There’s a New “Ocarina of Time” Trademark. What Does This Mean?

Attribution @RicardoSaramago

Legend of Zelda fans, may be rejoicing very soon, because Nintendo is working on getting a new Zelda trademark. In the U.S., Europe, and Australia, Nintendo has an active trademark application for “OCARINA OF TIME” (see U.S. Serial No. 79289927) (see EUIPO Filing No. W01541698 ) (see AU trademark number 2105665 / IR number 1541698).

The three applications were all filed in international class 009 and were all filed on May 14, 2020 (but was designated as being officially received by the  European and Australian trademark offices on July 23, 2020), and have a different list of goods and services, which are:

United States:

Recorded electronic game programs; downloadable electronic game programs; recorded video game programs; downloadable video game programs; video game cartridges; cases for smartphones; covers for smartphones; downloadable image files containing artwork, text, audio, videos relating to video games; downloadable music files; downloadable electronic publications, namely, fiction stories, booklets, manuals and newsletters in the field of video games

Europe  / Australia:

Electronic game programs; downloadable electronic game programs; video game programs; downloadable video game programs; video game cartridges; memory cards for video game machines; cases for smartphones; covers for smartphones; computer game software, downloadable; computer game software, recorded; computer programs, recorded; computer programs, downloadable; compact discs [audio-video]; downloadable image files; downloadable music files; electronic publications, downloadable.

Ocarina of Time is a direct reference to the video game “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time,” (OoT) which Nintendo originally released in November 1998 for the Nintendo 64 home console. The game has left an imprint in the gaming community that will last for several generations, as not only is OoT widely recognized as the greatest video game of all time, but it is also credited as being the game that helped Nintendo redefine video games as we know it and brought the gaming industry back from the brink of destruction.

At its time, OoT was revolutionary, as it was the first video game that allowed players to save their game, the first game to introduce a targeting system for fighting enemies or interacting with NPCs (non-playable characters), and was one of the first games to have an expansive world with expansive lore. Dan Houser, the Creative Vice President and Head Writer at Rockstar Games, acknowledged Zelda’s importance in the video game industry pretty bluntly in a 2012 interview with the New York Times when he said that “anyone who makes 3-D games who says they’ve not borrowed something from Mario or Zelda is lying – from the games on Nintendo 64 . . . .”

For those of you who might this that this is just a renewal application for the original Ocarina of Time trademark, the reason why that does not seem likely to be the case, is because Nintendo already has active trademark registrations for “THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME” in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. Furthermore, those three trademarks are not due for renewal until 2028 (for the U.S.), December 6, 2020 (for Europe), and November 29, 2020 (for Australia). Since they already have active trademarks for this mark, it doesn’t make sense to file a new trademark as a renewal for an already existing trademark.

For those who stay up-to-date on the franchise, you would already know that in June 2019, Nintendo released a trailer for the sequel game to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (BoTW). The sequel was not given an official name, so the discovery of a new Zelda-related trademark raises the question of whether Ocarina of Time will refer to the official name of the BoTW sequel, or is this in reference to an entirely different Zelda title? If Nintendo intends to actively use this trademark for the goods listed, then this seems to be an indication that a new Zelda video game may possibly be in the works . . . maybe a new game besides the BoTW sequel.

Is Nintendo going to follow in the footsteps of Final Fantasy 7 and remake Ocarina of Time with new, updated graphics, combat system, and an extended plot? At this point, we can only cross our fingers and hope that Nintendo will finally make all of our Zelda dreams come true. Yes, Nintendo has re-released OoT when it ported it over to the Nintendo Gamecube in 2003 with the original game and the master quest version; and again in 2007 when the game was ported over to the Nintendo Wii’s virtual console; and again in 2011 when Nintendo released a remake for the 3DS. However, many would argue that those felt more like a re-skin of the game rather than an actual remake.

The Legend of Zelda is personally my favorite video game franchise, so I am very excited to see what games might come in the future from this trademark.

You can view the U.S. trademark application here, the Australian trademark application here, and the European trademark application here.

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