HBO Sues Online Custom Products Seller for Bogus 'Game of Thrones' Apparel
"Game of Thrones" has pretty much become the flagship program on HBO these days, with rabid fans of both the book and series (or both) quoting characters, making memes out of plot points and, most importantly for HBO, buying merchandise.
Since the show is such a cash cow, HBO has taken strong steps to protect its property. According to Fansided, HBO is suing an online custom products retailer for selling "Game of Thrones"-themed merchandise without HBO's consent.
HBO alleged in its court filing that TeeChip infringed on its intellectual property dating back to July 2016, and has continued to do so despite HBO's warning.
TeeChip took down the shirts in question, it seems. Links advertising shirts that depict the four main houses' symbols now leads to a page with a thumbs-down and the message "This campaign was taken down for content reasons."
According to Fansided, HBO wants to hit TeeChip for copyright infringement, trademark counterfeiting and infringement of registered trademarks, and wants damages paid from the merchandise, as well as triple damages for "willfully and intentionally, directly and/or indirectly, using a mark or designation, knowing such mark or designation is a counterfeit."
Apparently, this isn't the first time TeeChip has faced similar accusations, though never from an entity as large and established as HBO. A quick Twitter search for "TeeChip" reveals a number of tweets, spanning multiple years, in which users alleged that items available on the custom products site featured art or images used without their creators' permission:
— Jessica Smith 🐋🐳🐋 (@jessmeixing) December 23, 2016
— Wenqing Yan (@Yuumei_Art) March 6, 2017
I just don't understanding why people are doing this. A thief stole my artwork sell it for 13$ on teechip. pic.twitter.com/Yi7bQHMxEg
— Juniu (@BenJuniu) April 12, 2017
In today's day and age, where everything is available on the internet and easily found, it brings up the question: Do you really think you'll get away with it? With companies like YETI and HBO protecting their intellectual property so aggressively, and the fact that infringing products are so ubiquitous (as opposed to just one guy in a parking lot slinging T-shirts anonymously), why even try?