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New Trademarks

A visit to the US Patent and Trademarks Office website has led to an interesting discovery: HBO has trademarked three new categories of Game of Thrones related products. We’ll discuss the three new categories, and what implications these new trademarks might have. Our first trademark story can be found here, from just over a year ago.

All three trademarks were filed on December 16th.

  • IC 021. US 002 013 023 029 030 033 040 050. G & S: candle holders, candle holders of precious metal, candle extinguishers, candle sticks, candle rings, candle snuffers, candle snuffers and tray, pillar candle plates; artificial eggs; back scratchers; basins; baskets for waste paper littering; bath products and accessories, namely, bath brushes, cup holders, natural sea sponges, loofah sponges, body sponges, bath pillows; beer jugs; bottle openers; brushes for basting meat; cages for pets; canteens; carafes; flasks; carving boards; carver rests; cocktail shakers; cocktail stirrers; decorative plates; drinking horns; drinking steins; drinking vessels; figurines of china, crystal, earthenware, glass, porcelain, terra cotta; fire buckets; fireplace brushes
  • IC 004. US 001 006 015. G & S: Candle torches, candles, Christmas tree candles, scented wax for use in candle warmers, candle-making kits, decorative tabletop fueled torches, fragrant wax for use in potpourri burners, lamp oil, wood chips for smoking and grilling
  • IC 008. US 023 028 044. G & S: swords, axes, broadaxes, daggers, knives for hobby use, knives of precious metal, fireplace bellows, fireplace shovels, fireplace tongs, fireplace pokers, fireplace tools

Given HBO’s previous licensing for other original dramas, such as True Blood, we suspect that that first trademark could relate to things such as drinking and cocktail material; we’ve always thought drinking steins with heraldic sigils would go over very well. However, the fact that it also covers candle holders and candle sticks, while the second trademark application is much more focused on candle and wax products, is putting us in mind of the recent story from Wales Online about a Welsh company providing a huge order of candles (including special, triple-wicked candles that provide enough illumination for natural light filming) to HBO’s production. Could this sort of thing have given HBO the idea of producing candles for sale, perhaps bearing heraldic stamping or molding?

Then the last one… well, this one is interesting. As we reported last February, GRRM stated quite clearly that Valyrian Steel had the exclusive rights to producing steel replica weapons based on his work, and that HBO could only produce cheaper, plastic toys and the like based on their own designs. So, what does this trademark mean? One possibility is that it’s more of a defensive trademark, to prevent unauthorized and unlicensed replicas based on the TV show’s weaponry—something that’s a real concern, given the potential market and given the wide range of knock-offs from past productions we’ve seen in the past.

Finally, trademarking these items at such a late date suggests that HBO is still working on ways to exploit the TV show’s potential market, and that’s a good sign for anyone hoping for a second season, as it shows HBO’s confidence. A quick comparison shows that with 17 different filings, Game of Thrones now has more trademark category applications than HBO’s long-running Entourage, current hit Boardwalk Empire, and (near as we can tell) any other HBO original production, past or present, short of The Sopranos and True Blood.

 

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