The Strange Case Of The Emoji Movie Trademarks

emojiSony‘s intention to create a new film franchise with The Emoji Movie may be facing one important hurdle: they were denied the trademark to the word “Emoji.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, former video game executive Marco Husges owns the trademark and intends to build his own Emoji empire. “First get into the marketplace and then TV series, web episodes and movies,” he told the site. Curiously, Husges’s Emoji IP does not include the popular set of symbols used by millions everyday. He has set up his own rival lexicon, with the intent to develop a feature film with producers Roy Lee and Adrian Askarieh.

Meanwhile, Sony’s Emoji Movie is still in development and said to revolve around Emoji Valley, a secret world inside the cellular phones of the real world.

It is currently unclear how the rival Emoji projects will settle the possible dispute. In the past, companies have been willing to license out trademarks, but reserving rights to use their marks on certain fronts. In the 1980s, Columbia Pictures — not yet part of Sony — licensed the word “Ghostbusters” from Filmation with the understanding that it would be a feature film venture. When the two companies could not agree to work together on an animated spinoff, Filmation used their claim to release a cartoon called Ghost Busters while the eventual Columbia spinoff was known as The Real Ghostbusters.

Of course, the strange case of The Emoji Movie may prove to be the most entertaining aspect about the whole endeavor.