The USPTO accepts the most obvious reason why Sony can't trademark the term 'Let's Play'

By midian182
Jan 28, 2016
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  1. Late last year, Sony Computer Entertainment America managed to annoy a massive number of internet users by trying to trademark the phrase ‘Let’s Play.’ The term is used for commentated gameplay videos and has been around since 2007 when it first appeared on the Something Awful forums.

    If Sony had been successful in its bid to trademark Lets Play, no one would have been able to use the term without first getting the company’s permission. Surprisingly, the US Patents and Trademarks Office didn’t originally deny Sony’s application because of the phrase being such a widespread term; they rejected the PS4-makers attempts because Lets Play is very similar to a trademark held by another company.

    In 2013, a Georgia-based firm that connects gamers to events registered the name LP Let’z Play of America. The USPTO ruled that as both terms are related to video games, there would likely be confusion with the mark. The Office refused the application and sent Sony a non-final action on December 29, 2015.

    Now, as a result of a Letter of Protest to the USPTO by The McArthur Law Firm on behalf of the gaming community, the trademark office has updated its ruling. The update states that ‘Let’s Play’ is such a widespread and generic term that it is classed as a descriptor, not a brand, and, therefore, can’t be trademarked.

    To support its rejection of Sony’s application, the USPTO’s evidence consisted entirely of the first two sources included in the McArthur firm’s Letter of Protest: the Wikipedia page for Let’s Play and the /r/letsplay subreddit.

    McArthur's founding attorney, Stephen McArthur, said that the initial ruling “was in reality just a minor nuisance,” for Sony, but added that company “will not be able to overcome this rejection.”

    Sony still has six months to challenge the ruling, although it’s pretty unlikely that it’ll attempt to, especially in light of this updated rejection. Maybe the Japanese company will try to trademark another term, such as ‘game.’

    Permalink to story.

  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,341   +1,939

    This is ridiculous. How the hell can you trademark words? If such a thing is allowed to come to pass, whats stopping the Oxford dictionary (for example) from trademarking all the words in the dictionary then when anyone wants to write a letter, send an email or WhatsApp etc. they'll have to get their permission then cough up first before being allowed to.
  3. robb213

    robb213 TS Addict Posts: 309   +92

    This reeks of King and "Candy" all over again.

    But this is why I hate the legal realm. What makes sense is usually what they can't do due to "legalise".
  4. Capaill

    Capaill TS Addict Posts: 279   +86

    Game on!

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