No doubt, you’ve heard the buzz already – Russian company Superfone and its president Oleg Teterin claim they own the rights to reproduce 😉 emoticon and similar derivatives like 🙂 and 🙂 in spite of their being in public use for at least 15 years.
Associated Press says that “The Rospatent federal patent agency (aka Russian Patent Office) tells the RIA-Novosti news agency that the symbol was trademarked only as part of the company’s brand and has not been trademarked on its own.” – but AP, RIA-Novosti and Russian Patent Office representative are all wrong – Teterin INDEED has gotten rights for pure 😉 emoticon and not for a combined mark – take a look at RU2007719479 trademark certificate which clearly shows it:
😉 emoticon trademark is registered in three classes: 35, 38, 41 (so, actually, I can’t see how Superfone might sue McDonalds – anybody?)
The only problem is, Oleg Teterin is yet to pay registration fee (as of December 12, 2008).
Source: Russian Patents blog
Filed under: registration of trade marks in Russia