Sony recently tried to trademark the phrase “Let’s Play.” The attempt failed, as shown in this letter from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The trademark-grab attempt was discovered by a user on NeoGAF.
“Let’s Play” has been a common part of gaming vernacular for many years. 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.”
“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 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 indicate that Sony wants to prevent average gamers from uploading Let’s Play videos to YouTube or Twitch, but rather to prevent Microsoft or Nintendo from using those words in any official branding.