As we eagerly await the season six premiere of Game of Thrones this weekend, HBO has been hard at work defending its trademark. HBO has filed another opposition in its war against game developers looking to use the mark GAME OF (INSERT ANYTHING HERE), this time opposing a mobile game’s GAME OF MONARCHS trademark.
Image of Game of MonarchsIt was just a couple of weeks ago when we first delved into HBO’s crackdown on any trademarks bearing “Game of” in the title. In that previous opposition, HBO opposed a game developer’s GAME OF TROLLS mark and now HBO is doing a little more trolling. B&B Biz Corp. is a California-based developer of both board games and mobile games. Originally conceived as a board game, “Game of Monarchs” is the story of six monarchs in medieval Europe as they attempt to claim riches and glory by rolling a die. The website for the game is up-and-running but the board game does not appear to be on sale yet. In June 2015, B&B filed intent to use trademark registrations for the GAME OF MONARCHS mark is several classes including board games, mobile games and clothing. When the mark was published for opposition, that’s when it ran into a big dragon-sized problem.
The Game of Thrones television show is, of course, based on the series of books by George R.R. Martin but HBO owns several marks, and enforces them, related to the distribution of the show. Last week, HBO filed its opposition to the registration of the GAME OF MONARCHS trademark. HBO claims GAME OF MONARCHS is confusingly similar to its  28 different registered or pending registration marks for GAME OF THRONES. In a copy and paste job from the GAME OF TROLLS opposition, HBO doesn’t assert many facts but in one sentence claims the GAMES OF MONARCHS mark is confusingly similar to the GAME OF THRONES mark. HBO adds another sentence claiming the mark would dilute the distinctiveness of HBO’s mark, as well. This opposition is almost a word-for-word a copy of the previous opposition.
It will be a long and expensive fight for B&B to go up against HBO and this will most likely scare the developer off from trying to go forward. However, as predicted in my earlier post, HBO has staked out its claim against game developers for any mark bearing GAME OF . With the copycat nature of this opposition, HBO seems primed to file the same opposition to any mark bearing GAME OF. Looking at the intended “Game of Monarchs” game, it doesn’t bear even a slight resemblance to the show; if played, it is highly unlikely you would associate the game with HBO’s program. But, this isn’t stopping HBO from asserting trademark rights to the name and, most likely, any similar trademarks in the future. Game developers be warned.