***Update 1 – 2016-01-11 – 00:09 CET***
It seems like Sony has failed to secure their “Let´s Play” trademark, because apparently Sony´s registration has been refused under the trademark act section 2 (d). And this became publicly known when the NeoGaf user Seraphis Cain pointed the following out:
“Registrant’s services are ‘Entertainment services, namely to provide online and offline opportunities for video game enthusiasts to meet and participate in live video game tournaments and on-demand console gaming.’ Applicant’s services are ‘Electronic transmission and streaming of video games via global and local computer networks; streaming of audio, visual, and audiovisual material via global and local computer networks'”, noted the official USPTO ruling.
“On balance, because the marks are highly similar and the services are closely related, consumer confusion is likely. Accordingly, registration is refused under Trademark Act Section 2(d).”
And good thing that, because it´s enough that game companies such as SEGA, Nintendo, Capcom and SEGA copyright flag tons of let´s play videos on Youtube. And as far as I know, you can’t trademark generic terms such as “Let´s play” either. Nevertheless, Sony has six months on them to appeal to the decision.
The eagle-eyed contributors to online gaming message board site Neogaf have once again struck gold. A user has found a trademark application from Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) for the term “let’s play”.
Sony are applying that anything that falls under the following definition:
“Electronic transmission and streaming of video games via global and local computer networks; streaming of audio, visual, and audiovisual material via global and local computer networks”
Is a Let’s Play and it will be owned by them exclusively. This means that any gameplay uploaded to YouTube/Vimeo/Video sharing sites or streamed live over Twitch/Hitbox/YouTube, will all be in contravention of their trademark and will be subject to be taken down. It really is a step above the Nintendo creators partnership program!
Although it’s not unusual to see huge corporations file for trademarks that will never get approved; remember when King tried to sue Stoic Studios for calling their game The Banner Saga, it is a move that could create a sense of resentment towards Sony from a sizeable community of players. Before anyone out there goes off on one and decides to boycott Sony please note that the application was filed in October and has not been approved.
More than this, a quick search of trademark applications for the term “Let’s Play” comes back with a staggering 115 results. Companies that range from pet food to casino entertainment have all applied; and failed, to trademark it. Sony’s application will be no different – but if you want to check the application out it can be found here (https://trademarks.justia.com/868/01/let-s-86801899.html).
Would you be angry if Sony’s application got approved?
Do video game developers have any claim over our gameplay?
Tell me in the comments!
The Gaming Ground
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