Since Sony did not use the trademark in the European Union, the right to use the Vita name has been partially released…
The European Union’s General Court has ruled that the name has been released for use by others in the categories of ‘data carrier carrying programs’ or ‘audio and/or image carriers’, as Sony has not touched the trademark of the handheld (which was launched in the West in 2012) for years. The ‘blues’ registered the name mainly as a game-playing device and retained the right to use the name in this category but lost the other two.
The Kluwer Trademark Blog reported that the General Court has agreed that this trademark can be revoked in these categories due to non-use. Sony proved that the patent was still in use for the PlayStation Vita handheld. Still, the Board of Appeal rejected the evidence after the Cancellation Division, hence Sony’s “disqualification”.
According to the reasoning, although the PlayStation Vita can be used as a storage device or as a sound and/or video carrier, these functions of the handheld were not the primary function of the platform, as the Vita was intended by Sony to be used primarily for video games. It has also been argued that the Vita’s data, audio or video capabilities were not central to the handheld’s marketing, and therefore not the primary use of the handheld platform by consumers, which was still going strong in Japan after it failed in the West.
+This serves as a reminder to games companies that trade marks, if not used in commerce, may be later open to challenge for non-use,” wrote Wiggin, a London-based law firm, about the PlayStation Vita case, which started in Japan in 2011 and went into its coffin in 2019. With the sword of Damocles already hanging over the PlayStation Store (developers can no longer send games to it…), the platform will soon be dead.
Somewhere this was to be expected. Vita is Latin for life, so there are quite a few ways to use the name…