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Sony Applies for 'Shock and Awe' Trademark

A day after U.S. allied forces marched into Iraq, Sony (SNE)  applied for a trademark on the war's catchphrase, "shock and awe," for use as the title of a video game, according to a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

It was unclear if Sony had any plans to make use of the name. Calls to Sony Computer Entertainment America were not answered Friday.

The application, dated March 21, was first discovered by British publication Media Guardian.

Sony was not the only company hoping to profit from the label. The U.S. Patent and Trademark office has more than a dozen recent applications for uses of the phrase, including for fireworks, lingerie, baby toys, shampoo and consulting services.

Michael Knight of Irving, Texas, who has a business that makes plastic details for the plumbing industry, has applied for a "Shock & Awe" trademark on pesticides and herbicides.

"I interviewed family and friends and strangers, and they all thought it would be a great name for a product like that," Knight said. "Not one has said it would be a bad name."

Knight hoped that Monsanto or some other manufacturer could sell "Shock & Awe" pesticides under his label.

"You want to shock the bug, and then you want to be awed when you come back and see it gone," he said.

Companies and individuals often apply for trademarks on products that never make it to market. Inc., which makes computer strategy games, had applied for the name "Operation Iraqi Freedom."

A statement on the company's Web site said it had no immediate plans to publish a game under that name, and might never use it, since the name "is a bit corny."

The phrase "shock and awe" was coined, but apparently not trademarked, by military strategist Harlan Ullman in a 1996 publication. He used it to describe a tactic of pressuring the enemy to give up with little fighting.