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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yellow Stuff

My husband suprised me with this smiley guy several years ago when I was going through a bit of a rough patch at work. He actually does make me smile! Yes, that applies to my husband and smiley guy. I found a bit of the history of the yellow smiley face on Wikipedia.

In 1963 Harvey Ball, an American commercial artist, was employed by an advertising company to create a happy face to be used on buttons. His rendition, with bright yellow background, dark oval eyes, and creases at the sides of the mouth, was to become the most iconic version.

In the early 1970's French journalist Franklin Loufrani registered the smiley face image as a trademark in France in 1971, and he created "The Smiley Licensing Corporation, Ltd." to sell, license, and advertise the smiley face image in the United Kingdom and Europe.

In 1997, Franklin Loufrani and Smiley World attempted to acquire trademark rights to the symbol (and even to the word "smiley" itself) in the United States. This brought Loufrani into conflict with Wal-Mart, which had begun prominently featuring a happy face in its "Rolling Back Prices" campaign over a year earlier. The issue went to court where it would languish for seven years before a decision. The Loufrani vs. Wal-Mart case was finally closed in March 2009, when the judge dismissed Loufrani's claims to any rights on either the generic smiley face symbol or the word "smiley," noting that both had become "ubiquitous" in American culture long before Loufrani's initial trademark application.

The court decisions effectively ruled the smiley face (as well as the words "smiley face") to be in the public domain, at least within the jurisdiction of the United States.
Conclusion: We humans have the uncanny ability to ruin even a simple smile.

I learned a new word today: emoticon (a pictorial representation of a facial expression using punctuation marks and letters). Like the text version of a smiley face :-)

Emoticon is a portmanteau word of the English words emotion and icon. OK, I learned two new words today. A portmanteau blends two or more words into a new word.

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