Sony’s “Let’s Play” trademark denied again, helped in part by gaming law firm

Sony Computer Entertainment of America’s previous attempt to trademark the commonly used term “Let’s Play” resulted in the The United States Patent and Trademark Office rejecting their claim on the grounds that someone already had a trademark on a similar term.


Sony PlayStation

Sony PlayStation


Unperturbed by such inconveniences, SCEA lodged an appeal to the decision. The appeal saw a re-wording of the trademark application but the crux remained the same, including such uses as “electronic transmission and streaming of video games via global and local computer networks,” amongst others.

However, the USPTO has denied Sony’s application for a second time, citing that “Let’s Play” is a generic term and can’t be trademarked.

SCEA’s second trademark denial was revealed by The McArthur Law Firm, a Los Angeles-based firm that specializes in intellectual property law and video games, who filed an objection to Sony’s trademark application after receiving the initial news. The law firms objection cited more than 50 common uses of “let’s play” in current video gaming culture.

The previous “rejection,” widely misreported a few weeks ago, was in reality just a minor nuisance to Sony. This rejection is far more lethal to Sony’s trademark application. To support its rejection, the USPTO’s evidence consisted entirely of the first two sources included in our Letter of Protest: the Wikipedia page for Let’s Play and the /r/letsplay subreddit.

In this case, applicant seeks to register the wording LET’S PLAY for “Electronic transmission and streaming of video games via global and local computer networks; streaming of audio, visual, and audiovisual material via global and local computer networks.” As shown in the attached evidence, the term “Let’s Play” used in connection with video games refers to “a video, or less commonly a series of screenshots, documenting a playthrough of a video game, almost always including commentary by the gamer” and “Let’s Play (Sometimes called Learn to play): One or more people that record themselves playing video games through screenshots or captured video (Mostly the latter).” This phrase merely describes applicant’s services because applicant would stream “let’s play” videos.

Much like the previous ruling though, Sony has six months to appeal the decision and convince the USPTO that the phrase “Let’s Play” is not a generic term and that it is closely related to their brand and brand identity.

The McArthur Law Firm believes that this is a task that Sony will not be able to accomplish.

Given the strength of this evidence, we are confident that Sony will not be able to overcome this rejection. The term “Let’s Play” is now forever in the public domain.

Sony Computer Entertainment America or its parent company Sony have yet to comment on the trademark application or its intended use.

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