Thursday, September 16, 2004

WB and all its' glory
Well, looks like they've been up to the same old tricks again. This time, their threats reach the British Touring company- British Tours. Why've they had WB in a frenzy over the last 16 months? It turns out, that British Tours has one tour, in which they refer to 'Harry Potter Locations Tour'. This tour goes over many sites that were used in the filming of the three Harry Potter movies. Such as Oxford University, Gloucester's Norman cathedral, Lacock Abbey, London Zoo, King's Cross station, and London's Leadenhall Market and Australia House on the Strand. All places that were used in the filmings.
WB of course, sees this as an infringement upon their rights. Stating such things as "You are... offering 'Harry Potter Location Tours' [that] infringe our client's rights," "deceiving customers". There was a "clear case of passing off of our clients' goodwill leading to a likelihood of substantial damage".
The explanation as to how the tour was causing actual damage to Warner Brothers is this: "A number of operators have previously run tours associated with Harry Potter. When these have been postponed or cancelled, there have been complaints," argued one of the letters. "Such complaints inevitably impact upon our clients and the Harry Potter brand."
Warner Brothers continues to argue this point, with a lawyer from the company's IP department telling us: "This is a blatant misuse of our trademark. British Tours is using our rights in a commercial manner." Warner Brothers is only seeking to "protect fans", we were told.
To back up this point, the spokeswoman referred to a previous "Harry Potter" tour that went wrong and resulted in newspaper headlines such as "Hogwarts' Hogwash". Warner Brothers, she told us, received letters complaining about the incident.

Understanably, Warner Brothers said: "We are not asking them to stop the tour, just to rename it," the spokeswoman told us. "And to put up a notice to say that it is an unofficial tour." It has requested that British Tours change its "Harry Potter tour" to "Tour of Locations used in the Harry Potter films" and add a disclaimer that the tour is "not approved or endorsed by or otherwise connected with Warner Bros or JK Rowling".
Seems not to much to ask, right? However, British Tours speaks of a far less reasonable approach, however. After a year of letters, faxes and phonecalls, Warner Brothers' lawyers said it would consider not bringing an interim injunction against the company if it showed its goodwill. British Tours felt that the need to pay the lawyers £1,500 to reflect this goodwill was too much. It refused and stated quite clearly: "If your client decides to issue proceedings against us we shall be applying for a strikeout and for damages and costs resulting from such an attempted abuse of court processes."

The question I'm wondering however, is J.K. Rowling even Aware of all these such cases that are claimed "In the name of our client"??

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