Whenever you say "It's on like Donkey Kong," going forward, be sure to thank Nintendo.
The game company announced today that it has requested a trademark for the phrase from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Nintendo said its trademark application is "in honor" of the upcoming launch of Donkey Kong Country Returns on November 21.
As Nintendo pointed out in its announcement, "it's on like Donkey Kong" has been around since at least the early 1990s, the original Donkey Kong having launched in 1981, and has been uttered "in popular music, television, and film over the years." Although debate rages over when the phrase was first used, it has been repeated by so many people around the world for so many years that determining its origin is practically impossible.
However, Nintendo's decision to wait until now to try to trademark the phrase is rather interesting. The original game was followed by a slew of Donkey Kong titles, including Donkey Kong 64--a personal favorite of mine. One would think that Nintendo would have tried to trademark the phrase long ago.