[Scribus] Color swatches - Legal and technical issues

avox avox
Tue Jan 30 16:21:10 CET 2007

jon-73 wrote:
> ...
> Mmmh, I think what Pantone does is not to copyright any colors or names 
> for colors.
> Pantone trades printing colors, that's their main business.
> Pantone itself and the color names they use for their colors are 
> trademarks.
> Identification tables, simulation systems and simulation advices 
> (Pantone to HKS / CMYK)
> they created are copyrighted, or copyrighted licensenced products from 
> other manufacturers.
> Say there is a manufacturer wich sells various kinds of metal. E.g. 
> they call it "rusty from laying in
> saltwater iron" 000-1000 "iron with green spots from copper" 000-1001 
> put a trademark on and
> copyrighted the process. They created thousands of these "unique" 
> whatsoevers.
> If you are a shop, selling these to designers, do you have the right to 
> take photos, add
> the belonging names AND give away this table without obtaining a 
> license (saying that this might
> not match the product perfectly and mentioning the tm holder, of 
> course)?

Interesting thought. Let's make a thought experiment:

You buy one of Pantone's color matching books. In Germany it's
not possible to limitate its use stronger than what copyright provides.
Then you take a colorimeter and measure each color and record
your findings in a table, next to the measured color's name. I doubt
that the mere list of colornames is copyrighted, so you own the
copyright to the new table.

If you want to distribute this table, you have to respect Pantone's
trademarks, so you obviously can't use the word "Pantone" in it's name.
Same with the name of the original color matching book. So you would
have to make up your own name, eg. "eNotNap 1", eNotNap 2", ...
You can also include a description how you generated this table, including
the original name of the color matching book (you have to acknowledge
the trademark of course). For good measure you can put in a disclaimer
that these colors are *not* the original Pantone colors but just your 
OTOH I can't see why an advertisment  "compatible with Pantone XYZ (TM) 
matchbook" should be illegal when "compatible with Windows (TM)" is 
clearly not. Also consider companies which sell compatible ink cartridges;
they also name the compatible printers on the box, and I'm pretty sure the 
original manufactures would have found a way to stop that if there was one.

That leaves the question if Pantone can claim any patents on their system
of colors... no idea there, but I doubt it would be valid in Europe.

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