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Emojis: Trademark, Copyright, Rights of Publicity and Other Considerations

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
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Conducted on Thursday, June 13, 2019

Recorded event now available

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This CLE course will guide IP counsel for protecting emojis under trademark and copyright law. The panel will discuss the potential challenges of getting protection as well as emoji trolling. The panel will also address issues that may arise related to the interpretation of emojis and the use of emojis as evidence.


Everyone is using emojis. While emojis are a fun way to express oneself, they also raise potentially difficult legal issues. Copyright law may protect some emojis. They can also be protected under trademark law. Multiple parties may have rights in the same emoji. However, potential trademark protection for standard, widely used emojis can mean problems for platforms. Platforms may intentionally create or use emojis that are different from trademarked emojis to minimize infringement risk.

Bitmojis, where emojis depict the face or an attribute of an individual, are also popular. Rights of publicity may provide some protection for bitmojis.

Platform differences in how emojis are displayed (sender vs. receiver) and how the courts interpret emojis further complicates things. Companies and counsel should understand the potential protection available for emojis as well as the infringement risks and challenges associated with emojis.

Listen as our authoritative panel of IP attorneys examines trademark and copyright protection for emojis and potential challenges to getting protection. The panel will discuss emoji trolling and other IP considerations. The panel will also address issues that may arise related to the interpretation of emojis and the use of emojis as evidence.



  1. Emojis and trademark
  2. Emojis and copyright
  3. Emojis and right of publicity
  4. Emojis and design patent
  5. Interpretation issues
  6. Emojis as evidence


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What considerations should companies and their counsel weigh when determining whether to seek protection for emojis?
  • How can emojis be protected?
  • What potential issues arise with protected emojis?


Culp, Kimberly
Kimberly Culp

Carr McClellan

Ms. Culp works with digital media, video game, and consumer products companies to resolve their high-stakes IP...  |  Read More

Goldman, Eric
Professor Eric Goldman

Santa Clara University School of Law

Prof. Goldman co-directs Santa Clara University School of Law’s High Tech Law Institute and supervises the...  |  Read More

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