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September 14, 2007

Trademarking Stupidity


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.

Although this is old news (I found references dating back to 2006), I just found out today through an AdAge article that Wal-Mart has several trademarks pending on the smiley face.

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


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Having dealt with the USPTO for the past three years on both trademarks and patents, nothing they approve or reject there would surprise me.

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