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Brand Dared Sony To “Sue Us”, Stops Selling PS5 Plates Because Sony Was Suing

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Brand Dared Sony To “Sue Us”, Stops Selling PS5 Plates Because Sony Was Suing

You may remember at the very beginning of this year that company dbrand thought it was pretty untouchable. The tech accessory company had been making faceplates for the PlayStation 5 which allows for owners of the new-gen console to customise the appearance of their product.

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It was going pretty well for the company, so much so that it had a tag line "Go ahead, sue us", thinking that it wouldn't be sued for the practice as Sony wouldn't have the motivation or grounds to do so. Well... Sony threatened to sue and as any smaller company would, dbrand has now ceased production and selling of the plates.

As reported by Eurogamer, despite being confident enough to tell Sony to sue them, dbrand received a cease and desist that has to lead the company to cease production on its popular faceplates. The brand made a post on Reddit explaining and complaining about the situation, which includes details and snippets of the emails Sony sent.

"It has come to [Sony]'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 PS5 console (in both standard edition and digital edition configurations) that replicate [Sony]'s protected product design. Any faceplates that take the form of our client's PS5 product configuration, or any similar configuration, and are produced and sold without permission from [Sony] violate our client's intellectual property rights in the distinctive console design."

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Dbrand's counter-argument sort of comes in three parts and the first revolves around Netflix hit Squid Game. If you're familiar with the show, circles, triangles, and squares appear in abundance and they do look similar to symbols associated with PlayStation buttons. They in fact look more similar to the trademarked shapes than dbrand's "Illuminati Pyramid / Radiation Hazard / Skull & Crossbones / Angry Robot Head". And though two may look more similar to each other, dbrand is the one that might get sued.

Dbrand's comparision between Squid Game and PlayStation // Credit: dbrand, Netflix, Sony
Dbrand's comparision between Squid Game and PlayStation // Credit: dbrand, Netflix, Sony

The second argument seems to be that dbrand could find no evidence of the faceplates of the PlayStation 5 were trademarked. The post on Reddit says: "You'll note that no particular patent is cited with respect to our alleged infringement relating to Darkplates. This holds true for the rest of the Cease & Desist letter. Instead, they claim that the console's overall popularity means that they hold de facto rights over the shape of the console's removable side panels:

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"Thanks to our client's extensive marketing of the PS5 console, its commercial popularity and its massive earned media coverage, the console's unique product configuration, including without limitation the two vertical faceplates, has become exclusively associated with [Sony] in the minds of consumers and has come to symbolize considerable goodwill (the PS5 console design, together with the PlayStation Word Marks and Logos, the "PlayStation Marks")."

The third argument the post from dbrand makes is that if the PlayStation 5 was a car, this wouldn't be a problem. In other words, if a car is produced and in the hands of a consumer, it's fully within their rights to customise it in any way they wish. Why is this any different for the world of consoles?

Well, dbrand echos a theory which we've made ourselves - that PlayStation is planning to make their own faceplates in the future. Sony has recently revealed controllers and headsets in Midnight Black, it feels like it's only a matter of time until a console in black is revealed too.

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Credit: dbrand
Credit: dbrand

Oh and though it's a very serious situation, I'm personally amused by how Sony's lawyers absolutely knew of dbrand's "Go ahead, sue us" tagline. The Reddit post says: "Notwithstanding [Sony]'s serious concerns about dbrand's conduct and despite your company's adoption of the tagline "Go ahead, sue us." - presumably with [Sony] in mind - [Sony] would like to offer dbrand the courtesy of resolving this matter without the initiation of formal legal action." Like really come on dbrand, did you not expect to hear from Sony after a line like that?

In any case, the company has stopped selling its faceplates to comply with Sony's demands. Perhaps this is a sign that it's not too long until we'll be seeing a move from PlayStation to release their own version of the product.

Featured Image Credit: CBS / Sony

Topics: PlayStation

Imogen Mellor
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