The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently denied Sony the trademark on “Let's Play”, a popular term used to describe the new wave media of playing or streaming games to a broadcast audience online. The reason for the denial? Because it could likely create consumer confusion.
IGN is reporting that Sony filed an application back in late October 2015 in hopes of getting a trademark on “Let's Play”, which is part of a video series they have for PlayStation-oriented video game material. The USPTO denied Sony the opportunity due to an already filed trademark called “LP Let'z Play”. Due to the similarities, Sony's request was shot down.
The IGN article notes that Sony has six months to address the USPTO's decision and file an appeal as to why they deserve to own the trademark. However, based on the article, I doubt Sony will follow through since they didn't seem to want to respond to offer a comment on their endeavors to trademark “Let's Play”.
The community has been very supportive of the Sony brand over the years, and the company has found themselves number one once more after an extremely rocky seventh generation that saw the over-priced PS3 get off to an awful start. They managed to pull it together and get back in the game right at the end of the seventh generation with a bevy of high-quality, GOTY winning titles such as The Last of Us. They used this momentum – in combination with Microsoft's anti-consumer initiatives with the Xbox One – to hit all new sales heights with the PS4 during the early start of the eighth generation of gaming.
However, gamers are now starting to see late era PS2 Sony emerge once more... the same Sony that fumbled their way through the launch of the PS3. Most gamers are not okay with Sony wanting to trademark “Let's Play”, since it's an integral term to the culture of new wave media on YouTube, Twitch, Hitbox.tv and other burgeoning online connectivity services that bridges gamers with content creators and live-streamers such as Markiplier, TotalBiscuit and PewDiePie.
Gamers have also become disenchanted with the PlayStation Now service, given that Sony requires PlayStation owners to have to re-buy or pay a subscription fee to play games they already own via backwards compatibility on the PS4. This was met with a lot of groans in comparison to Microsoft offering free backwards compatibility for the Xbox One.
With Sony making some questionable moves that show that they're definitely geared right now in attempting to make as much money off the community as possible, I do wonder how long they will be able to maintain the good graces of gamers before we see a backlash like the one they incurred at the early launch of the PlayStation 3?
For now, it looks like the attempt to trademark the term “Let's Play” has fallen flat at the feet of Sony, and gamers appear to be very thankful for it. Now let's see if Sony will continue to pursue the trademark for “Let's Play” or if they'll take the loss and move on.