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Plugged In

Nintendo tries to trademark popular catchphrase

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Chocolate Collector

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It's SO on.

Have you ever heard the phrase, "It's on like Donkey
Kong?" Nintendo sure has, and they want it Donkey Kong.

Crazy, but true. The company has officially announced
the filing of a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office "to
trademark the pop-culture phrase 'It's on like Donkey Kong.'"

Why now? As Nintendo puts it, they filed the trademark
"in honor of the upcoming Nov. 21 launch of Donkey Kong Country
Returns." Or, as they'd like to
put it, "On Nov. 21, It's on like Donkey KongTM!"

But while Nintendo obviously owns the rights to the world
famous video game gorilla, their claim to the catchphrase is a bit dubious.

For one thing, "it's on like Donkey Kong" is the
opening line of rapper Ice Cube's 1992 track, "Now I Gotta Wet'cha."
If Nintendo wants to challenge Ice Cube for ownership, they better bring more
than just some barrels.

Nintendo even acknowledges the phrase's public usage,
pointing out that it "has been used in popular music, television and film over the
years." It even has its own entry: "A phrase to denote that it's
time to throw down or compete at a high level; something is about to go down."

Is it wise for Nintendo to claim ownership of a saying that has belonged to its
public for so long? Do they risk rebranding Donkey Kong from a family-friendly
ape into a greedy gorilla who steals helpless catchphrases and hurls flaming

Only time -- and Ice Cube -- will tell.


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