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Finland: Emoticon Trademark Abrogated

(Aug. 15, 2012) Although previously the Finnish National Board of Patents and Registration (last visited Aug. 13, 2012) permitted a Finnish man to trademark the “smiley” emoticon, consisting of a colon and parenthesis :), the Supreme Administrative Court of that country has now ruled that emoticons, i.e., pictorial representations of emotions, are not eligible for trademarking. In a decision dated August 13, 2012, the Court held that the symbols do not meet trademark requirements and also said that because the smiley has wide recognition, its use cannot be restricted through trademark procedures. (Smiley Does Not Constitute a Trademark, the Supreme Administrative Court Rules, HELSINKI TIMES (Aug. 13, 2012); Tavaramerkki – Hymiö – Rekisteröitävyys – Erottamiskyky – Vapaana pitämisen tarve [Trademark – Smiley – Registrability – Distinctive Character – The Requirement of Availability], KHO:2012:64, Supreme Administrative Court website (Aug. 13, 2012).)