Nintendo Wants ''It's On Like Donkey Kong'' TM

Wednesday Nintendo said that it had filed a request with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark the long-standing, pop-culture phrase "It's on like Donkey Kong." The news arrives just ahead of the long-awaited launch of Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii console, one of many franchise “reboots” slated for the Nintendo latest console in the next few months.

"For those unfamiliar with the term, "It's on like Donkey Kong" is an old, popular Nintendo phrase that has a number of possible interpretations depending on how it's used," Nintendo explains. "In addition to Nintendo's use, it has been used in popular music, television and film over the years, pointing to Donkey Kong's status as an enduring pop-culture icon and video game superstar."

GameSpot dug up a few examples of the phrase in use, pointing to Steve Stifler in the movie American Wedding and an Oreo Double-Stuff commercial featuring the Williams sisters and Manning brothers. Rapper Ice Cube was also noted to popularizing the phrase by using it in his 1992 track "Now I Gotta Wet'cha" off The Predator album.

But there's a question of whether the phrase actually belongs to Nintendo. The Urban Dictionary actually does note Ice Cube's use of the phrase in the track, but states that it's unknown whether he was the person who originally coined the phrase.

"Many people incorrectly assume the phrase's origins are from various movies in which it is used but term was popularized by rapper Ice Cube when he used the phrase in the song 'Now I gotta Wet'cha' off his Predator album in 1992," the entry reads. "It is unknown at this time whether Ice Cube was the person that originally coined the phrase."

So what does "It's on like Donkey Kong" mean? The Urban Dictionary defines it as "a phrase to denote that it's time to throw down or compete at a high level; something is about to go down."

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • digitalrazoe
    Open Letter to Nintendo:
    Dear Nintendo....
    No, you cant have the phrase "It's on Like Donkey Kong".
    Thank you ..
    The people that play Donkey Kong. (It's on! YO!)
  • rhino13
    I think Nintendo should have to pay royalties to Ice Cube for this phrase.
    It's like free advertising.
    And lets face it Nintendo doesn't have a competitive console right now so they better have some good advertising.
  • xantek24
    how about this one: "Let's go like Mario bros." (yes i just came up with that) Nintendo gotta go back to the tm office for that or pay my royalties :)
  • number1guy
    Are you seriously using Urban Dictionary to get your facts from? LMAO.
  • georgewill
    This is most ridiculous patent request a corporation has ever come up with. The phrase has become ingrained within popular culture to the extent that it would be inappropriate to limit its legal usage to the discretion of a single entity.
  • t_wilson
    Only Nintendo could want to trademark such a stupid phrase.
  • mlopinto2k1
    This phrase is not stupid. It is a very popular social phrase and the urban dictionary is dead accurate for it's description. I know, when I say, "It's on like Donkey Kong".. it means I mean business. The term is used because Donkey Kong is a big bad ass mother fu**er.
  • Albyint
    Is this anything like Paris Hilton's "That's Hot" or w/e?

    Why would nintendo even RISK the negative impact that could have?
  • husker
    That's wrong like Donkey Kong
  • MxM
    georgewillThis is most ridiculous patent request Trademark, not patent.
    And it is not most stupid either. Some companies tried to trademark colors...