Fenwick trademark litigation partner Eric Ball was recently quoted in a Law360 article about the “Game of Thrones” television series, efforts to protect the show's brand and the complexities surrounding trademarks for fictional universes.
HBO has filed over 100 applications for “Game of Thrones”-related trademark registrations during the series’ run. Ball discussed the tendency for unaffiliated individuals to sometimes attempt to file ahead of the brand. "These filings normally fail, but they can create a headache for brand owners," said Ball. "If a show jumps to the front of the line, they can help swing the sword to kill off these applications."
However, "not all of the third-party issues are nefarious, and often, the uses come from fans,” Ball added. “You can approach fans differently than a counterfeiter."
“Game of Thrones” offers an example of the longevity of trademarks, as the trademarks will last beyond the series. "To paraphrase Syrio Forel to Arya, 'There is only one thing we say to the death (of trademarks): Not today,'" Ball joked. "Unlike patents, and even copyrights, trademarks can live forever."
The full article is available on the Law360 website.