While it may not be another sign of the Apocalypse (Russia seems to have stolen the thunder on that one), a recent trademark registration application filed with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (the “PTO”) certainly qualifies as troubling.
The company that owns and franchises the Chuck E. Cheese family restaurant (note that I am using the term ‘restaurant’ loosely here) has just filed four new CHUCK E. CHEESE trademark filings, two of which are related directly to proposed business operations in the virtual world known as The Metaverse. Both of those applications, “CHUCK E. VERSE” and “CHUCK E. CHEESE METAVERSE” were drafted with the intention of protecting the company’s operations in the virtual world and seek protection under several international classes of goods and services.
Founded in 1977, Chuck E. Cheese became the first family restaurant to feature animated entertainment and arcade gaming and the chain found early success as video games became popular and families looked for venues where their kids could hold birthdays parties without wrecking their homes. More recently, the brand has fallen on hard times, especially during the pandemic. It filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2020.
WHY IT MATTERS. Having watched my own kids grow into adulthood, I am probably too old to understand why a giant rat should be equated with kids having good times at a loud, raucous pizza joint, but I have spent my time at Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, and I will even admit that the pizza was not entirely terrible. Nevertheless, these filings seem like another obvious example of branding FOMO (“fear of missing out”) and could be worse, a desperate attempt to regain relevance in a world where kids would prefer their entertainment all be online.