Sony Rejected in Attempt to Trademark "Let's Play"
We don't know what its plans were, but "Let's Play" has been deemed too similar to an existing trademark.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has refused an application by Sony to trademark "Let's Play."
Sony filed the application on October 28, though it only just recently surfaced on trademark site Justia (where it was discovered by NeoGAF). Sony hoped to trademark the term for use in a variety of fields: "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."
The USPTO has since responded, refusing the trademark due to a similarity to one that already exists on "LP Let'z Play." In the full response, which you can read here, the two are compared both in terms of their names and potential services they'd cover.
Among other things, it states that, "Indeed, applicant's mark is identical to the majority of the wording in the registered mark. Thus, the marks are confusingly similar." It also determines that "the services are closely related," though it notes that the services "need not be identical or even competitive to find a likelihood of confusion."
In short, the USPTO found that "because the marks are highly similar and the services are closely related, consumer confusion is likely. Accordingly, registration is refused."
This doesn't necessarily spell the end of Sony's attempt to acquire the trademark. From the time of the refusal (December 29, 2015), Sony has six months to respond. It'll need to "explicitly address each refusal and/or requirement raised in this Office action," and can also make a case for why the refusal should be withdrawn.
Sony's intentions for the trademark are unknown. When contacted last week, it said it had "nothing further to share on the trademark in question." While some might assume it could be used to prevent the gaming community from labeling their Let's Play-style videos as such, it seems unlikely Sony would burn through the good will it's earned since the unveiling of the PS4. In any event, we'll keep an eye on the status of the trademark should Sony decide to move forward.