Sony is hard at work trying to trademark the term “Let’s Play.”
Earlier this month Sony Computer Entertainment America tried to trademark “Let’s Play” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, but–thankfully–the application was rejected because, the USPTO said, there would have been consumer confusion with something called “LP LET’Z PLAY”. “LP LET’Z PLAY” is a trademark held by a US company that works to connect gamers together.
Just recently, however, the USPTO has realized that there is a common sense reason why a corporation cannot and should not trademark “Let’s Play”: it’s a generic term used to describe thousands of videos of people playing games on YouTube, Twitch and virtually any video streaming website.
The McArthur Law Firm, a law firm involved in disputing Sony’s application, filed a letter of protest a couple of weeks back, citing evidence of how ubiquitous the term is online and arguing “the term ‘Let’s Play’ is generic and…Sony should not have exclusive rights over it.” The letter cited over 50 examples of how Let’s Play is generic and descriptive of video game streaming. It worked, and now the USPTO has had its say, citing the Wikipedia page for Let’s Play and the the /r/letsplay subreddit as evidence.
See a snippet of the ruling below.
You might have seen something like this reported elsewhere a few weeks back, but the firm—McArthur—say that news was premature.
“The previous ‘rejection,’ widely misreported a few weeks ago, was in reality just a minor nuisance to Sony”, they say. “This rejection is far more lethal to Sony’s trademark application.”
Had Sony’s application for the trademark been granted, they could have theoretically send cease and desist to anyone posting videos of themselves playing video games.