Random: Here’s why Nintendo doesn’t want you to use the word “Nintendo” to describe video games

If you’ve been browsing the internet as long as we have, you may have come across a 1990 Nintendo store poster correcting its users on how to use the word “Nintendo”.

While this ad might seem like Mario teaching your grandmother a lesson in grammar, when this image first hit the internet it was passed off as simply Nintendo’s usual pomposity. a company that arrogantly tells its fanbase what they can and can’t do.

however, it has something more personally reason to exist.

Now one might think “Calling everything ‘Nintendo’ would certainly be very beneficial for the Big N? It’s free advertising and it sets the competition apart.” And yes, while it would be more profitable to weed out competing products, in the world of trademark law it literally is worst what can happen to a company.

You see, to get a brand for your product, service or business, it has to be maximum specific word or words to describe it. For example, you could never trademark the term “video game” because not only is it an incredibly broad term, but it’s also part of the public lexicon; a term everyone uses to describe the medium.

This all comes from the US Fritz G. Lanham Trademark Act of 1946, where Section 15 contains the clause:

(4) No final right shall be acquired in a mark which is a generic designation for the goods or services, or part thereof, for which it is registered.

In other words, as long as your brand is unique, and remains unique, you are golden!

Unfortunately for business, the English language is one of them constant developed and expanded. Also in the last twenty years several product names have become part of the lexicon. If you use a vacuum cleaner, do you call it a “vacuum cleaner”? Do you use “cello tape” or “duct tape”? How many times have you looked online at a picture you suspect is fake and said, “It looks like it was photoshopped,” or “googled” it for information?

And like Nintendo, both Adobe and Google have made public requests asking their users to change their wording, fearing the same loss.

Image: Nintendo

So if a protected word does Once they become part of the public lexicon, they are considered “generated”; In other words, an adjective becomes a noun. And when that happens, their use can be legally challenged everyone.

For example, Apple only lost the rights to trademark the terms “app” and “app store” in 2019 after Amazon challenged them in court to use the terms on its line of tablets.

Even big brands like Coca-Cola are currently on shaky ground to lose their trademark cola as a vast majority of people ask for “cola” in a restaurant despite asking for it any Cola drink, not specifically from Coca Cola. It’s something the lexicon has evolved to describe the drink no matter how many times your waiter replies: “…Will Pepsi do?”.

With such a trademark possibly entering the public domain at the time, Sega could have legally named their console “Nintendo Saturn,” or Sony could have named their console “Nintendo Play Station.” (Good yes) but you get it

From suing everyone from Blockbuster that rents their titles to companies that made their own cartridges… losing the trademark to “Nintendo” was what the company literally feared most about its market dominance in 1990.

Long story short if you don’t want everything in gaming to be branded as “Nintendo” going forward, whether the company made it or not. Next time your grandma will ask if you play like this gloriole Be sure to correct their adjectives on one of your Nintendo (or encourage them if you’re a pretty vengeful Sony or Xbox fan!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.