Russian entrepreneur Oleg Teterin has announced that the Russian Federal Patent agency have granted him the trademark for the emoticon 😉
Surely I’m not the only one to find this utterly bemusing.
I have always been fascinated (and also equally confused) by the laws regarding trademarks, copyright and intellectual property. These seem set to get increasingly intricate in our digital age, as issues like originality and ownership get further muddied.
Unsurprisingly, critics have cast doubt on the trademark’s legal basis, given that the emoticon has been in the public domain for years.
Before we know it, people will be be trying to trademark individual letters of the alphabet…