Coffeehouse Thread

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Suing for Smiley

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  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    Apparently, Wal-Mart feels that the Smiley symbol is theirs.  After all, they've been using it since 1996 and nobody else ever even thought of it before that...

    Idiots

  • User profile image
    SlackmasterK

    Oh, that's rich.  While they're at it' why not just make the idea of a "smile" a trade secret?

  • User profile image
    Cybermagell​an

    In other news ...

    "Walmart uses U.S. Department of Justice to petition Google, AOL, Yahoo!, and MSN for how many instances  Smiley appears in instant messaging."

  • User profile image
    Ang3lFir3


    ScanIAm wrote:
    Apparently, Wal-Mart feels that the Smiley symbol is theirs.  After all, they've been using it since 1996 and nobody else ever even thought of it before that...

    Idiots

    If you read the article the action is only in reaction to the Frenchman who among other things is trying to trademark the use of the smiley on animal seamen (intentional missspelling) .... The frenchman has a trademark on the use of the smiley in some 80 countries.... So in this case with Wal-Mart only attempting to secure a trademark on the use of smiley by retail department stores I think its actually Wal-Mart pushing back against someone ELSE attempting to exploit common art.... especially since neither of them are the ones actually credited with its creation....

    Wal-Mart would never have applied for the trademark if it were not for the frenchman.....

    you did read the article right?

  • User profile image
    Rowan

    I can understand the purpose of trademarking the smiley, but does it cover blue smiley faces too?

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    Yep, I read it.  The difference is, said frenchman spent the last 30 years securing the rights.

    Walmart simply used it anyway and now claims ownership based on brand awareness.


  • User profile image
    Jorgie

    "Walmart simply used it anyway and now claims ownership based on brand awareness." No. They did not "use it anyway". They, like any reasonable person assumed it was so much a part of our culture that anyone could use it. AFIK It was never registered by anyone else in the US and the never attempted to monopolize it. The are being forced into this. If our IP protection system works at all, the "smiley" will remain free for anyone to use in the generic, and Wal-Mart will be able to protect the specific name & likness they have used for years. Jorgie

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    Jorgie wrote:
    "Walmart simply used it anyway and now claims ownership based on brand awareness." No. They did not "use it anyway". They, like any reasonable person assumed it was so much a part of our culture that anyone could use it.


    I'm sorry you didn't like my choice of words, but the point isn't why walmart decided to use it.

    In fact, we have no idea why they decided to use it.  I'm sure, though, that a company of that size has someone do a trademark search before they go about using a symbol.  They obviously knew about it.
    Jorgie wrote:

    AFIK  It was never registered by anyone else in the US and the never attempted to monopolize it. The are being forced into this. If our IP protection system works at all, the "smiley" will remain free for anyone to use in the generic, and Wal-Mart will be able to protect the specific name & likness they have used for years. Jorgie

    Great sentiment, and I agree that it should be free to everybody...but it isn't. 

    And, as long as we grant 'ownership' to symbols, then other companies don't get to decide to steal that ownership.

  • User profile image
    Maurits
  • User profile image
    SlackmasterK


    The smiley face, a yellow button with a smile and two dots representing eyes, was invented by Harvey Ball in 1963 for a Worcester, Massachusetts based insurance firm State Mutual Life Assurance. Though there was an attempt to trademark the image, it fell into the public domain before that could be accomplished.[2]

    However, Franklin Loufrani of London based company SmileyWorld says he came up with the image in 1968 and is trademarked across 80 countries. As with David Stern of David Stern Inc., a Seattle-based advertising agency also claims to have invented the smiley. Stern reportedly developed his version in 1967 as part of an ad campaign for Washington Mutual, but says he did not think to trademark it.[3]


    That is all.

  • User profile image
    Jorgie

    "In fact, we have no idea why they decided to use it.  I'm sure, though, that a company of that size has someone do a trademark search before they go about using a symbol."

    Bull. They did a search and it was not (still isn't) protected in the US. I thought you said you RTFA?

    Jorgie

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    Jorgie wrote:
    "In fact, we have no idea why they decided to use it.  I'm sure, though, that a company of that size has someone do a trademark search before they go about using a symbol."

    Bull. They did a search and it was not (still isn't) protected in the US. I thought you said you RTFA?

    Jorgie

    <sigh> yes, I did read the article.  I guarantee.  I will bet my life.  I will bet my future children's lives.  I will bet your life.  I will bet whatever you ask that someone in the legal department at Wal-Mart had heard of this guy PRIOR to their using the symbol as a mascot.

    A multinational corporation doesn't 'do a search' and miss some guy whose been actively trying to obtain the rights to the smiley symbol for 30 years.

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