On October 28th, 2015, Sony quietly filed a trademark application for the term “Let’s Play” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Approval of the application would give Sony the power to remove any “Let’s Play” branded content that they disapproved of, including reviews of games of their competitors and criticisms of their own console games, and, potentially, follow the route of Nintendo and take ad revenue from content creators.
Luckily, one law firm stepped up and took action to stop Sony’s trademark application.
“The McArthur Law Firm has filed a Letter of Protest with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) on behalf of all members of the gaming community against Sony’s attempt to trademark the term “Let’s Play”. We became concerned about Sony’s shameless attempt to monopolize a generic term used by gamers throughout the world when it was reported earlier this week that the USPTO had issued an Office Action assessing Sony’s application. The USPTO’s Office Action failed to even raise genericism as a possible issue with the trademark.”
The McArthur Law Firm specializes in supporting “companies in the digital industry and especially… software companies, app developers, video game companies, medium sized companies trying to protect their brand”. They appear to be the perfect fit for taking on Sony’s trademark application. And it seems that they were.
Two weeks after the McArthur Law Firm filed their Letter of Protest, the United States Patent and Trademark Office agreed that “Let’s Play” is a generic term and refused Sony’s trademark application.
The McArthur Law Firm noted that the two sources used in the refusal by the United States Patent and Trademark office were the first two of 50 that they provided in their Letter of Protest, suggesting that the refusal was based on the Letter of Protest. They have also confirmed that rejection is “far more lethal” to Sony’s application than the previous response by the USPTO that several sites erroneously claimed was a rejection previously. The McArthur Law Firm has stated that, with the newest refusal, “the term “Let’s Play” is now forever in the public domain.”