Smiley Face Symbol

The Smiley Face symbol is one of the most widely used symbols today. Either displayed as in the picture above or as an emoticon :-) it has been adopted by email and internet users worldwide to express the emotion of happiness in a simple symbol. Two sources claim to have created the symbol (this is ignoring the millions of children who draw it instinctively every day).

Once claimant is Harvey Ball, who allegedly created the “face” in 1963 for a Worcester, Massachusetts, USA-based insurance firm, State Mutual Life Assurance. The second claimant is David Stern of David Stern Inc., a Seattle-based advertising agency that also claimed to have invented the smiley. Neither party thought to trademark it. If there was ever a symbol that deserved to be “trademark free” it is the Smiley but it has allegedly been a registered trademark since 1971 when French businessman Franklin Loufrani created “Smiley World” to sell and license the smiley face image in the United Kingdom and Europe.

It is registered and used in over 100 countries for 25 classes of goods and services. A version with three eyes was once used as the logo for the satirical 2001 science fiction film – Evolution.