A company claiming to own the copyright to the ’Smiley’ logo has
been asked to explain itself by the Institute of Practitioners in
Advertising after approaches to agencies which have used the logo in
The IPA says the yellow logo is in common use and is asking the Smiley
Licensing Company to give details of its ownership claim. Simon Gallant,
the IPA’s consultant legal affairs director, said he had been called by
two agencies which had been approached. He has written to the company,
which is run by Franklin Loufrani, a French entrepreneur, and is waiting
for a response.
The logo was created in 1963 by the freelance artist, Harvey Ball, for a
US insurance company which wanted to run an in-house campaign to cheer
up its employees. He never established copyright for the symbol, which
was later acquired by Loufrani. He claims to have devised the logo while
working for a French newspaper in 1968.