Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from Brad King

Cingular Files Emoticon Patent

The wireless company has filed a patent application for emoticons – setting off a wave of dissatisfaction in online communities.

  • January 26, 2006

Cingular Wireless has certainly made no friends today, as news of its emoticon patent application began circulating on the Internet.

The application, which is rather lengthy, describes a static set-up that would allow users with any device (television, computer, mobile device, etc.) to choose from a dedicated window of emoticons, without typing in the ASCII symbols that generate visual emoticons.

From the Cingular application:

The method and system described herein allow a user of a mobile station or other device to easily select a displayable icon, such as an emoticon, that indicates the mood or emotion of the user or conveys other information independent of text. In some embodiments, the selected displayable icon is inserted into a text message or screen, such as an instant message, chat screen, or user text field.

Microsoft faced an equally vicious onslaught when it filed a similar application. The main objection, then as it likely will be now, is that since emoticons represent speech online, no company should be able to patent that language.

(Thank you, friends of Fark.com, for the heads-up.)

AI is here.
Own what happens next at EmTech Digital 2019.

Register now
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Online Only.
  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.