Today quite a few media outlets alleged that Sony might have trademarked the PlayStation Vita 3000 in Japan, after someone found the the tweet embedded at the bottom of this post, tweeted by a Japanese trademark reporting bot.
Should we be excited? Is Sony going to dazzle us with a brand new PS Vita model at E3?
No. Or at least this trademark is absolutely no indication of that, as a few minutes of simple research easily demonstrated.
The “(位置商標)” in the trademark should have been the first alarm bell. It means “positional trademark.” Basically, the trademark is not about a design, but about a position of an element within a product. If you’re wondering, this article provides a detailed explanation of what a positional trademark is.
Secondly, at the same time Sony registered a second trademark, number 2015-30226, showing a DualShock controller. This should have been the second alarm bell.
So what is this all about? The solution is easily found by actually searching the trademark in the database of the Japan Patent Office, since the bot only tweets part of the relevant text.
The search yields the following PDF files, with the full trademark registrations.
The trademark description provides the information we need about its nature. It basically says that the trademark is related to the three-dimensional position of the face buttons (the square, circle, X and triangle buttons) on the upper right of a portable console, and it actually specifies that the parts displayed with the dashed lines are just an example of the shape of the console, and are not part of the trademark.
Of course a similar notion is included in the trademark for the DualShock buttons as well.
In fact, the only solid part in the designs are the four face buttons themselves. Everything else is dashed, as it’s just a mock-up of the shape to indicate the position of the buttons the trademark is actually about. This use of dashed lines is, mind you, very common in positional trademarks.
Incidentally, some of the outlets that erroneously reported about the alleged registration of this imaginary “PS Vita 3000” talked about unidentified ports and additional triggers. That’s pure fantasy, as the design actually reproduces just an original PS Vita PCH-1000 3G (the “port” on the left is just the slot for the sim. Some mistakenly thought it could be a HDMI port).
All the ports are the same, and the only differences are the start, select and PS buttons, which are round instead of oval, but that’s irrelevant, because at the trademark description states, it’s just a positional mock-up.
Could Sony be planning a new iteration of the PS Vita? Maybe. We have no way to know, but this trademark offers absolutely no hint of that.
[商願2015-30227] 商標:[画像] (位置商標) / 出願人:株式会社ソニー・コンピュータエンタテインメント / 出願日:2015年4月1日 / 区分:28(携帯用液晶画面ゲーム機用のコントローラー) pic.twitter.com/TehVjHaUNc
— 商標速報bot (@trademark_bot) April 20, 2015