In a notice of opposition filed on June 24, 2020 to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), Home Box Office, Inc. (better known by its acronym “HBO”) challenged the filing of a “IRONTHRONE” trademark registered by Ironscales, Inc.
HBO is most popularly known for its award winning series Game of Thrones that concluded its eighth and final season in 2019. Taking place in a middle-ages-styled fantasy world, several families fight (both literally and figuratively) to earn their place as the ultimate ruler of the Seven Kingdoms and to sit on the famous iron throne. The iron throne is comprised of thousands of melted down swords, and has become a well-known symbol of the Game of Thrones franchise. While the show is over (and some say thankfully so), HBO is working on prequels to the series.
Within this opposition, HBO claims that they have widely used the IRON THRONE trademark for a variety of goods and services since the inception of the Game of Thrones series. HBO goes on to explain that they have acquired a handful of trademarks for variations of the IRON THRONE trademark for goods such as video games, apparel, board games, alcoholic beverages, and more. The trademark in opposition includes Ironscales’s one-word “IRONTHRONE” mark for “software as a service (SAAS) services featuring software platform for email security.” HBO claims that Ironscales never received consent or permission from the corporation to devise a variation of this mark for their own commercial use. HBO is filing claims of likelihood of confusion and trademark dilution.
On Count I, HBO believes that the use of this “IRONTHRONE” trademark will likely cause consumers “confusion, mistake, or deception” as to create a synonymous relationship between the two corporations when there is none. On Count II, HBO claims that the IRON THRONE mark is distinctive in the eyes of consumers, and allowance of this derivative mark will attribute to diluting the direct connection to HBO and its Game of Thrones franchise.
HBO has released its dragons on this mark and we shall see what happens.
Author, Shelby Shilatz-Lewis, is going into her third year at Florida State University College of Law with an interest in intellectual property and entertainment law. She is currently a legal intern with Lee Law, PLLC.