The legal world of trademarks and rights can be slightly baffling at the best of times, so a Nintendo of America trademark for the NES controller, essentially, is certainly one to raise eyebrows.
The application is most certainly for the design of the iconic controller, with the image above being included. Submitted in March, the application also includes the least romantic description of the controller possible, courtesy of the legal jargon required.
The color(s) red, black and gray is/are claimed as a feature of the mark. The mark consists of a black rectangle. The left side of the rectangle features a black cross outlined in gray and containing four gray outlined arrows and one circle in the center. In the center of the rectangle there are five gray rounded rectangles, one of which contains the words "SELECT" and "START" in red text and another which contains an outline of a rectangle which contains two black oval designs. The right side contains the word "Nintendo" in red text, below which are two gray squares with red circles within the square. Below these squares are the letters "B" and "A" in red text.
We often encourage caution when considering trademarks like this. Sometimes they're put in place to simply cover bases, on other occasions to head off unofficial third-party clones, or in the most interesting cases as a prompt to some kind of product. We'd love for this to be a precursor to a wireless bluetooth version of the controller, for example, but that's fantasy; don't forget, though, that it has been possible in the past to get neat wired SNES 'Classic Controllers' for the Wii from Club Nintendo.
We shall see, but it's good to see old 'NINTENDO SELECT START B A' - as it's referenced in the trademark - back.
Thanks to Benson for the heads up.