;-) 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.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: emoticons, russia, trademark

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Peter E Retep, 7 Jan 2009 @ 12:35pm

    smiley emoticon origination

    Mike Jittlov, of Mickey Mouse Anniversary shorts fame, and the genius behind the Wizard of Speed and Time, claimed many times to have invented and published the smiley face icon before this in his high school newspaper in L.A.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.