This year, Sony Picture Studios, the American Entertainment Company, are planning on releasing a new film entitled 'The Emoji Movie'. For those of you not familiar with the term 'emoji', they are small digital images used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication. Following Apple's inclusion of emoji's in their devices, they have become increasingly popular and utilised the world over.
The trouble with the use of emoji's in Sony's up and coming film arises from the fact that the word 'Emoji' has been trademarked by a former video game executive. Marco Husges is the man behind the word 'Emoji' which, according to the Hollywood Reporter, came into his mind when on vacation in Croatia in 2013. He therefore trademarked the word 'Emoji', 'Emojitown' and 'Emojiplanet'.
Although Husges is not the registered proprietor of the digital images on phones and on social media, he does have a company, entitled The Emoji Co., whereby he has created thousands of his own emoji's. Husges has subsequently licensed the use of the icons out to third parties for use on merchandise.
Sony has attempted to trademark a number of marks in relation to the film, but according to the Hollywood reporter, they have all been refused. Husges has stated "I am curious how Sony would want to produce a movie under that name and do accompanying merchandising, especially given the fact our brand has already been successfully established with license partners and retailers all over the world". Husges has not yet stated what action he will take if The Emoji Movie does go ahead.
It will be interesting to see whether the two parties can come to any sort of agreement that leads to smiley faces all round.Posted by: in: EU/International, Trade Marks