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JK Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise has become an international phenomenon. Everyone knows about Harry Potter, either because of the books she wrote or the movies that Warner Bros created. With this much popularity, comes thousands of people who use the ‘Harry Potter’ tag to gain some profit. Same is the case of a chain of Scots tourist shops that has found itself in legal trouble with Warner Bros over Harry Potter-themed merchandise.
The Edinburgh-based Gold Brothers empire, which runs a string of souvenir stores, wanted to Trademark the term ‘World of Wizardry’ for their shops which sell good inspired by JK Rowling’s creations. They applied to the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to register the name to sell “confectionary, games, clothing, clothing accessories and toys.”
Warner Bros who own the rights to the Harry Potter Trademarks, sent letters to the company asking them to stop passing off their products as licensed merchandise. Warner Bros also lodged a challenge to the Trademark application with the IPO and the matter was to be decided at a legal hearing. Lully Gold, the director of Gold Brothers failed to file evidence in time and the movie giant Warner Bros succeeded in having the Trademark bid abandoned.
Warner Bros and Rowling already own a Trademark called ‘JK Rowling’s Wizarding World’ – the brand name for Harry Potter book and film franchise and their lawyers were set to argue that the ‘World of Wizardry’ was too similar and could lead to confusion. The ruling means Gold Brothers will have to apply to Warner Bros for official permission to sell merchandise related to Harry Potter franchise.