Sony Fails to Get Trademark for ‘Let’s Play’
A couple of weeks ago, the gaming world went into a bit of a shock with the reveal that Sony was trying to trademark the term ‘Let’s Play’, a commonly used name for video and screenshot walkthroughs of video games that can be found on sites like Youtube. Would this destroy the community? Would all Youtube LPers have to pay money to Sony to use a term that was created by (and for) the gamers?
Well, it turns out the answer to that is no; the trademark has been rejected. What’s more, the US Patent and Trademark Office did their research on this one, rejecting the trademark because it’s a ‘generic term’ that’s descriptive in nature. In other words, because everyone online already uses it for these videos and screenshot articles, and it’s not uniquely used to refer to Sony’s products.
In their own words:
Or in pure text form:
As shown in the attached evidence, the term ‘Let’s Play’ used in connection with video games refers to ‘a video, or less commonly, a series of screenshots, documenting a playthrough of a video game, almost always including commentary by the gamer’ and ‘Let’s Play’ (sometimes called Learn to Play); One or more people that record themselves playing video games through screenshots or captured video (Mostly the latter).’ This phrase merely describes applicant’s services because applicant would stream Let’s Play’ videos.
Accordingly, registration is refused under Trademark Act Section 2(e)(1)
Either way, it’s now dead and (likely) buried, and we won’t have to fear Sony trying to take over our Let’s Play videos and channels any time soon. Thank god someone at the USPTO saw some sense here.
And additional thanks to Gaming Reinvented commenter Ferigeras for pointing out the update, as well as The McArthur Law Firm documenting all this on the blog.