the font police! Or, bureau!

The Font Bureau, Inc., a Boston-based typographic firm that counts Apple, Microsoft, Newsweek, the Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal among its clients, filed suit against NBC this week, alleging the network did not secure the rights to the typefaces it used to promote “The Jay Leno Show,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and “Saturday Night Live.”

According to the 118-page complaint, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court, the Font Bureau says that NBC infringed on its trademarked and copyrighted fonts on NBC.com and CNBC.com. It is seeking “no less than $2 million” in damages.

The Font Bureau says NBC and CNBC used its Bureau Grotesque, Interstate and Antenna fonts without permission.

(IAntenna is the one used by the new “Jay Leno Show.”)

The lawsuit alleges that NBC “purchased a single license to use a limited number” of software sold by the Font Bureau, made “numerous infringing copies” and far exceeded the uses permitted by that license. CNBC, the suit claims, used an “entirely unauthorized” copy.

The infringement has caused “confusion, mistake and deception” in the marketplace, a “dilution” of the Bureau’s trademarks and substantial lost revenue, according to the suit.

I e-mailed NBC for their side of the story. They have no comment.