The McArthur Law Firm files Letter of Protest against Sony’s “Let’s Play” trademark
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.
After analyzing the Office Action, it became clear to us that Sony will easily overcome the USPTO’s concerns and that the USPTO, apparently not gamers themselves, has no idea that “Let’s Play” is a common term in the video game industry. Below is a screenshot of Sony’s application.
In the Letter of Protest filed today by The McArthur Law Firm, we presented the USPTO with over fifty examples of how Let’s Play has become “generic” . A term is generic and cannot be trademarked when it identifies the products and services itself instead of the source of those goods or services.
A letter of protest is a procedure before the USPTO that allows third parties to submit evidence for the USPTO to consider before a trademark is published. Letters of Protest are obscure and even many experienced trademark attorneys do not know how to properly use them to their advantage. However, they can be extremely useful in situations where you learn of a trademark application in its infant stage before it is published and you know of very strong evidence that demonstrates on its face that the trademark application should be denied. The Letter of Protest puts that evidence in front of the USPTO, but it does not allow you to make any arguments or include persuasive language.
We believe that the USPTO will review the evidence we submitted and come to the same conclusion as thousands of gamers: that the term “Let’s Play” is generic and that Sony should not have exclusive rights over it.
It usually takes about a month for the USPTO to act on a Letter of Protest. We will keep you advised here of any major updates with Sony’s application.