Partner Dyan Finguerra-DuCharme, Co-Chair of Pryor Cashman's Trademark Group, recently discussed a recent uptick in trademark cases initiated by German company Emoji Co. with Law360. The company possesses several trademark registrations and has recently challenged a number of smaller companies who failed to secure approval for use of the word 'emoji' in certain circumstances. According to Law360:

But trademark registrations aren't the same thing as trademark rights, and a word that's as widely and commonly used as "emoji" is simply a bad raw material to shape into a protected brand, experts say.

"Since the 2014 filing date, the 'emoji' term has become part of the vernacular, making it difficult to function as a single source identifier," said Dyan Finguerra-DuCharme, who co-chairs the trademark practice at Pryor Cashman LLP.

If there was "significant marketplace penetration" sufficient that consumers link the name to Emoji Co. for certain goods, the rights might be stronger, Finguerra-DuCharme said, but "I just don't see that here."

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