Businessweek on the Hoefler & Frere-Jones Split

Did you ever think you’d see a 3,500-word article on type design in Businessweek? And did you ever think that piece would be about a contentious $20 million lawsuit over the ownership of a type foundry? Joshua Brustein penned this lengthy overview of the whole messy “divorce” between type designer superstars Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones.

One place where Hoefler has never referred to Frere-Jones as his partner is on any kind of contract. In legal documents, the firm was described as the Hoefler Type Foundry, doing business as Hoefler&Frere-Jones. Frere-Jones says he never drafted paperwork to formalize the partnership he thought he was entering, nor did he hire a lawyer to examine the contract in which he signed over the rights to the fonts he had created at the Font Bureau for $10. In 2004 Frere-Jones also signed an employment agreement describing him as an employee of the firm. Both men agree that Frere-Jones signed this document, and the case is likely to turn in part on what the contract means — was he the firm’s employee? Or Hoefler’s?

Read the full article here.


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