Sony plays with trademarks
12 January 2016 by Ashton Carter
After filing a trademark application for the phrase “Let’s Play”, Sony have now received their initial response from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and, unfortunately for Sony, it doesn’t look promising.
Whilst the idea of watching someone else play a video game doesn’t sound particularly entertaining, the streaming of video games has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, with websites such as YouTube and Twitch.tv being the major platforms. One craze which has seen popularity is the “Let’s Play” trend which typically involves famed YouTubers recording footage of themselves playing games and providing their own commentary while doing so. A particularly entertaining streamer can easily rack up thousands of views and this is making more and more people take note.
One of whom appears to be Sony, who has seized the opportunity to file a trademark application for the phrase. Sony’s application was made in relation to the streaming of video games through global and local networks and so it appears that Sony intends to make use of this expression in relation to its PlayStation streaming service. However, it is unclear whether this has been Sony’s plan for a while or whether they are cunningly trying to make use of the goodwill that has naturally built up in the phrase through its use in the gaming community.
Regrettably for Sony, a trademark was successful registered in 2013 for the phrase “LP Let’z Play” in relation to the provision of online and offline console gaming events. The USPTO therefore decided that due to the similarities in the trade marks and the services to which they relate, there is a likelihood that consumers will be confused by the marks. Sony’s application was therefore provisionally refused, but there is a six month window in which Sony can respond to the USPTO’s concerns in an attempt to convince them to withdraw their refusal and register the mark.
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