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Emoticons Patent? :(

Ran across a crazy sounding article today. Cingular Wireless has won a patent for the use of emoticons on cellular phones? Here is a quote from the article on ConsumerAffairs.com:

The patent applies not only to graphic versions of the ubiquitous smiley/mad face but also to simple text versions. :)

Cingular says the aim of the patent is to enable the displaying of graphics on its subscribers’ handsets, the patent would also prohibit sending simple text versions via a dedicated or programmable key.

Human beings have been communicating with emoticons for decades. Now all of a sudden a wireless powerhouse here in the USA can patent how one can enter in text and graphical emoticons into their text messages on a phone?

So I hit the United States Patent and Trademark Office Web site to check this out. I could not find the exact patent noted in the article, but I did search and found fourteen patents have been issued for emoticons. Who would have guessed this? Certainly not me.

Guess I better start using them on my blog before someone gets a patent on entering emoticons on blog posts. ;)

One Response to “Emoticons Patent? :(”

  1. February 24th, 2006 at 23:01 | #1

    I thought there was such a thing in patent law as “prior art.” However, it seems to me that the USPTO has completely lost its ability and credibility when it comes to issuing patents.

    I got my first cell phone about 6 years ago and it had the ability to send smileys back then.

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