A pint of Game of Stones

01 March 2019

Wadworth brewery have successfully defended their GAME OF STONES branded golden ale. The other party, HBO Inc., ran three separate arguments on relative grounds for refusal. Each of which were dismissed by the hearing officer.

The case demonstrates the importance of a robust trade mark portfolio. HBO’s earlier rights did not cover “television programmes”. Therefore, the evidence submitted in support of the reputation of its GAME OF THRONES mark based on the success of the TV series was considered not relevant to most of HBO’s arguments.

In addition, the evidence failed to show that the marks benefit from any enhanced distinctive character as much of the evidence submitted did not correspond to the goods and services listed in the specifications of the earlier rights.

There is currently no parody defence for trade mark infringement in the UK. However, the hearing officer did conclude that applicant’s sign was “no more than an attempt at parody,…rather than an intent to deceive”.

HBO will be disappointed with the outcome of the case. The fame and repute of the Game of Thrones TV series did not have the influence which it perhaps could have done had more relevant earlier rights been relied upon.

Peter Collie

Peter Collie

Trainee Trade Mark Attorney

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