Nintendo applies to trademark ‘NSW’ for Switch console

The abbreviation is commonly used for the Nintendo Switch, but Australians will also find it familiar.
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Nintendo has reportedly filed a trademark application for the abbreviation ‘NSW’, which may be used to describe the Nintendo Switch console going forward. The application was filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (as spotted on Resetera and reported by VGC) and exists under the ‘games’ designation of the Goods and Services category. No further details are available, but it’s assumed Nintendo is looking to snap up the phrase to use as shorthand in future.

Should it be successful, Nintendo will be able to take legal action against the use of ‘NSW’ to describe other products or services in Europe – although the company may run into trouble getting the application passed, given the general use of ‘NSW’.

Those in Australia will certainly find the situation laughable – NSW is an abbreviation for the state of New South Wales, and therefore is unlikely to be trademarked locally. Whether the European IP office takes this into consideration before handing down a decision on Nintendo’s claim is unknown.

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As VGC points out, many consoles use three-letter abbreviations – from GCN (GameCube) to the 3DS (Nintendo 3DS), XBO (Xbox One), XSX (Xbox Series X), and the PS5 (PlayStation). So far, the Switch has yet to receive an ‘official’ designation, with the console largely being referred to as the ‘Switch’ for short.

On Switch hardware, the console is known as HAC (speculated to mean ‘Handheld and Console’), although this would likely be confusing for players, given it doesn’t correspond with the console name. The ‘NSW’ moniker is the more colloquial term used online.

At this stage, it’s unclear what the result of the filing with be, given a European trademark would only apply within Europe itself. Should the company choose to apply for the trademark worldwide, the situation may get pricklier – particularly if Australia gets involved.

Whatever the case, it appears Nintendo is making big moves to secure the future of the Nintendo Switch, and how it’s referred to in future. Stay tuned to hear more on this filing as it progresses.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.