Moscow: A Russian company has ‘privatised’ the popular ‘smiley’, the smiling face symbol, popularly used by netizens to express their feelings and would now seek royalty for its commercial use.
Superfon, specialising in mobile phone advertising, has registered the smiley sign as its official trademark, Russian business daily Kommersant reported on Thursday.
The move will allow the company to demand royalties for commercial use of the smiley. The Superfon company had a legal battle over the smiley copyright at the end of 2008.
Back then the founder of Superfon claimed that he would charge royalties from such companies as McDonalds and Nestle that use the sign in outdoor advertising and also the popular social networking site Odnoklassniki.ru (classmates) as well as ICQ internet messenger.
The company said that it would not charge common Internet users for putting smiley in their messages or web posts.