Print 14 comment(s) - last by Believer.. on Nov 16 at 4:07 PM

It's been On Like Donkey Kong since 1981  (Source:
Can the phrase be trademarked is the question

Nintendo has some of the most epic gaming characters in the history of gaming. The company has been celebrating the 25th birthday of Mario this year and that's not the only popular character the gaming company has in its stable.

One of the old school arcade game classics that gamers grew up playing in the 80's was Nintendo's Donkey Kong. CNN reports that Nintendo is now trying to trademark a pop-culture phrase "On like Donkey Kong." The company has filed for the trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. According to Nintendo the phrase is, "an old, popular Nintendo phrase that has a number of possible interpretations depending on how it's used."

The catchphrase has been uttered in all manner of ways over the years and whether or not the phrase can be trademarked is up for debate. The move to trademark the phrase coincides with the launch of the latest Donkey Kong adventure by Nintendo called Donkey Kong Country Returns on November 21.

It would be easy enough to surmise that Nintendo wants to capitalize on the phrase for marketing campaigns and keep the phrase from being used without some sort of royalty payment. Nintendo could use the money with some very poor quarters recently thanks to the soaring yen and sagging sales in America.

"On Like Donkey Kong" has been uttered in music and on film over the years and has graced the front of many geeky clothing items.  Nintendo also used the phrase in a press release for the new Donkey Kong video game writing, "On Nov. 21, It's on like Donkey Kong!"

An official Nintendo statement on the phrase read, "In addition to Nintendo's use, it has been used in popular music, television and film over the years, pointing to Donkey Kong's status as an enduring pop-culture icon and video game superstar."

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Let the lawsuits be..
By Hulk on 11/11/2010 10:41:34 AM , Rating: 2
on like Donkey Kong!

RE: Let the lawsuits be..
By zephyrxero on 11/11/2010 11:37:42 AM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't the fact that they already own a trademark on "Donkey Kong" be enough if they really wanted to sue people over this phrase's use?

RE: Let the lawsuits be..
By Fracture on 11/11/2010 2:12:50 PM , Rating: 2
No - Ignoring the fact that Donkey Kong is intellectual property, imagine it like any other noun. Any person place or thing - do you think that just because someone owns it they own all language that mentions it?

Its a clear violation of free speech.

RE: Let the lawsuits be..
By Pudro on 11/11/2010 3:41:22 PM , Rating: 1
I don't blame you for using the term "intellectual property", but it is a common ignorant term whose use is meant to spread ignorance. Again, nothing against you, it is a common mistake. Your post actually is a great example of why it is bad. If actual "property rights" were granted it would indeed violate free speech rights.

To further explain your point, trademarks are meant to prevent consumer confusion in an area of commerce. If there is no confusion, if it is in a different area of commerce, or not in commerce at all, then there is no violation of the trademark at all.

RE: Let the lawsuits be..
By IcePickFreak on 11/11/2010 4:00:55 PM , Rating: 2
Due to possible legal infractions, all future references should be "on like Konkey Dong"

I don't see why the need to trademark this. No other company is going to be able to use it since Nintendo already owns the rights to "Donkey Kong," and there's no point in them stating a competitors product anyway. Do they intend to send lawyers after some kid that has the phrase on his website or it being used in a movie/TV show, song, or on a shirt? Can't see that being good for PR especially consider it was created in the public domain in the first place.

By Anoxanmore on 11/11/2010 10:33:35 AM , Rating: 5
That is awesome sauce.

For the next Zelda game they should trade mark the phrase "Exxxcuuuseee meee Princess". ;)

By nidomus on 11/11/2010 10:47:28 AM , Rating: 2
Lord. I loved those Zelda cartoons when I was a kid. I watched them again recently and realized Link is a lecher.

I didn't know...
By The Raven on 11/11/2010 3:09:11 PM , Rating: 3
...that George Lucas and/or Steve Jobs work at Nintendo!

I guess Nintendo will try anything to get a buck these days.
This crap is pathetic.

RE: I didn't know...
By farquaid on 11/12/2010 12:51:45 PM , Rating: 2
I just dont get it.

Isnt the use of that phrase free marketing for the Donkey Kong products anyway?

And now they want to punnish those who help marketing their products.

prior art?
By Cr0nJ0b on 11/11/2010 11:43:00 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not a legal guy or anything, but isn't there a concept in patent and trademark law about "prior art". Meaning you can't patent something that already exists and is in the public domain? That's probably only for patent law, but I have to say that the PTO really needs to start shooting down applications for stuff that already exists. I mean, why can't I just put in a trademark application for "Hi, my name is ..." and "I'm calling from..." and then sue all the telemarketers in the world for using my "catch phrase".

Again, I'm not a lawyer...obviously...I'm just getting tired of our outdated patent system.

RE: prior art?
By Pudro on 11/11/2010 3:30:59 PM , Rating: 2
Patents and trademarks have nothing to do with each other. Only patent law has the issues of prior art and public domain.

With trademark law, the issue is whether or not the mark is generic - which can happen before or after the trademark was created. For example, Yo-Yo was clearly not generic when it was trademarked, but was declared so later.

You actually can't just trademark your "catch phrase" for two reasons. The first is that it is generic. The second reason is that for a trademark to be valid it must be used in commerce.

By Luticus on 11/11/2010 11:01:40 AM , Rating: 2
I really hope Nintendo withdrawals this BS as i thought better of them then this. This is ridiculous... funny as hell... but ridiculous.

By XSpeedracerX on 11/11/2010 11:17:31 AM , Rating: 2
Pheonix Wright moves for a speedy dismissal!

American Pie: The Wedding
By Believer on 11/16/2010 4:07:45 PM , Rating: 2
Stifler: It's on like Donkey Kong, beeyotch.
They make use of this in American Pie even. Maybe not the best PR channel for Nintendo however...

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh
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