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Wal-Mart Seeks Rave Logo

US supermarket giant Wal-Mart are embroiled in a legal dispute over the acid house smiley face image, that they want to trademark.

US supermarket giant Wal-Mart is involved in a legal dispute over the acid house smiley face image, which it wants to trademark.

A Frenchman who claims to have invented the yellow smiley face back in 1968 is opposing Wal-Mart's move.

For many, the symbol is a distinct part of rave culture, and for years clubbers wore t-shirts emblazoned with the logo like it was an unofficial uniform.

It has also become a popular tool used on Internet messageboards to convey feelings or a tone of voice.

The smiley face originally popped up as a popular image in 1970s counter-culture, and has since been adopted by a number of different groups.

But since 1996 Wal-Mart has used the image in the US on uniforms, and it wants sole rights to it in the US retail sector.

Franklin Loufrani, the man opposing Wal-Mart, has marketed the sign since the early 1970s and owns rights to the logo in more than 80 countries, excluding the US.

A decision is expected to be made in August 2006.