Russian Patent Authority finally laid down the effort of a Russian business man, Oleg Teterin, to trademark winky emoticon ;-). Oleg Teterin is the president of the mobile advertising company Superfone.
Oleg wanted to secure a trademark of the emoticon but promised not to burden ordinary folks in using it non commercially. But large businesses who want to package the winky emoticon for profit will have to get an annual license fee from him.
“I want to highlight that this is only directed at corporations, companies that are trying to make a profit without the permission of the trademark holder. Legal use will be possible after buying an annual license from us. It won’t cost that much—tens of thousands of dollars,” he said in comments to NTV.
Yet, Russian Patent Authority disagree with Oleg saying, “Russia’s patent authority, Rospatent, has ruled that the smiley graphic cannot be registered as a trademark. This means that firms are free to use the graphic symbol as part of their brand names, but nobody can claim exclusive rights to its use.”
So there you have it. Go on and continue using 😉 as freely as you want.