HBO’s bubble burst as they failed to stop ‘Games of Stone’ beer mark
Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 13 February 2019« Return to Reading Room
Arguably one of the biggest TV shows around the world, you would think the owners of the ‘Games of Thrones’ series, TV Network HBO would sail through any opposition attempt.
Unfortunately for them, that thought would be wrong.
UK based brewery, Wadworth filed a UK trade mark application for ‘Game of Stones’ covering ales and flavoured beers in 2017.
This application was opposed by HBO claiming that it is too similar to their own trade marks and this mark would inevitably ‘ride on the coattails’ of their longstanding reputation and goodwill. This would cause a misrepresentation, leading to consumers thinking the two were linked.
These arguments were killed by the UKIPO who rejected their opposition.
The UKIPO examiner stated that while there was a high level of aural similarity, this was balanced out by low visual and conceptual similarity. The marks did share some identical goods and they did both share ‘game of’ but this was not enough.
HBO cited in their case that as the products would be sold in a pub, aural similarity held more weight. While the examiner did recognise this, he said that the products would rarely be done solely aurally, as visual elements such as labels on the pumps would be present.
In respect of the claim for unfair advantage, the examiner stated that “it is my view that whilst the applicant’s mark may bring the opponent’s sign fleetingly to mind, it will not lead to misrepresentation,”. Therefore, HBO did not have sufficient reputation to succeed in this claim.
Wadworth’s application was free to proceed to registration.
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