All of its pixels belong (probably not) to Pantone

All of its pixels belong (probably not) to Pantone
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There is some news floating around in the open IP and allied communities right now that seems to have caused some consternation. It comes from Adobe, which has announced that due to the termination of its license agreement with Pantone LLC, PSD images loaded into Photoshop will have pixels containing unlicensed Pantone colors replaced with black. What, Pantone’s own colors now, we’re expected to pay a royalty every time we take a picture of a blue sky? It’s natural to react suspiciously when hearing news like this, but for once we thought this might not be the unreasonable IP land grab it may seem at first. To illustrate this, it is necessary to explain what Pantone does and what it does not do.

A can of Heinz Baked Beans
Heinz wears Pantone to secure your viridian green The color of the baked bean brand is consistent. Use it on a can of beans and Heinz will probably sue you, not Pantone.

For a company that bases its entire product line on colors, it might seem strange to say that Pantone does not own or sell colors. Instead, your product is in effect a color-matching service, a library of named, defined colors that can be matched by designers, printers, ink manufacturers, paint companies, and anyone else who produces a color product. The bit they own is the name and index number of a color in their library, not the color itself. If a designer creates a logo for a client and specifies a Pantone color for it, the client knows that they can order the paint for their trucks in that exact color from a Pantone-licensed paint company, or have their packaging printed exactly in color. the same color. Color with a printer that uses Pantone licensed ink. Consistency in branding is important to businesses, and it is consistency that sells Pantone, not the colors themselves. The customer is free to match the colors with any ink or paint, but as he will soon discover, exact color matching is no easy task. Pantone is in the business of taking that headache away.

Therefore, it would be extremely difficult for Pantone to argue that an image that contains a large number of pixels matching a color in its library is in violation of its IP, so its images are safe from its grasp. The reason some Photoshop PSDs now face the issue is that Photoshop allows a designer to attach a Pantone index to a color, and for files that have this applied, what Adobe says is that they are no longer licensed to do so. consequently. There’s quite a Pandora’s Box in asking why in 2022 a proprietary image processing package on a flawed monthly subscription model still has so much influence on designers, but as far as Hackaday readers are concerned, there should be nothing to what to worry about No one comes for our precious #F3BF10!

Header image: Tuxyso (CC BY-SA 3.0).

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