By MacKenzie Milam

Law student at West Virginia University College of Law, Millam is part of Dunlap, Bennett & Ludwig Summer Internship Program and holds a strong interest in Intellectual Property Law.

 

[06.19.19 Leesburg]  We may know him as “The Boy Who Lived,” but Warner Brothers also wants you to know that he can also be “The Boy Who Opposes.”

In May 2019, Warner Bros. filed a Notice of Opposition with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board against Starlit Running Company, a Missouri-based company that organizes themed running events, including a Harry Potter themed event, known as the “Wizarding Run.” In 2018, Starlit applied to register “Wizarding Run” as a trademark with the USPTO.  Warner Bros. did not take kindly to this perceived affiliation with the “Harry Potter” franchise, which includes a number of similar marks – including “Wizarding World” (with a total of 44 pending or registered similar marks) and “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” (with 11 registrations to date).

In the opposition filed by Warner Bros., the studio stated, “[b]ecause of… careful development of the things and people that populate the Harry Potter universe, the films have become associated with certain names, marks, phrases, and indicia which, in the public mind, are inextricably linked with the films or their characters and phrases and which function as trademarks, both for entertainment works and for various goods and services.”

While an argument may have been made that Warner Bros. can’t claim exclusive rights over wizard-related trademarks, it appears that Starlit may have gone beyond simple, generic magical references. For example, the flyer for the running event included references to “butterbeer” and “quidditch,” and the Wizarding Run logo featured a similar font to that used on the cover of the Harry Potter books.

While the spell did not work for Starlit, having the advice of experienced trademark attorneys can help you navigate the dark world of trademark registration.  The attorneys at Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig can provide the advice that can help you avoid this non-wizard mistake.

Edited By Ashely Barendse, ESQ.

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Intellectual Property - Trademarks