Custom Plates are cancelling and refunding all pre-orders of their third-party custom PlayStation 5 faceplates, after the threat of legal action by Sony.
Video Games Chronicle (VGC) reports [1, 2, 3] that UK-based company PlateStation 5 had begun selling unofficial colored faceplates on October 23rd. The PlayStation 5 official teardown revealed the console’s faceplates could be easily removed, leading to speculation on custom face plates.
At the time, PlateStation 5 sold colored faceplates for £32 GBP ($39.99 USD), taking pre-orders for Cherry Red, Chromatic, Indigo Blue, Jungle Camo and Matte Black. These were available for the standard and digital editions of the next-gen console. The company had stated they were working with UK and Chinese manufacturers to ensure the faceplates were made with “premium industry standard plastic.”
Following a complaint from Sony just 24 hours later however, the company changed their name to CustomizeMyPlates.com (also Custom Plates LTD). The company reportedly also removed all PlayStation imagery from their website. Speaking to VGC, they also stated they were a third-party selling unofficial accessories, with no affiliation with Sony.
Even this proved to be insufficient for Sony. On November 1st, VGC reported that Sony had threatened to go to court with CustomizeMyPlates.com, as their trademark extended to the faceplate’s design. The company told VGC in a statement that all those who had ordered a faceplate are being fully refunded.
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. 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.
The company had further stated that they would move forward and be “wiser” on trademark and patent laws; and would be offering legal console skins and products.
Sony’s actions are sure to mean there will be less likelihood of third-party faceplates, though manufacturers in nations that are harder to issue cross-borders lawsuits to (such as China) are likely to continue. Among the accessories launching for the console, alternative faceplates are not among them.
The PlayStation 5 will launch November 12th in the US, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. For the rest of the world, it will launch November 19th. The PlayStation 5 will cost $499.99, while the Digital Edition will cost $399.99.