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Hoefler & Frere-Jones founders split acrimoniously, lawsuit filed

updated 11:24 am EST, Sat January 18, 2014

Frere-Jones claim 50 percent of the foundry is his, seeks $20 million

The eponymous founders of the Hoefler & Frere-Jones type foundry are likely to meet in court over the future of the foundry. Tobias Frere-Jones has sued Jonathan Hoefler for $20 million, claiming that Hoefler told him that he would be a 50 percent owner in the combined company when Frere-Jones signed on in 1999, and sold his portfolio of fonts allegedly worth $3 million to the company for $10.

Frere-Jones says that the partnership was agreed to verbally, with a press release commissioned by Hoefler's wife at the time that noted that "Jonathan Hoefler, Principal of The Hoefler Type Foundry, and Tobias Frere-Jones, Type Director of The Hoefler Type Foundry, announced today that they have entered into an agreement to become equal partners and to rename the business Hoefler & Frere-Jones Typography."

Frere-Jones claims that Hoefler "acknowledged his obligation" to split the company evenly, but reneged on his part of the deal three months after a deadline in July of 2013, 14 years after the pair formed the company. Frere-Jones claims to know that the shares that were supposed to have been transferred to him have been transferred to Hoefler's wife instead.

Friday afternoon, the company now known as Hoefler & Co made a formal statement on the suit which in part reads that the lawsuit "allegations are not the facts, and they profoundly misrepresent Tobias's relationship with both the company and Jonathan." It goes on to say that "The company will vigorously defend itself against these allegations, which are false and without legal merit."

The combined foundry owns the rights to fonts used by The White House, Gucci, Walt Disney, Esquire, HP, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Nike, among any others.


Tobias Frere-Jones v. Jonathan Hoefler



By Electronista Staff
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