"Legal use will be possible after buying an annual licence from us," he was quoted by the newspaper Kommersant as saying.
"It won't cost that much - tens of thousands of dollars," added the businessman, who is president of Superfone, a company that sells advertising on mobile phones.
What exactly gives Teterin the right to trademark the emoticon anyway? It's been in the public domain for years and as I discovered while putting together a presentation on the emoticon for Tony Stanton's (one of my favorite professors) Graphic Communications class, it was a Carnegie Mellon professor, Scott Fahlman who first dreamed up the initial usage. You can find more information on the Smiley on its dedicated site or go straight to the original thread where Fahlman proposed the first smiley face.
Many say any type of PR is better than no PR at all. But in this case if Teterin had any business in America, the damage would have been irreparable. It's just too bad I have no ability to stick it to him and his company. This example is also telling of what a load of crock the Russian federal patent agency.