Can you really trademark the term Pwned or Pwn
As we all know, PWN or PWNED is a slang term (which belongs to gaming the community) that implies domination or humiliation of a rival, used primarily in the Internet gaming culture to taunt an opponent that has just been soundly defeated. Past tense is sometimes spelled pwnt (pronounced with a t sound) or pwned (with the standard d sound). Examples include “distributing the pwnage” or “you just got pwned”. It can also be used, especially by non-gamers, in the context of getting “pwned” by The Man.
In the recent weeks Finnish software company Futuremark Games Studio filed papers on February 26, 2008 to protect the trademark “Pwnage” in relation to:
“… computer game software; computer game programs; computer game discs; interactive multimedia computer game program; downloadable ring tones, … multimedia software recorded on CD-ROM featuring fictional characters and computer games; pre-recorded DVD’s, video tapes, laser discs featuring movies about fictional characters, and pre-recorded compact discs featuring music; motion picture films on fictional characters…”
I only see two reasons why they would want to trademark the word. One, being that they’re trying to make a profit off of anybody who is using the word (which is almost everyone in gaming). Two, being that perhaps they are planning on developing a game based on the word. Even still, trying to trademark a word that you didn’t coin yourself is as ridiculous as attempting to trademark the word “OWNED” from which “PWNED” is derived. Many are saying that Futuremark‘s reputation will suffer from this stunt, but only time will tell.
All of this follows previously-cool Fark’s attempts to trademark “NSFW.” I say, let’s file some trademark papers on the words “n00bs,” “1337,” “hax04,” “ROTFL,” “LOL,” and “pr0n” along with “d0uchage” (thanks Kotaku). The only other famous words or phrases I know of are Donald Trump’s “You’re Fired” and Michael Buffer’s “Let’s get ready to rumble”. Could you imagine if this passes, we’ll have to come up with other words to use…how does, “You Got Crowned” sound? Hey, I never said my jokes were funny. But Seriously, I hope this sad public relations attempt fails.
“I like how they have to do this with ‘pwnage’ rather than ‘pwn.’ I say that if this ridiculous piece of crap goes through, we should start saying ‘pwnaged,’ or ‘pwnageified,’ in order to genericize it as quickly as possible.” ~ (dancinbojangles) (thanks Kotaku)
I found dancinbojangles‘ comments to ring some truth while being humorous. I even asked our fearless leader Andy from PWND.com what he felt on the issue and he had this to say:
“It is very interesting to see a company like Futuremark Games Studio trying to trademark the word “pwnage”, and the question arises, why do they want this trademark? Is it for money? Is it for a future game they are making? I, for one, do not see the point in trademarking a slang term such as ‘pwnage’ because of a couple of reasons. One being the fact that their name is Futuremark, not ‘pwnage’, and interestingly enough they issued this statement on the rebuttal the community has sprung against them: ‘Our purpose in filing for trademark on the name Pwnage is not to charge money or stop people from using the expression. That’s not what a trademark is for. Instead, we want to protect ourselves from squatters (or what I call campers) – people looking to trademark the name on false pretenses, just to make a claim against Futuremark Games Studio for its use.’
Now, in all fairness, that whole statement doesn’t make sense, just as I had explained before. Their name is FUTUREMARK, not ‘pwnage’. This directly correlates to us in many ways and puts pwned.com into a very odd situation. Although I find what they are doing wrong, is it wrong for us to trademark the word pwned? In all reality, our company name is pwned, which is registered. Now I think if a company needs to trademark the name, that is perfectly alright. I would even go as far to say that Pure Pwnage has the rights to trademark the word ‘pwnage,’ and the reason being, that is the name of their website and it is what everyone knows.
Good: As for more reference to the whole trademark issue we have: ‘noob’ (http://tarr.uspto.gov/servlet/tarr?regser=serial&entry=76664282)
So, if you can think of an awesome game-related word, we can conquer the world with Trademark Domination. We will be richer than Richie Rich! Screw spending money on the Lottery! Never go to a casino again. Perhaps this is the next sure thing!
Every day someone is getting PWNED and PWNED.com wants to be the source you use to read or view the PWNAGE happening across the world. So, thanks for reading my latest article! I am off to trademark some words: TramaPWN, Asshat, Cluster Hump, Spork, Biznatch…