Images: PlateStation5.com

Sony’s legal team has officially ended the hopes and dreams of the company behind PlateStation5.com, a UK-based site that was hawking customizable plates for the next-gen console.

The site began taking orders for customizable plates shortly after Sony’s PlayStation 5 teardown video hit the web and revealed that they could be removed and switched for aesthetic purposes, but the Japanese giant’s lawyers quickly pounced with legal complaints that forced PlateStation 5 to rebrand itself into something less infringing (i.e., CustomizeMyPlates.com).

That didn’t satisfy Sony, though, who has now decided that these customizable plates can’t be sold at all because they breach intellectual property rights.

To avoid getting sued into oblivion, PlateStation5.com’s owners are refunding all previous orders and shifting to a more legal means of business, such as console skins.

“Before we launched, we did our due diligence and were of the opinion, that because Sony only had pending patents on the faceplates there would be no problem,” CustomizeMyPlates told Video Games Chronicle via email.

“But after only a day of our website being live, Sony’s lawyers asked us to change our name (at the time PlateStation5), due to trademark infringements. We thought this switch would be enough to keep everyone happy, and honestly were hoping so since we were already underway with our product development.”

“But then Sony’s lawyers told us it was their opinion, Sony’s intellectual property extended to the faceplates, and that if we continued to sell and distribute them in any country, we would end up in court.”

“This all came to light yesterday and we are now cancelling and refunding all faceplate orders worldwide… we are extremely disappointed about this but we have no other option.”

We’re guessing that Sony has plans to sell first-party plates of its own, which is great news in light of the popular sentiment that the PlayStation 5 is a giant eyesore. Customizable plates based on God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and other hit franchises are practically a given.

This level of customization hearkens back to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console, which features swappable faceplates.

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11 Comments

  1. Wow. One of the coolest things about the ugly PS5 I thought was the customizable options the PS5 would have with being able to switch out the covers.

  2. Hmm… this reads like Big Bad Sony, but I bet little UK underdog didn’t ask about licensing, or just flat ignored a “No”

  3. My guess is that had they not been so blatant with their website and company name, they might have been fine.

    Once they crossed that line, they were a target for legitimate crushing.

    I think it is legally questionable to claim intellectual property rights prohibit others from making custom parts for your product, with or without permission.

    That same argument could be made to try to stop a 3rd party from – for example – making third party rubber floor mats for a car, or bed liners for a truck, etc.

    But what do I know. I’m not a lawyer.

  4. I just want to say that the PS5 looks sexy in all black like the shot for the post. I want one now. Why, Sony, why?!

  5. [QUOTE=”Armenius, post: 22652, member: 180″]
    I just want to say that the PS5 looks sexy in all black like the shot for the post. I want one now. Why, Sony, why?!
    [/QUOTE]

    I don’t think I’ve ever bought electronics for aesthetic purposes :p

  6. [QUOTE=”Armenius, post: 22652, member: 180″]
    I just want to say that the PS5 looks sexy in all black like the shot for the post. I want one now. Why, Sony, why?!
    [/QUOTE]
    I just want to say that the PS5 looks ugly and impractical and no custom faceplate would’ve helped it. But regardless of that this kind of action just sends a clear message not just to the faceplate guys but to consumers as well. And the message is: WE DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU.

    My willingness to buy a ps5 anytime soon just decreased by 50% thanks to this.

  7. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 22653, member: 203″]
    I don’t think I’ve ever bought electronics for aesthetic purposes :p
    [/QUOTE]
    I don’t buy them for aesthetic purposes but if a device that serves a purpose is ugly af, I’ll not buy it.

  8. [URL unfurl=”true”]https://www.polygon.com/22832039/ps5-cover-plate-colors-new-dualsense-controllers[/URL]

    $54.99 for an “official” plain, single color faceplate.

    WTF are they smoking. Pre-order now…

  9. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 22595, member: 96″]
    Hmm… this reads like Big Bad Sony, but I bet little UK underdog didn’t ask about licensing, or just flat ignored a “No”
    [/QUOTE]

    I don’t see why licensing should even be required.

    These are separate accessories. Sony should shove off.

    Does weathertech need to license the permission to provide floor mats to cars from the manufacturer? No. That’s not how it works.

    This is classic abuse of “deepest pockets” type legal tactics, where if this went to court, I don’t think it is clear at all that Sony would win, but a tiny UK company doesn’t have the resources to fight it in court without bankrupting themselves.

    It is pretty shameful (but not unexpected) of Sony.

    If the world worked the way Sony seems to think it does, you could never aftermarket customize anything.

  10. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 45032, member: 203″]
    Does weathertech need to license the permission to provide floor mats to cars from the manufacturer?
    [/QUOTE]
    That depends.

    If you are able to completely engineer your product without input from the manufacturer — in the case of Weathertech, they use laser somethingoranother to measure and make their floor mats — then no, you don’t need it. There’s no reason that said front panel manufacturer for PS5 could not do the same — you need to have an original concept derived from original or entirely clean-room reverse-engineered work. And you can’t use the manufacturer’s name in advertising your product, you can’t claim any endorsement from them, and you probably shouldn’t impact the operation or warranty from them either. I think the faceplate folks probably cleared this hurdle, although Sony could make a case that they took the existing faceplate design and just replicated it rather than coming up with their own manufacturing design (a plausible claim, although you’d need some way to prove that, if injection molding supports or something lined up).

    But if you are in the unenviable position of only offering your product for one manufacturer and not ~every~ manufacturer, you can expect to get targeted. Here, Weathertech doesn’t just make Ford floor mats, they make them for all kinds of cars. If they did make them for just Ford, you can bet Ford would raise an eyebrow.

    Was this a case of strongarming by Sony – absolutely. And the UK underdog maybe could have won in court if they had the means to take it there. But the fact that they are just making Sony faceplates gives Sony an avenue to attack, this company is only targeting Sony products, and seeking to profit from Sony without any form of agreement.

    I think that’s the only reason this one got any pushback, but the companies that make plastic wraps and the like are still around.

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