Nintendo Trademarks "It's On Like Donkey Kong"

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Nintendo Trademarks "It's On Like Donkey Kong"

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Nintendo hopes to own a popular phrase used to let people know that things are getting serious.

Nintendo is being really clever with its promotion of the upcoming Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Nintendo Wii. The company previously piled up 7000 bananas in a jungle lounge, and now it's filed a trademark for a widely used phrase related to the giant ape.

Nintendo has put in an official request with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office so that it can own the term: "It's on like Donkey Kong." The phrase's origin is impossible to determine, but it's been used in popular culture for years in everything from movies to rap songs.

Saying "It's on like Donkey Kong" means that something serious is about to go down. Someone using the phrase could be about to engage in a pie-eating competition, climb a mountain, or jump over rolling barrels while running up girders to save a woman from an ape. Its meaning is universal to whichever situation someone chooses to use it in.

But can Nintendo really trademark it? I'm no lawyer, but it seems dubious to me. The phrase has been used so many times in so many places that I don't see how Nintendo would be able to own it just because they own the name "Donkey Kong," but I suppose it's possible. In my opinion, Nintendo is filing the trademark as a publicity stunt so that people know Donkey Kong Country Returns comes out on November 21, a day that the company says it will be "on like Donkey Kong" in a recent press release. Just be careful using the phrase in the future, you don't want to be crushed by Nintendo's trademark enforcement apes.

Check out The Escapist's hands-on of Donkey Kong Country Returns from the New York Comic Con to see what the hubbub is about.

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I don't honestly think that will catch on...

Perhaps they are going to pop up and demand payment whenever anyone says it.

Can't recall ever hearing the phrase before.

Haha I haven't heard anyone use that phrase in so long. Jeez. Anyway, I highly doubt its possible anyway to trademark a phrase like that at this point in the game.

They trademarked "LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!"

So, to me, this at least seems plausible.

But I think everything that's used it beforehand will be treated fairly, so they don't have to pay. Only new things that use it.

... Then again... I haven't heard it since the early 2000s at least.

If anyone would say "It's on like Donkey Kong" to me, I'd seriously laugh in their face.

Wow this used to be a big joke between me and a few friends... I expect a notice of sueification to be in the post...

Btw, sueification is a word. Nintendo own it. :p

Also, any reaction From Donkey Kong as to this story?

Never heard it before and I don't want to hear it again. Doesn't even make sense .-.

I don't see why not. If Paris Hilton can trademark "That's Hot" (which she certainly didn't originate) then Nintendo should be able to trademark "It's on Like Donkey Kong."

I've never understood why people want to trademark phrases.
I like Nintendo and all, but trying to trademark a phrase puts them on the same level as Paris Hilton and Donald Trump.

Aw hell no, Nintendo. I can't allow this. It's on like Donkey Kong!

It could work. Some "famous" guy patented the phrase "Bling Bling" after it was widely used. I just remember seeing him on a Late Night w/ Such and Such commenting that he now owns it, but shortly after the phrase completely died cause no one else could use it.

In short: DO IT NINTENDO! Rid us of this line forever by patenting it.

RatRace123:
I've never understood why people want to trademark phrases.
I like Nintendo and all, but trying to trademark a phrase puts them on the same level as Paris Hilton and Donald Trump.

And perhaps Tim Langdell, who got his ass handed to him.

Dexiro:
Never heard it before and I don't want to hear it again. Doesn't even make sense .-.

If you ain't never heard Ice Cube bust that out in "Now I Gotta Wet Cha" then you need to step up your rap game.

Huh, I swore I heard something like this. Oh wait, this trailer has at 1:55 - 2:00.

ZeroMachine:
They trademarked "LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!"

So, to me, this at least seems plausible.

But I think everything that's used it beforehand will be treated fairly, so they don't have to pay. Only new things that use it.

... Then again... I haven't heard it since the early 2000s at least.

What's most important is whether other uses could be confused with the use for which Nintendo is trademarking the phrase (which I assume has something to to with marketing Nintendo and its products), not necessarily whether the other use is an old or new one.

RatRace123:
I've never understood why people want to trademark phrases.
I like Nintendo and all, but trying to trademark a phrase puts them on the same level as Paris Hilton and Donald Trump.

Because some catch phrases are so closely associated with a product and so popular that they're of significant value to their creators. For example, "got milk?"

Is "That's funny" avaible? Coz I want that.

Or "Hardcore gamers"...to put it out of its misery.

Good, maybe if Nintendo trademarks it I won't here it again.

Nintendo's friend: Hey, you are getting really popular with your catch phrases!
Nintendo: You think so?
NinFriend: Yeah, now everyone knows the name Donkey Kong! You know, one of your first games? Those were the days.
Nintendo: You know, now that everyone uses the phrase I know what I'm gotta do.
NinFriend: What?
Nintendo: BUY IT! Now no one can use that phrase without giving me money! AAAAHAHAHA!

NinFriend: You just lost a great underground commercial to an entire franchise...

Is there a source to this? Sounds like the crap I keep seeing in facebook statuses trying to get me to "click here" and then spam my meager friend list.

SaturdayS:
Is there a source to this? Sounds like the crap I keep seeing in facebook statuses trying to get me to "click here" and then spam my meager friend list.

Press release from Nintendo, believe it or not.

KEM10:
In short: DO IT NINTENDO! Rid us of this line forever by patenting it.

Trademark. You patent an idea (in the US, theoretically so you can implement it; in my other places to stop others from implementing it), you trademark a phrase or logo to distinguish it from other products. (And both of these are a separate idea from copyright.)

So yeah, Nintendo can certainly trademark the phrase but that puts no restrictions on how people can use it save for other video games using it to try to distinguish themselves in the videogame market. Like how on the back of the Disgaea box they say, "Strategy RPGs are about to get a kick in the ass!" - previous to the filing, assuming it goes through, they could have put "It's on like Donkey Kong" but now they can't.

It's actually more of a formality than anything, since the character of Donkey Kong is so widely known that a good argument can be put up that says that any use in the videogame market could be construed as trying to mislead the consumer. But I digress.

JediMB:
Can't recall ever hearing the phrase before.

stifler in american pie says it although i think he adds a "bitch" to the end of it.

Scrumpmonkey:
Perhaps they are going to pop up and demand payment whenever anyone says it.

It's on like King Kong.

What is it with Nintendo? Do they not care about the fans and that they like their games so much that its a catchphrase? They just want to copyright everything and get money, they don't care about the fans.

Wow.. There's so many things they could spend their money on and instead they decide to waste it on a single phrase. I don't know whether to applaud their "greater wisdom" or call this one of the dumbest things I've heard of today.

so they're allowed to trademark something that Byran Lee O'malley came up with?

On one hand, I can certainly see why Nintendo would want to do this. I mean, it is their character and intellectual property.

On the other hand, imagine the precedent this sets! Would be fun for Ben Croshaw to shell out two hundred fifty quid every time he says "Like God of War, but..."

RatRace123:
I've never understood why people want to trademark phrases.
I like Nintendo and all, but trying to trademark a phrase puts them on the same level as Paris Hilton and Donald Trump.

Apple tried to trademark the word "pod"

douches

Let em have it ive never heard that term in my whole life

JediMB:
Can't recall ever hearing the phrase before.

Neither can I... Maybe this is an American thing?

Korten12:
I don't honestly think that will catch on...

Well, gee, I wonder why. :)

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