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Sony's attempt to trademark 'Let's Play' is refused by the U.S.

Confusion with another gaming company's mark is cited

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Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office rebuffed Sony Computer Entertainment of America's attempt to trademark "Let's Play" for reasons of consumer confusion, but not because it's the title of many YouTube videos.

Rather, there's a similar trademark held since 2013 by Let'z Play of America, a Georgia-based company that organizes and connects video gamers with online and offline events.

The USPTO thumbed Sony's application for "Let's Play" in late December, finding that mark "confusingly similar" to the earlier one.

"Let's Play" is commonly the title of YouTube videos showing off playthroughs of games. (Polygon also uses it.) Games publishers have had a complicated and sometimes controversial relationship with these videos, which have been subjected to YouTube's automated flagging system for copyrighted content.

Some have vowed never to moderate or strike "Let's Play" videos of their games. At the other end of the spectrum, Nintendo has set up a complex "affiliate program" that divides advertising revenue earned by let's play videos, and only approves certain titles for broadcast.

It's unknown what SCEA's intentions were or are for the "Let's Play" trademark as SCEA did not respond to a request for comment from Polygon. The USPTO's refusal of the application is not final; Sony has until June 29 to appeal the decision, otherwise the decision becomes final.

Last year, SCEA had a number of paperwork problems that resulted in abandoned trademarks for The Last Guardian and Bloodborne, though they were later recovered and the games and projects are still very much alive.

You can listen to this story — and many more — in the episode of Minimap, Polygon's daily news podcast, below.