Despair Suing 7,000,000 Email Users Over :-( (TM)
1/26/2001; 11:33:36 PM 'DALLAS, TX - January 2nd, 2001 - In a move that has millions across the Internet community frowning, Despair, Inc. today announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) had awarded them a registered trademark for the 'frowny' emoticon which serves as their logo.
'At a press conference, Despair's COO, Dr. E.L.Kersten, announced his intentions to sue "anyone and everyone who uses the so-called 'frowny' emoticon, or our trademarked logo, in their written email correspondence. Ever."'
Check the link! Despair Inc. is a good company and they aren't really suing everybody, but the trademark is for real! It was granted last year on May 2nd.
'The decision to award Despair, Inc. with a registered trademark for the :-( symbol left many in the field of intellectual property law stunned.
'Suzanna Markow, I.P. specialist of Markow, Ladley & Associates, said of the issuance, "This is a defining moment in the history of intellectual property law. To extend official registration to an emoticon, one who's common usage predated the existence of the trademark holder by several years, defies common sense and establishes a dangerous precedent."
Andrew Kirkus, co-editor of IP Magazine, offered a less dire assessment of the grant, ''Whether the issuance is a dangerous one remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that it appears that someone has finally bested patent 5443036 for most ridiculous intellectual property filing in history.'''
Nice hack of the trademark system!