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顔(kao)=face, 文字(moji)=character(s)) that can be understood without tilting one's head to the left. As SMS and the internet became widespread in the late 1990s, emoticons became increasingly popular and were commonly used on text messages, internet forums and e-mails.

Emoticons have played a significant role in communication through technology, and some devices and applications have provided stylized pictures that do not use text punctuation.

In 1997, The Smiley Company filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

In 2001, Walmart opposed the registration, citing a likelihood of confusion between the Loufrani smiley and a smiley face Walmart had been using since 1990.

The case was closed in 2011 when the two parties agreed to settle out of court.

The terms of the settlement were undisclosed, but Walmart continued to use its smiley design intermittently, and returned to using it in a major marketing role in 2016.

The USPTO eventually sided with Walmart and rejected The Smiley Company's application, due to widespread use of smiley face designs.

Emoticons for a smiley face appear in the first documented use in digital form.This developed into a sophisticated set, particularly in combination with superscript and subscript.The text of his original proposal, posted to the Carnegie Mellon University computer science general board on 19 September 1982 (), was thought to have been lost, but was recovered 20 years later by Jeff Baird from old backup tapes.Nicolas developed hundreds of different emoticons, including 3D versions.His designs were registered at the United States Copyright Office in 1997, and appeared online as files in 1998.

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