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Sony's attempt to trademark "Let's Play" ends in failure

A recently unearthed trademark submission reveals that Sony attempted to assert control over “Let’s Play,” a term that encompasses a broad selection of gameplay videos on YouTube and other popular video-sharing services.

The trademark application, discovered by a NeoGAF forums user, defined “Let’s Play” as the “Electronic transmission and streaming of video games via global and local computer networks,” and the process involved in the “streaming of audio, visual, and audiovisual material via global and local computer networks.”

Sony applied for the trademark on October 31, 2015. The United States Patent and Trademark Office subsequently denied Sony’s application on December 29th, citing a “likelihood of confusion” with an existing trademark for “LP Let’z Play” established in 2013.

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Stemming from a popular series of narrated walkthroughs featured at Something Awful and other online communities, the term “Let’s Play” later evolved to encompass recorded playthroughs of video games accompanied by unscripted player commentary. “Let’s Play” videos have emerged as a popular format on YouTube, in particular, where many users host channels dedicated entirely to narrated walkthroughs of video games.

Sony has not announced any details regarding its trademark attempt. While the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s rejection blocks Sony from asserting immediate control over the term “Let’s Play,” the decision is not final, and Sony may alter its application for resubmission at a later date.

According to Gamasutra, applicants are given six months to reply to a non-final rejection from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, meaning that Sony has until June 29th to reapply for a trademark. If no reply is received, the trademark attempt is considered abandoned.

NeoGAF users speculate that Sony’s attempt to trademark “Let’s Play” may be related to the PlayStation 4’s streaming capabilities, though the actual reasoning behind the submission remains unclear.