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    Emojis, Licensing, and the Law

    September 2, 2016

    Intellectual Property partner Pamela M. Deese talked with Raugust Communications about emojis and licensing. The publication reported that the abundance of emoji-related graphics and branding “raises some questions: What are my options if I want to create products featuring emoji-related designs and/or brands? Are emojis legally protectable in the first place? Do I need a license? Will I infringe on anyone if I create my own emoji designs? “

    “There are no court cases declaring emojis uncopyrightable,” said Ms. Deese. “Based on the law, or the lack thereof, you can’t say for sure that it couldn’t be copyrighted or that you wouldn’t have a defense. But what makes emojis artistic is also what makes them useful.” Thus the utilitarian argument that weighs against copyright protection.

    “The first question for any licensee,” said Ms. Deese, “is whether the rights they’re promising can be protected. You wouldn’t want to be paying for a pig in a poke. If the object of your desire in a licensing agreement can’t be protected, you don’t necessarily want to be paying a royalty on it.” To read the article, click here.