2019 Emoji Law Year-in-Review

2019 Emoji Law Year-in-Review

Some highlights from emoji law in 2019: (Continued) Exponential Growth of Case References I found 101 cases in 2019 that referenced “emoji” or “emoticon.” That nearly doubles the number from 2018, reinforcing that emoji law continues to grow exponentially. You…

The Israeli Chipmunk Emoji Mystery Resolved!

The Israeli Chipmunk Emoji Mystery Resolved!

One of the most celebrated cases in emoji law is Dahan v. Shakaroff, an Israeli decision involving a landlord’s claim that prospective tenants Nir and Yarden (a married couple) engaged in bad faith negotiations over leasing an apartment. At issue…

Troublesome Emojis in Criminal Cases (Guest Blog Post)

Troublesome Emojis in Criminal Cases (Guest Blog Post)

By guest bloggers Jeff Breinholt and Madeline Brewer [Jeff is an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University Law School. Madeline is an LLM Candidate at George Washington University Law School] Emojis are frequently showing up in court cases throughout the…

More Evidence That IP Law Protects Individual Emoji Depictions--Nirvana v. Marc Jacobs

More Evidence That IP Law Protects Individual Emoji Depictions–Nirvana v. Marc Jacobs

This case involves the well-known “Nirvana Happy Face” drawn by Kurt Cobain in 1991 and registered in 1993. Marc Jacobs launched a “Bootleg Redux Grunge” clothing line (really??? who buys this shit?) that included an homage to the Nirvana Happy…

A Thumbs-Up Emoji Doesn't Mean That Dad Disavowed His Child--Bardales v. Lamothe

A Thumbs-Up Emoji Doesn’t Mean That Dad Disavowed His Child–Bardales v. Lamothe

This is a lawsuit over where a child should live. The mom moved from Honduras to the United States with her minor child. The dad remained in Honduras and initiated legal proceedings to bring the child back to Honduras. These…

Legal Research Services Are Struggling With Emojis and Emoticons

Legal Research Services Are Struggling With Emojis and Emoticons

Jennifer L. Behrens, a law librarian at Duke Law School, has posted an article: “Unknown Symbols”: Online Legal Research in the Age of Emoji.” She conducted numerous search queries to see how the major legal research services handled case opinions…

More Teenagers Mistakenly Think "Private" Chat Conversations Will Remain Private--People v. JP

More Teenagers Mistakenly Think “Private” Chat Conversations Will Remain Private–People v. JP

This is a story of four teenage girls and one teenage boy. The girls use the aliases “7Up” (a/k/a JP, the defendant in this case), “Lady Gaga,” “Dream Ruiner,” and “Me.” The boy, called S, allegedly engaged in anti-social behavior…

Emojis Have Unsettled Grammar Rules (and Why Lawyers Should Care)

Emojis Have Unsettled Grammar Rules (and Why Lawyers Should Care)

A new article by three Dutch researchers sheds some fascinating light on the grammar of emojis, or more precisely, the lack thereof. Their abstract concludes: “while emoji may follow tendencies in their interactions with grammatical structure in multimodal text-emoji productions,…

Copyright Protection for Banana Costumes Is, Uh, Bananas--Silvertop v. Kangaroo

Copyright Protection for Banana Costumes Is, Uh, Bananas–Silvertop v. Kangaroo

The Third Circuit has held that a banana costume qualified for copyright protection (the blog reference to the district court opinion). The plaintiff’s design is on the left. The defendants’ designs are in the middle and on the right. The…

Ruling in Emoji Beach Ball IP Case Left Me Confused 😕--Kangaroo v. Amazon

Ruling in Emoji Beach Ball IP Case Left Me Confused 😕–Kangaroo v. Amazon

This case involves the alleged counterfeiting of emoji beach balls on Amazon. It doesn’t get into emoji-specific IP issues and devolves into a garbled tangle over Amazon marketplace product catalog issues. Still, EMOJI LAW ALERT!!! 😲 The plaintiff makes emoji…