If there is a way to patent or trademark stupidity, I really need to find a way to do it. I will be rich -- just off of Wal-Mart.
John Simley (not "Smiley," as I originally thought, presumably because that might be a trademark violation) Wal-Mart's director of media relations, actually seems proud of the fact that his company is trying to trademark a ubiquitous symbol. Then again, maybe he's just doing his job convincingly.
Even if Wal-Mart initiated its use, which I doubt, people have been using it for a very long time without harassment, and to claim rights to a trademark, Wal-Mart must have actively tried to protect it.
I'll let you know if I get a letter from Wal-Mart's lawyers to take down the smiley face from this post.
If the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office grants this trademark, they are truly beyond all hope. - Cam Beck