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It's been On Like Donkey Kong since 1981  (Source: SliceofSciFi.com)
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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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.


"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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