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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April, 2003, 04:55 GMT 05:55 UK
Sony in 'shock and awe' blunder
Metal Gear Solid
Games firms have to tread carefully at present
Electronics giant Sony has admitted "regrettable bad judgement" in attempting to register the phrase "shock and awe" - derived from US military tactics in Iraq - for its computer games division.

The company said it had withdrawn a trademark filing in the US for the phrase, which refers to the deliberately intimidating bombing techniques used in the early phase of the war.

The company said it had had no specific plans for the phrase, but it could have been used for one of the many shoot-'em-up games on its Playstation console.

"[Sony] concurs with the views of those who have expressed strong criticisms regarding this conduct," it said in a statement.

"Steps will be taken to heighten awareness throughout the Sony Group so as not to repeat such issues."

Name game

This is the second such case in recent weeks: three weeks ago, the German Government was angered by a US-produced game that it claimed set out to glorify the war in Iraq.

And a host of companies have been caught filing inappropriate trademarks.

Most recently, UK sportswear firm Umbro and German engineering giant Siemens were both criticised for using the brand-name Zyklon - the same name as the gas used in Nazi death camps.

In most cases of this kind, the blunder was made by staff at a subsidiary, causing red faces at head office.

Many companies, especially those in consumer businesses, routinely register hundreds of trademarks - many of which may never be used.

Charles Scanlon, BBC Tokyo Correspondent
"It was the second day of the war in Iraq and 'shock and awe' was the phrase of the moment..."

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