The company that told Sony to “go ahead, sue us” has pulled replacement PlayStation 5 plates from sale after Sony threatened to sue them.
In February, Canadian-based device customization company Dbrand launched its replacement PS5 plates, dubbed Darkplates, with a brazen attitude towards the prospect of a Sony takedown.
“With the release of Darkplates, the unthinkable has happened,” Dbrand said at the time. “We’ve taken Sony’s monumental achievement in bad design … and fixed it. We can only assume that our prizes are in the mail.”
Dbrand’s plates contain a microscopic texture, as do the official PS5 plates, but it’s slightly different to Sony’s PlayStation face button design.
“When you look at this microscopic texture inside the Darkplates, what do you see?” Dbrand said in a section of its website subtitled “Totally legal”.
“If your answer is ‘a familiar-but-legally-distinct apocalyptic spin on the classic PlayStation button shapes,’ you might be one of our lawyers.”
“Go ahead, sue us,” read the top of the website.
Dbrand said it subsequently received a letter from Sony threatening legal action – and it has now complied with the demands.
In a reddit post bemoaning the action from Sony, Dbrand said “Darkplates are dead”.
In the cease and desist letter, which Dbrand has published online but not dated, lawyers representing Sony accuses the company of trademark and copyright infringement as well as counterfeiting.
The letter goes on to demand Dbrand pull all marketing, promotion and sales of Darkplates worldwide.
“If Dbrand refuses to cooperate in full with these demands,” the letter continues, “or delays in responding to this letter, our client will be forced to take the actions it deems necessary to protect its valuable intellectual property rights.”
Dbrand’s expletive-packed reddit post takes issue with the action, and highlights Sony’s complaint about the similarity between PS5 plates and the Darkplates design, even using Netflix hit show Squid Game to defend itself:
“… did you know that Sony believes our distinctive and original ‘Illuminati Pyramid / Radiation Hazard / Skull & Crossbones / Angry Robot Head’ symbols, engraved inside the Darkplates, infringe on their trademarked button shapes? How the fuck did Squid Game get away with it? “
Dbrand also makes the more general point that consumers should have the right to choose which parts they use to modify, upgrade or repair their console.
The PS5 plates do come off with a bit of fiddling about – as Sony itself revealed in the run up to the November 2020 launch of the console. At the time it was felt Sony planned to sell its own official replacement plates, although the company has yet to announce such a product.
Dbrand speculates Sony may intend to launch its own black faceplates or is working on a licensing model “where they have a monopoly over custom faceplates”.
The upshot is Dbrand has complied with Sony’s demands. The Darkplates page on its website now contains a list of lists to articles on the product, including one by Eurogamer.
However, Dbrand insisted it is only agreeing to the takedown “for now”.
“While we strongly believe in the consumer’s right to customize and modify their hardware with aftermarket components, your Darkplates are now a collector’s item,” Dbrand said.
“You know what they say – you either die a Darkplates owner, or you live long enough to see yourself become the scalper.
“In closing, fuck you and especially fuck Sony. Talk soon.”