Can I Trademark an Emoticon?
You can absolutely trademark an emoticon as long as you are using that emoticon for the marketing or branding of your goods or services. As with all other trademarks, before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will allow registration, you need to show that you’re using the emoticon as a necessary part of your branding, and that you’re using it before anyone else was using it for the same or similar goods or services.
It’s important to keep in mind that a registered trademark on your emoticon will not give you exclusive use of that emoticon. Instead, it allows you to prevent your competitors from using the same or a similar emoticon to market their goods or services. In other words, you can stop your competitors from piggy-backing on your brand’s success, but you can’t stop the average joe from using it when he tweets, texts, or posts on Facebook.
If you are using an emoticon as part of the branding for your goods or services, contact us today to speak with trademark attorney Eric Norton to discuss the importance of a comprehensive trademark clearance search to ensure you’re not accidentally using another company’s trademark and how we can help you trademark your emoticon.