Sony decides its application for a trademark on the term “shock and awe” for its PlayStation videogames unit isn’t worth the criticism:
- There have been press reports to the effect that Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), a subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. has filed a trademark application for the term “Shock and Awe” as an attempt to capitalize on the tragic events surrounding Iraq. SCEA did in fact file such an application.
Sony Corporation and SCEI management concurs with the views of those who have expressed strong criticisms regarding this conduct by the subsidiary. It was an exercise of regrettable bad judgment in that it disregarded the context in which the term has been used. SCEA will withdraw this application. Steps will be taken to heighten awareness throughout the Sony Group so as not to repeat such issues.
In other words, war games are all the rage, but there must be some psychic and chronological distance between current events and their digital simulation or people get pissed.
A little background:
- The application, dated March 21, was first discovered by British publication Media Guardian.
Sony was not the only company hoping to profit from the label. The U.S. Patent and Trademark office has more than a dozen recent applications for uses of the phrase, including for fireworks, lingerie, baby toys, shampoo and consulting services.
Michael Knight of Irving, Texas, who has a business that makes plastic details for the plumbing industry, has applied for a “Shock & Awe” trademark on pesticides and herbicides.
“I interviewed family and friends and strangers, and they all thought it would be a great name for a product like that,” Knight said. “Not one has said it would be a bad name.”
Knight hoped that Monsanto or some other manufacturer could sell “Shock & Awe” pesticides under his label.
“You want to shock the bug, and then you want to be awed when you come back and see it gone,” he said. [AP]
Um, yeah. At least bugs don’t have friends and relatives killed or injured in recent combat, or at least they can’t complain about it.
The phrase “shock and awe” was coined, but apparently not trademarked, by military strategist Harlan Ullman in a 1996 publication. He used it to describe the tactic of inducing the enemy to give up with little fighting after a display of overwhelming force.