You might not remember since February 2021 was actually 19 years ago, but earlier this year phone and console skin makers Dbrand released a set of black PS5 faceplates .Not content with merely releasing them, though, the company also bizarrely baited Sony to sue them, and Sony is now obliging.
A page from Dbrand’s site that knew this day was coming Image: Dbrand As The Verge report , Dbrand’s “Darkplates” have recently been removed from the company’s store, and any purchasing links now redirect to a page that only lists all the news articles written about the plates, including the Gizmodo story linked above .
Why pull them now? Because the company received a cease & desist letter from Sony, part of which says :
It has come to SIE’s attention that dbrand has been promoting and selling console accessories in a manner that is deeply concerning to our client.First, dbrand is selling faceplates for the PSS console (in both standard edition and digital edition configurations) that replicate SIE’s protected product design.Any faceplates that take the form of our client’s PSS product configuration, or any similar configuration, and are: produced and sold without permission from SIE violate our client’s intellectual property rights in the distinctive console design.
Second, dbrand is selling skins for SIE devices that feature the PlayStation Family Mark Your company may not sell products that bear unauthorized depictions of our client’s PlayStation Marks.
The below still from one of dbrand’s instructional videos shows a dbrand skin bearing a design identical to the PlayStation Family Mark.
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Buy for $300 at Best Buy For their part, Dbrand have responded with a rambling corporate shitpost on Reddit , which opens with “much like your hopes and dreams, Darkplates are dead” before eventually settling into actual legal defences of their position, saying the plates don’t violate any existing trademarks.Dbrand suspects that Sony’s actual motivation here is moving to shut down competitors before revealing its own, first-party replacement panels for the PS5.
Note that this isn’t the first company Sony has gone after like this.CustomizeMyPlates were also forced to halt sales of their own coloured replacement plates in 2020 , though in their case they resumed sales earlier this year and have been undisturbed since, perhaps because their versions don’t include tiny logos that look a lot like actual PlayStation icons.
News DISCUSSION By DumBeetle I don’t actually think you’d win the argument that a skull, a radiation symbol and other square-ish and triangular-ish shapes are infringing on Sony’s trademark.Hell, Squid Game used three out of the four symbols in a very similar style in a gaming-related context and that was fine.
The actual letter (which, yes, I have read because it’s in the original report that Kotaku is rehashing) shows a much more relevant instance where one of Dbrand’s skins is using the actual PS logo, which is probably why Dbrand is chickening out on this one.
I think the idea that the faceplate shape and general design itself is protected is more interesting but also iffy as hell.I can see how Dbrand wouldn’t want to fight that for the probably tiny amount of money they were making from these, but I don’t know that they would have lost on those grounds.I kinda hope that they remove the actual trademarks from all their stuff (that is, the PS logo, not the clearly distinct shapes) and put these back up for sale, because Sony’s argument that you shouldn’t be able to buy faceplates from anybody but Sony because the shape of the console’s outer plate is trademarked is extremely bad and has pretty rough right to repair implications that should be challenged.
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