;-) Available For Yearly License Fee Thanks To Russian Trademark
from the so-sue-me-;-) dept
Way back in 2001, Despair Inc., makers of the world's greatest calendar (I've got a bunch) trademarked the emoticon :-( and jokingly threatened to sue pretty much everyone. Some folks in the press thought they were serious, and it got into the news. It looks like someone over in Russia is trying to do the same thing... but it's not clear if he's joking. Oleg Teterin, president of some mobile advertising company, not only has received the trademark, but says that any business using it, or any similar emoticon, now needs to pay a license fee: "Legal use will be possible after buying an annual licence from us. It won't cost that much - tens of thousands of dollars." He does make clear that he's only talking about businesses using the emoticon, not consumers, but even then some people wonder if this is just a big publicity stunt. Either way, it speaks volumes about the competency of the Russian trademark agency to consider an emoticon that's already in such widespread common usage (and has been for decades) available for trademark protection.