Of all the ridiculous trademark claims we’ve seen, this one takes the cake.
The BBC reports Oleg Teterin of Russia’s Superfone company has been granted a trademark for the emoticon — that smiley face formed using a colon and a parentheses — by the Russian federal patent agency.
“Legal use will be possible after buying an annual licence from us,” he was quoted by the newspaper Kommersant as saying.
“It won’t cost that much – tens of thousands of dollars,” added the businessman, who is president of Superfone, a company that sells advertising on mobile phones.
Will anyone pay up? The Beeb captures this priceless quote:
The president of Russian social networking site odnoklassniki.ru, Nikita Sherman said: “You’re not likely to find any retards in Russia who’ll pay Superfone for the use of emoticons”.
Let’s hope Putin’s judges decide not to enforce the trademark. Russian media company SUP, which owns social network livejournal.com, could come under the trademark’s purview.
*This post originally described the trademark as a “patent.” Thanks to our readers for alerting us to the error.