Russian Winker Nabs Emoticon Trademark
Next time you text or email a friend or loved one and try to show your amusement at something they’ve said or done, you might want to think twice before you use the universally recognised winking emoticon (pictured).
Before you know it, you might be paid a visit by a rabid gang of Russian heavies, eager for payback after you infringed the trademark that belongs to their shadowy boss.
That’s right – from now on, the winking emoticon is apparently the intellectual property of one Oleg Teterin, president of the mobile ad company Superfone, and he’s not someone you want to mess with.
Well, that’s not strictly true. He’s not going to bother sending his attack dogs in the direction of individual users. But woe betide any corporations who try and use the winking symbol in the pursuit of profit.
Teterin roared, "Legal use will be possible after buying an annual licence from us. It won't cost that much - tens of thousands of dollars." Oh, well that’s alright then. But, as the symbol has been in the public domain for a quarter of a century, we’d be surprised if Teterin could make it stand up in court, inevitably leading to him doing a :'-(