Warner Bros. says store infringes on Harry Potter brand

Oct. 22, 2013 at 4:10 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Wands and other wizard paraphernalia at a store in Los Angeles step on the toes of Harry Potter merchandising rights owned by Warner Bros., court papers say.

Even the store's name, Whimsic Alley, is reminiscent of the Harry Potter franchise, many of the rights to which are owned by the entertainment giant, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

The store is owned by Stanley Goldin, who already settled a trademark dispute with Warner Bros. for selling similar items. In that settlement, Goldin agreed to refrain from selling items that bore the "Harry Potter" trademark or were "confusingly similar" to the brand, the Times said.

But Goldin has jumped back into the wizard's world, the Times said, drawing attention to his business with the offer of a Wizard's Cruise, which sets sail in November on a Princess Cruises ship, the newspaper said.

"They can say, 'You did this once before, and now you are crossing the line once again. I understand why Warner Bros. is upset," attorney Allen Grodsky, an intellectual property expert, told the Times.

"This guy is getting as close to the line as possible and maybe crosses it," said Grodsky, who conceded Warner Bros. would not be hurt much by one store but could be hurt if many stores took similar liberties with their trademark properties.

Whimsic Alley "isn't going to hurt them that much, but if this guy is going to be allowed to do this, then anybody can do it," Grodsky said.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. A trial is scheduled to start in January, the Times said.

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