In 1971, a French journalist, Franklin Loufrani, created a smiley logo to mark good news in the French newspaper France Soir. Loufrani was the first person to trademark the symbol, in 1972. Later, in 1996, Loufrani established The Smiley Company with his son, Nicolas Loufrani. 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 . gif files in 1998. These were the first graphical representations of the originally text-based emoticon. He published his icons as well as emoticons created by others, along with their ASCII versions, in an online Smiley Dictionary in the early 2000s. This dictionary included over 3,000 different Smileys and was published as a book called Dico Smileys in 2002. The Smiley Company has trademarked its version of the smiley face in over 100 countries. 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 USPTO eventually sided with Walmart and rejected The Smiley Company's application, due to the widespread use of smiley face designs. Seeking to prevent Walmart from using any smiley face design, Nicolas Loufrani next sued Walmart in federal court in 2009, while claiming that his smiley face was "readily distinguishable" from Walmart's. 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.
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