Nintendo Trademarks

Nintendo is the world’s largest video game company (by revenue) with a history that traces back to 1880’s Japan. Initially started as a handmade Hanafuda supplier, it is now a multinational consumer electronics company headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. Nintendo is thought to be worth around 95 billion dollars.

Popular Nintendo trademarks 

With over 100+ years of trading and a huge market share of the gaming industry, nobody will be shocked to hear that Nintendo has an immense catalog of trademarks. Let’s take a look at some of Nintendo’s most prolific trademarks. 


The name Nintendo was trademarked with the USPTO in 1989. The trademark applies to the following categories: 

  • Prerecorded audio and videotapes
  • Watches and costume jewelry
  • Printed items such as notebooks, memo pads, and posters 
  • Publishing
  • Entertainment services
  • Trading cards
  • Backpacks and travel bags
  • Public exhibitions
  • Domestic utensils and containers such as lunch mails and lunchboxes
  • Home textiles like bedding, curtains, and table covers
  • Clothing
  • Embroidered patches for clothing
  • Action figures and plush dolls
  • Games, including electronic games, video game machines, and non-electronic toys
  • Processed breakfast cereals
  • Cookies and crackers

Donkey Kong 

Donkey Kong is a fictional ape seen in the Mario video game series. This character is usually considered the main Donkey Kong. DK was created by Shigeru Miyamoto and first appeared as the antagonist of the eponymous 1981 game. A new Donkey Kong was made in 1994 with the Donkey Kong Country series release. The wordmark Donkey Kong was initially registered in 1985 and applied to the following categories: 

  • Art supplies such as coloring books, adhesive stickers, and rub-on transfers
  • Textiles such as bed covers and table cloths
  • Children’s clothing
  • Games and playthings, including handheld video game cartridges and other electronic devices, plus traditional games like action figures and puzzles
  • Staple foods like candy and chewing gum

The Legend of Zelda 

The Legend of Zelda is a fantasy game franchise created by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. Nintendo designed and published most of the Zelda series, with some installments being outsourced to Capcom. The gameplay puts together action RPG elements with action-adventure. The latest Zelda game is an HD remake of the beloved Skyward Sword released in July 2021. Other notable Zelda games include Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Ocarina of Time, Phantom Hourglass, the Wind Waker, and several more, including remasters.

There are several Zelda trademarks; however, this specific wordmark ”The Legend of Zelda” was registered in 1987 and covered only one category: 

  • Electronic game programs and equipment with a video output display

Kirby’s Dreamland 

Kirby’s Dreamland was released in the USA in 1992. It’s a side-scrolling platform game published by Nintendo and was released onto the Game Boy. It’s the first game in the Kirby series and is considered Kirby’s debut. The trademark was registered in 1992 in only one category: 

  • Video game software and electronic game platforms


The first Pokemon game was released in 1996. The name Pokemon is an abbreviation of ‘Pocket Monsters’ and refers to the circa 900 fictional species that appear in Pokemon media. The wordmark ‘Pokemon’ was registered in 1998 and applied to the following categories: 

  • Greeting cards, activity cards, and stationery
  • Television programs in the field of children’s entertainment
  • Providing a website featuring entertainment information in electronic game programs and related topics
  • Dinnerware, cups, bowls, and plates
  • Game cards, plush dolls, and toy action figures 
  • Games and toys
  • Key chains
  • Calendars
  • Board games
  • Clothing, including fancy dress costumes
  • Athletic bags and gym bags

Super Mario Bros 

Part of the Mario Kart franchise, Super Mario Bros is the successor to Mario Bros’ game and is the first in the Super Mario series. It was released in 1985. Players control Mario or his brother Luigi as they travel the Mushroom Kingdom saving Princesses and defeating foes, avoiding traps and pits with the help of power-ups such as the Super Mushroom and Starman. The first use was in 1985, but the word mark ‘Super Mario Bros’ wasn’t registered with the USPTO until 2000. The registration applies to: 

  •  Use with video game software, video game programs, and associated technology

Nintendo Switch 

The Nintendo Switch was launched in 2017 and is a tablet that can be docked and used as a typical console or used on the go as a portable device, making it one of the first widely available hybrid consoles. The OLED screen version was released in 2021. Nintendo Switch games are available digitally and on ROM cartridges. An entirely handheld version, the Nintendo Switch Lite was released in 2019. The trademark was approved in 2018 and covered the following categories: 

  • Memory cards/cartridges containing stories, puzzles, and video games
  • Computer game software and programs
  • Parental control-based software
  • Games for handheld video games
  • Computer game machines
  • Action figures
  • Non-downloadable and downloadable video games
  • Video game samples


The Wii, released in 2006 by Nintendo, is a popular home video game console. It represents Nintendo’s fifth major home game console, following the GameCube. It’s a seventh-generation home console alongside Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PS3. The trademark was registered in 2008 after being applied for in 2006. The wordmark applies to the following categories: 

  • Stationery including calendars, pens, and notepads
  • Posters and printed matter
  • Optical discs and CDs featuring entertaining content based on video games
  • Cellphones and related accessories
  • Sharing and providing information about recreational activities
  • Providing non-downloadable sounds, images, and game samples
  • Associated videos and photographs
  • Game services, particularly online services
  • Game competitions and exhibitions

Super NES 

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (commonly known as super NES or SNES) is a 16-bit video game console released by Nintendo in the early 1990s. Japanese Nintendo released it as the Super Famicom, and in South Korea, it is known as the Super Comboy. The trademark for Super NES was officially registered in 2012, despite the first recorded use being in 1992. The trademark applies to these categories: 

  • Downloadable multimedia files related to video games
  • Video game programs and software. Toys such as play figurines and stuffed animals

Animal Crossing 

Animal Crossing, initially released in 2001, is a social simulation game series published by Nintendo. The series was created by Hisashi Nogami and Katsuya Eguchi. The game is totally open-ended, and you can do various activities like bug catching, fossil hunting, and fishing. There are five animal crossing games, including games released on the Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and Switch. Animal Crossing was trademarked in 2001 in the following categories: 

  • Optical discs for computer games
  • Magazines and other published material related to video games
  • Clothing
  • Clothing for pets

Game Boy Advance 

The Game Boy Advance is a sixth-generation video game console released by Nintendo in 2001. The wordmark for ‘Game Boy Advance’ was registered in 2002 and covered the following categories: 

  • Electronic game products
  • Card games
  • Memory cards and optical storage
  • Controllers and other accessories for games consoles

Wrapping up 

Nintendo is an almost unrivaled corporate giant with an astounding level of wealth, part of that wealth is their brand value and intellectual property. Protecting your assets is a vital component of survival with a company of this size. Nintendo has around 450 active trademarks in addition to a few dozen trademark applications, mainly for new games and projects in development. 

Xavier Morales, Esq.

About the Author:

Xavier Morales, Esq.

Mr. Morales founded this trademark law practice in January 2007 with the goal of providing intellectual property expertise to entrepreneurs and businesses around the country. Since then, he has filed more than 6,000 trademarks with the USPTO. You can learn more about Xavier here.

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