A user on NeoGAF has discovered that Sony, the company behind PlayStation, recently attempted to trademark the phrase “Let’s Play.” Their attempt has failed, as shown in this letter from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
“Let’s Play” has been a common part of gaming vernacular for many years now. So, it may seem obvious that any attempts to trademark the phrase would fail. However, the application actually failed because of an existing trademark on “Let’z Play” (seen above).
“In this case, the following factors are the most relevant: similarity of the marks, similarity and nature of the goods and/or services, and similarity of the trade channels of the goods and/or services,” the letter read.
Sony has until the end of June to appeal the decision. In order to be approved, they would need to prove that their new trademark is sufficiently different from the existing trademark.
This whole thing feels a tad reminiscent of when King, the company behind Candy Crush Saga, attempted to trademark the words “saga” and “candy.” If you’re curious, you can learn more about it in this analysis by Kotaku.
Users on NeoGAF have observed that this new trademark may not be an attempt by Sony to prevent average gamers from uploading Let’s Play videos to YouTube or Twitch, but rather would exist to prevent Microsoft or Nintendo from using those words in any official branding.
Polygon points out that game companies have had a conflicting relationship with Let’s Plays for years. Nintendo’s affiliate program, for instance, is designed to split ad revenue with the video’s creator. It’s unclear what this new trademark would mean for Sony’s future decision-making in that arena.