2021 Emoji Law Year-in-Review

2021 Emoji Law Year-in-Review

A recap of emoji law developments in 2021: Court References I maintain a dataset of US court opinions that reference emojis and emoticons. I have compiled the dataset using keyword alerts in Westlaw and Lexis, supplemented by a few opinions…

Evidentiary Issues With Emojis

Evidentiary Issues With Emojis

[I did an interview for a student research project on emojis as evidence, which I’m sharing here.] Tell us a little bit about yourself! What do you work with today? What’s your background and how did you get the role…

Are Individual Emoji Depictions Copyrightable? Yes...Well, Sometimes...It Depends...

Are Individual Emoji Depictions Copyrightable? Yes…Well, Sometimes…It Depends…

Though it might surprise you, copyright can protect individual emoji depictions. However, determining when they are copyrightable is a subtle art. This summer, the Copyright Review Board issued an interesting decision about the registrability of emojis. Though it won’t be the…

My Declaration Identifying Emoji Co. GmbH as a Possible Trademark Troll

My Declaration Identifying Emoji Co. GmbH as a Possible Trademark Troll

There are dozens of federal lawsuits captioned “Emoji Company GmbH v. The Individuals, Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, and Unincorporated Associations Identified on Schedule A Hereto.” Last month, in one of them, I filed a declaration stating that “Emojico appears…

A Roundup of German Caselaw Regarding Emojis and Emoticons (Guest Blog Post)

A Roundup of German Caselaw Regarding Emojis and Emoticons (Guest Blog Post)

by guest blogger Dr. Matthias Pendl, Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law Introduction Emoji are a worldwide phenomenon in modern communication, and so unsurprisingly emoji cases are popping up in Germany as well. Although the number of published…

Emoji Version Variations Help Identify Fabricated Evidence--Rossbach v. Montefiore Medical

Emoji Version Variations Help Identify Fabricated Evidence–Rossbach v. Montefiore Medical

Rossbach worked at Montefiore Medical Center. She claims her supervisor sexually harassed her and then the center retaliated against her. This screenshot is the evidentiary centerpiece of her claim: The last line is the court’s: “This image is a fabrication.”…

School Can't Discipline Student For Off-Campus Snapchat Messages--Mahanoy School District v. BL

School Can’t Discipline Student For Off-Campus Snapchat Messages–Mahanoy School District v. BL

A high school cheerleader, Brandi Levy (referred to as B.L. in the opinion), was disappointed about being placed on the JV squad instead of the varsity squad, as well as developments regarding her softball team. From the local convenience store,…

Depiction of Michigan as Hands Doesn't Preclude Similar Depictions--High Five v. MFB

Depiction of Michigan as Hands Doesn’t Preclude Similar Depictions–High Five v. MFB

High Five Threads sells t-shirts and tchotchkes. It claims copyright and trademark protection for a depiction of upper and lower Michigan as two hands (left-most image below). People routinely depict lower Michigan as a hand, and apparently others envision the…

Emoji Law Year-in-Review for 2020

Some emoji law highlights from 2020: * My caselaw tally shows 132 cases referencing emojis or emoticons in 2020, a 25% increase from 2019. This year, I noticed that emojis are showing up in more murder cases–10 in 2020, compared…

My California Young Lawyers Association Interview About Emojis

My California Young Lawyers Association Interview About Emojis

[In August, I did an interview with Skyler Gray that ran in the California Young Lawyers Association newsletter.] How did an intersection of emojis and the law begin? Were there legal issues concerning the original punctuation emojis, such as “:)”…