April 28, 2011
Emoticon Trademarks: Challenging Distinctiveness Criteria
Asia IP

🙂    😛    🙁    😀    :-O  These symbols are not a basic series of punctuation marks and letters. They are emoticons, a portmanteau word composed of emotion and icon, signifying those iconic typographical manifestations of various emotions. Prevalently used for a decade in e-mails and text messages due to their expressive brevity, emoticons are now employed by businesses seeking to capture the attention of Gen Y, or the Net Generation, and to trademark them for commercial purposes. This article examines the registrability of these symbols under trademark law, particularly in regard to distinctiveness criteria.

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