While Harry Potter makes a splash in the box offices and book stands, the author, J.K. Rowling, might face a trademark infringement action for use of the word “muggles.” For those who do not know, a “muggle” is the term Rowling uses to describe human beings with no magical powers. However, Jim Salzer of Venture County, CA has the rights to the “muggle” mark because he at one point owned and operated a restaurant-nightclub called “Café Muggles” and thus obtained trademark protection for the mark. Salzer tried selling the rights to Warner Brothers, the owner of the Harry Potter movie series, for one million dollars several years ago but the media giant declined the offer.
Warner Brothers might second guess their decision to pass on the offer with the grand opening of Harry Potter theme park that is scheduled to open in Orlando in 2009. Any advertising or marketing ventures to promote the mark by Warner Brothers will need to be done in a way to avoid infringing the “muggle” mark because Salzer’s mark identifies “Retail Gift and Novelty Store Services, and Restaurant and Night Club Services” as the designated goods/services covered by the mark. As of now, Salzer has not contested use of the mark in books or movies, but he and his attorney have stated that they are monitoring the situation.
Filed under: Trademark by admin