Russian Businessman Trademarks ;-) Emoticon
Oleg Teterin, a Russian businessman and owner of Superfone (a mobile ad company), has trademarked the wink emoticon, ;-). Teterin says he has no intentions of going after individual users, but that he wants businesses to understand they will not get away with using his trademarked symbol without paying a small licensing fee -- just a few tens of thousands of dollars a year. Teterin even had the gall to claim that the emoticons :-), ;), and :) are similar enough to his newly-trademarked wink that they will also be subject to legal action.
Of course, Teterin is ignoring the widely accepted tale that the emoticon was invented by Scott Fahlman, a Carnegie Mellon professor, who included :-) in an e-mail way back in 1982. We expect that Teterin's claim will crumble as soon as he actually tries to enforce his trademark in front of a judge. [From: SF Gate]