HBO fail in bid to oppose ‘Game of Stones’ trade mark at UKIPO

American TV network Home Box Office (HBO) has failed its attempt to oppose a trade mark for the phrase ‘Game of Stones’ at the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO).

HBO, who owns the popular Game of Thrones television series, took issue with UK based brewery company Wadworth after they applied for a trademark with the phrase ‘Game of Stones’ and a ring of standing stones to cover their range of ales, porter, stout and flavoured beer.

The US-based network opposed the application, stating that the mark was too similar to its own marks and that use of the term Game of Stones would ride on the coat tails of the TV show’s reputation and cause misrepresentation.

HBO focused on two of their existing trade marks in their argument against Wadworth’s application, citing the European word mark ‘Game of Thrones’ which included beer in class 32 and the European logo ‘Game of Thrones Ascent’, comprising online games in class 41.

However, earlier this month the UKIPO rejected HBO’s arguments and allowed Wadworth brewery to move forward with their registration of the trade marks.

IPO’s Mark Bryant found that the marks displayed some identical aspects due to the existence of the three word phrase that features the same two first words “Game of” and a third word that concludes with “ones”.

Mr Bryant also added that although the elements sounded the same, there was minimal visual resemblance which made them differ enough for the application to be allowed to proceed.

He said: “The high point of the opponent’s case rests where the respective parties’ beer is purchased in a pub or bar where aural considerations may play a part. Whilst the marks share a high level of aural similarity, such purchases are rarely done solely by way of an aural request”. He further elaborated: “Taking all of this together, it is my opinion that whilst the applicant’s mark could bring the opponent’s name to mind, it will not lead to misrepresentation”.

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Sehaj Lamba
Sehaj advises businesses ranging from start-ups to multinational businesses, from a range of sectors, on commercial matters including the acquisition, protection and exploitation of intellectual property rights, matters relating to data protection and technology contracts covering software development and licensing, app development and website terms.