It’s common for companies to trademark their characters, games and hardware – but cultural sayings revolving around them? That’s a new one.
Nintendo has filed a request with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark the phrase “It’s on like Donkey Kong”. I’ll pause a minute to let that sink in.
Ok, have you wrapped your brain around it yet? Nintendo is trying to own a phrase that has been part of the pop culture lexicon for over 20 years. It would be like Namco trying to get back royalties for Buckner & Garcia’s early-80s hit song “Pac Man Fever”. (Buckner & Garcia, incidentally, followed up that song with one called “Do the Donkey Kong”. Look out guys!)
It’s a publicity stunt, of course, meant to promote the company’s upcoming Donkey Kong game. But it’s a pretty weird one. And one, I suspect, that will quickly fall by the wayside once the launch window is over.