What Do Wizards Unite Trademarks Reveal about the Game?

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On November 8, 2017, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced the launch of Portkey Games, a new label devoted to releasing games set in the wizarding world first imagined by J.K. Rowling.

Shortly after this announcement, Portkey Games and Niantic both announced their collaboration on a new augmented-reality mobile game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Niantic is the company behind Pokémon Go, leading some fans to nickname Wizards Unite “Harry Potter Go.”

Most Harry Potter fans and the media only focused on these major announcements on November 8, 2017.

But Warner Bros. publicly, albeit quietly, did a few more things the same day. Or rather, law firms representing Warner Bros. did a few more things the same day.

In fact, law firms around the world acted together on behalf of Warner Bros., submitting paperwork within days of one another, trademarking the phrase “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” in at least twelve countries or regions.

An international trademark search for “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” turns up a total of sixteen applications.

A cursory look through all the applications, plus a more detailed reading of the United Kingdom and United States applications, shows identical text. All the applications, with the exception of Canada, request trademarks for Classes 9 and/or 41 under the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (Nice Classification). Canada’s trademark application, for some reason, also falls under Classes 28 and 30, in addition to 9 and 41.

To the casual Harry Potter fan without a law degree, this is all just a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo that has little to no relevance. This is all just a legal technicality necessary for Warner Bros. to develop a new game under Portkey Games… right? It doesn’t mean much else… right?

In true lawyerly fashion (no, I’m not a lawyer), I’m giving a non-committal response: it depends.

The details in the trademark applications are potentially quite revealing, but they don’t offer any guarantees or substantial proof that Wizards Unite will be a certain type of game with a certain type of game play with a certain type of live events or game accessories.

That said, the Wizards Unite trademark applications do provide a wealth of information just primed for intense speculation.

First, more of the legalese. Then, speculation on what it all means!

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Trademark, Class 9

Motion picture films featuring comedy, drama, action, adventure and/or animation, and motion picture films for broadcast on television featuring comedy, drama, action, adventure and/or animation; audio video discs, and digital versatile discs featuring music, comedy, drama, action, adventure, and/or animation; stereo headphones; batteries; cordless telephones; CD players; CD ROM computer game discs; telephone and/or radio pagers; compact disc players; radios; mouse pads; eyeglasses, sunglasses and cases therefore; computer software; downloadable computer software; computer application software; computer application software for mobile phones; downloadable software for use in playing online computer games, downloadable computer game software; computer game software for use on mobile and cellular phones; video and computer game programs; video game cartridges; computer and video games which are designed for hardware platforms, namely, game consoles and personal computers; computer game software for gaming machines including slot machines; computer software or firmware for games of chance on any computerized platform, including dedicated gaming consoles, video based slot machines, reel based slot machines and video lottery terminals; CD-ROM and digital versatile computer game discs and computer programs, namely, software linking digitized video and audio media to a global computer information network; downloadable audio-visual media content in the field of entertainment featuring animated motion pictures, television series, comedies, and dramas; computer software, namely, computer software for streaming audio-visual media content via the Internet, computer software for streaming and storing audio-visual media content, downloadable audio and video players for media content with multimedia and interactive functions; computer programs for accessing, browsing and searching online databases, software that enables users to play and program entertainment-related audio, video, text and multi-media content; computer application software for streaming and storing audio-visual media content; computer application software for streaming audio-visual media content via the Internet; downloadable computer software for streaming audio-visual media content via the Internet; downloadable computer software for streaming and storing audio-visual media content; downloadable publications in the nature of books featuring characters from animated, action adventure, comedy and/or drama features, comic books, children’s books, strategy guides, magazines featuring characters from animated, action adventure, comedy and/or drama features, coloring books, children’s activity books and magazines in the field of entertainment; downloadable publications; cellular telephone accessories, namely hands-free accessories, cellular telephone covers, cellular telephone face covers and cellular telephone cases; encoded magnetic cards, namely, phone cards, credit cards, cash cards, debit cards, gift cards, and magnetic key cards; and decorative magnets.

What are Class 9 trademarks?

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, trademarks in Class 9 apply to any of the following goods:

Scientific, nautical, surveying, photographic, cinematographic, optical, weighing, measuring, signalling, checking (supervision), life-saving and teaching apparatus and instruments; apparatus and instruments for conducting, switching, transforming, accumulating, regulating or controlling electricity; apparatus for recording, transmission or reproduction of sound or images; magnetic data carriers, recording discs; compact discs, DVDs and other digital recording media; mechanisms for coin-operated apparatus; cash registers, calculating machines, data processing equipment, computers; computer software; fire-extinguishing apparatus.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Trademark, Class 41

Education; providing of training; sporting and cultural activities; entertainment; book publishing; magazine publishing; entertainment services, namely, providing online video games, providing online computer games, providing temporary use of non-downloadable video games; providing audiovisual content, namely, non-downloadable films and movies via a video-on-demand service via an interactice website; entertainment services in the nature of live-action, comedy, drama, animated, and reality television series; production of live-action, comedy, drama, animated and reality television series; distribution and display of live-action, comedy, drama and animated motion picture theatrical films; production of live-action, comedy, drama and animated motion picture theatrical films; theatrical performances both animated and live action; Internet services providing information via an electronic global computer network in the field of entertainment relating specifically to games, music, movies, and television; providing film clips, photographs and other multimedia materials via a website; providing news about current events and entertainment, and information related to education and cultural events, via a global computer network; and providing information for and actual entertainment via an electronic global communications network in the nature of live-action, comedy, drama and animated programs and production of live-action, comedy, drama and animated motion picture films for distribution via a global computer network; providing a computer game that may be accessed by a telecommunications network; electronic publishing services, namely, publication of text and graphic works of others on-line featuring articles, novelizations, scripts, comic books, strategy guides, photographs and visual materials; non- downloadable publications in the nature of books featuring characters from animated, action adventure, comedy and/or drama features, comic books, children’s books, strategy guides, magazines featuring characters from animated, action adventure, comedy and/or drama features, coloring books, children’s activity books and magazines in the field of entertainment; publishing of books, e-books, audiobooks, music and illustrations; amusement parks services; providing amusement park rides; providing live or pre-recorded shows and/or movies; entertainment and/or recreation information; entertainment club services; electronic games services provided via a global computer network.

What are Class 41 trademarks?

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, trademarks in Class 41 apply to any of the following services:

Education; providing of training; entertainment; sporting and cultural activities.

SPECULATION: Analyzing the Wizards Unite Trademarks

Trying to figure out the exact meaning of all these magical trademarks takes a working knowledge of divination, mobile gaming, and punctuation.

For the most part, each semicolon in the two descriptions above denotes a new possible set of goods or services. Words grouped together without a semicolon most likely apply to a single set of goods or services.

For example, consider these opening words. Each new bullet point comes after a semicolon.

  • Education;
  • providing of training;
  • sporting and cultural activities;
  • entertainment;
  • book publishing;
  • magazine publishing;
  • entertainment services, namely, providing online video games, providing online computer games, providing temporary use of non-downloadable video games

Each bullet point is a potential service that will be offered under the Wizards Unite name.

So.

What are some of the potential hidden gems in this information? Watch my two favorite theories in my latest YouTube video!

Keep reading for a few more possibilities.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite… the Movie?

  • Motion picture films featuring comedy, drama, action, adventure and/or animation, and motion picture films for broadcast on television featuring comedy, drama, action, adventure and/or animation
  • audio video discs, and digital versatile discs featuring music, comedy, drama, action, adventure, and/or animation
  • downloadable audio-visual media content in the field of entertainment featuring animated motion pictures, television series, comedies, and dramas
  • providing audiovisual content, namely, non-downloadable films and movies via a video-on-demand service via an interactice website
  • entertainment services in the nature of live-action, comedy, drama, animated, and reality television series
  • production of live-action, comedy, drama, animated and reality television series
  • distribution and display of live-action, comedy, drama and animated motion picture theatrical films
  • production of live-action, comedy, drama and animated motion picture theatrical films
  • theatrical performances both animated and live action

That is a lot of words to describe all possible forms of television and film.

Niantic’s original AR-game, Ingress, has an anime series coming out later this year. Could Wizards Unite end up with its own TV or film adaptation?

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite… the Video Game?

  • CD ROM computer game discs
  • video and computer game programs
  • video game cartridges
  • computer and video games which are designed for hardware platforms, namely, game consoles and personal computers
  • computer game software for gaming machines including slot machines
  • computer software or firmware for games of chance on any computerized platform, including dedicated gaming consoles, video based slot machines, reel based slot machines and video lottery terminals
  • CD-ROM and digital versatile computer game discs and computer programs, namely, software linking digitized video and audio media to a global computer information network

The boring possibility of these descriptive words is the necessity of covering all possible legal interpretations of a mobile game. Sometimes the law doesn’t keep up with technology, so companies need to be creative to protect their intellectual property!

But the fun possibility is a computer game or video game version of Wizards Unite, especially one that integrates with the mobile game. The announcement of Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu! and Let’s Go Eevee! adds credibility to this theory.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite… the Book?

  • electronic publishing services, namely, publication of text and graphic works of others on-line featuring articles, novelizations, scripts, comic books, strategy guides, photographs and visual materials
  • publishing of books, e-books, audiobooks, music and illustrations

Again, look at the Niantic game Ingress. Niantic has published multiple books that go along with the game. This could be in the future of Wizards Unite!

What do you think these trademarks means? Stay tuned for more analysis!

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