HBO Merchandise Speculation

HBO files for Game of Thrones trademark

It appears that HBO has filed a trademark for Game of Thrones, specifically for merchandising. Here is the part of the document that deals with the trademark request. This document was filed on Dec. 9th. It looks like it is actually a renewal of a previous filing from back in June. There were 5 other similar applications, the only difference being the type of merchandise listed.

Winter Is Coming: I don’t think this means that a pick up announcement is imminent. It might just be standard procedure for HBO to do with all pilots to protect their intellectual property. It seems that way based on the fact that they originally filed in June, prior to the pilot even filming. But the fact that they felt led to renew the trademark seems to be a good sign. More evidence to support the speculation that they will order at least one season.

[Thanks to Jonathan who sent this in!]


  • this is hilarious! (and of course a good sign) i can't wait for my GoT cosmetic supplies and non-electric coffee grinders.

  • I dreamed last night that I watched the entire pilot. And it was awesome! As I tend to have somewhat psychic dreams, I think my dream is a definite sign that they will order a full season soon.

  • Also, does this confirm that HBO is indeed calling it "Game of Thrones" and not "A Game of Thrones"?

    Anyways, I want a Game of Thrones shot glass.

  • HBO isn't saying they plan on making promotional Game of Thrones coffee stirrers. The "class" of goods is just an arbitrary grouping that includes some things that they are planning to slap "Game of Thrones" onto. Probably coffee mugs and drinking glasses; maybe coozies.

    The intent to use thing is interesting, though. In order to get this sort of thing, they have to really mean that they intend to use this trademark in commerce (which means not just giving a few collectibles to the cast & crew). Intending to use it doesn't mean they will, but it essentially means they will unless something stops them. I suppose that the "something" stopping them could be a pilot for a different show that they like better.

    Disclaimer: None of the above should be construed as legal advice. A proper legal opinion requires an analysis of all the relevant facts and adequate research into the relevant legal authorities. This communication DOES NOT create a lawyer-client relationship, and you should consult a lawyer before relying on any of the foregoing opinion.

  • Lex,

    I was thinking the exact same thing. I think that this pretty much confirms it'll be "Game of Thrones," unless someone knows something about indefinite articles being assumed for trademark purposes. I don't think they are.

  • I do think Kyle has a really interesting bit of information about the "intend to use" thing.

    Keeps me optimistic.

  • A Game of Thrones: The Rolling Pin

    "Pastry is Coming."

    I'm getting flashbacks to SPACEBALLS now: "Merchandising! Merchandising! Where the real money from the movie is made!" Maybe they could an ornamental GAME OF THRONES flamethrower with replica dragon's head?

  • How about Game of Thrones winter clothing? Toques, gloves, and scarvees all emblazoned with a direwolf and the words "Winter is Coming"? I'd actually buy that.

  • If you go to and search marks, you can see that all of the documents from June are for A Game of Thrones. Perhaps the new Dec filing was to drop the "A" or perhaps they just want to have both protected?

  • @Lex
    They should make a whole set of alcohol glasses, from Tyrion shotglasses to giant Mountain that Rides beer steins. And yeah, winter clothes is a good idea. They could also make ironic summer clothes.

    What about iron-on patches for clothes? "We Do Not Sew"

  • I'm thinking maybe makeup got mentioned in the leagaleze examples in the document because HBO did "Sex In the City" and probably has it left over in their boiler plate documents from that. That's just a guess. I doubt that's something they are looking to pursue for marketing purposes, unless they are going to have a Cersei or Sansa (you know, for teens) branded cosmetics line, or something. Seriously, I doubt that though.

  • Shouldn't GRRM own or at least co-own the trademark? Does this mean he has given up rights to it?

    Long story short, HBO has rights for merchandising many things that GRRM doesn't already have deals for (he alrady did deals for the RPG games, computer game, card game, swords, miniatures, comic books and maybe a few other things). It seems they bought from him the rights to do merchandising in other areas he hasn't already exploited.

    Subsidiary Rights for a a book can be split up in all sorts of ways (I did this stuff for a living, briefly). Usually it's merch., foreign language, foreign English language, audio books, dramatic (film/tv/theater), toys & games, and some other things like Braille editions (which nobody charges for, it's given free in my experience).

    It's rare that merchandise would be split up so much within that sub-heading – normally Merch. would be all one thing, but in this case it looks like they had to split things up because there were already a lot of pre-existing deals in place that GRRM had. It might be he retains rights in other specific areas covering Merch. (I couldn't know, I've never seen the contracts, and nobody outside of the deal ever will, probably.) Anyway, reading between the lines here, knowing how these deals go, this looks a bit unusual that they have some merch and he has others. It was probably a condition of the deal they did to buy the rights.

  • It's also likely that there will be separate merchandising for the show versus the books. This already happens with Tolkien, where there's stuff licensed from the books and stuff licensed from the movies. The MIDDLE-EARTH MMORPG, for example, is licensed from the books and isn't allowed to use any specific costumes, music or imagery from the films, but because it's the same source material obviously things are going to be similar. Similarly, games licensed from the movies alone cannot use or reference THE SILMARILLION because that's not covered under the license.

    Anyway, at Maureen Ryan's WATCHER blog, she and James Poniewozik are talking about big new TV shows and seem to have convinced Alan Sepinwall to jump on board the GoT fan-train (the conversation is quite old, and I think I recall Sepinwall mentioning he had started reading it more recently, though that might have been someone else). The fact that Ryan, Poniewozik and Sepinwall (acting from the rec from the other two) – three of the more influential TV critics in the US – seem to all be pushing HBO to make the series is pretty cool:

  • Re: the Varys manicure set

    I would worry about anything related to Varys and clipping pieces of your body

  • Thanks, The Rabbit!

    Here's the good stuff from that:

    But it already exists as a series of books! You wouldn’t be spoiling anything.
    Well, it exists in pilot form for the television company. [Laughs] I don’t want to spill the beans, because they could be like [sing-songy voice], “Uh-uh. You said something bad, you can’t do it.” And I’d be fired!

    Was it a good experience, at least?
    It was a great experience. Very short shoot, but they threw a lot of money at it. Hopefully it’s going to be really good, and hopefully it’ll be greenlit and we’ll go ahead with it. It was great fun and a very strong, rich cast.

    Looks like he's really playing into it, like we'd hoped. I love how he's worried he'll get fired. I like JCB a lot for that. (Unless, of course, like some have suggested, there'll be a much bigger part for him if this gets picked up.)

  • Sorry, I haven't been following all the conversations as closely as I used to. What on earth could Bower come back as?

    *SPOILER* His character being dead and all….*/SPOILER*

  • meggyo,

    Well, dead is not always 100% dead in this series…at best you can say he's probably "mostly dead," though I imagine that he might not have a lot to say beyond some moans and groans, if that, if we see him beyond the pilot.

    Either that, or there's something we don't know about the character that's yet to be revealed in some later book (like the speculations that he's maybe Cold Hands, however unlikely I think that to be).

  • @AlfonsoG re:"All those kitchen utensils are making me wonder if Hot Pie's role will be expanded in seasons 2-3."

    AHA! That explains EVERYTHING! They are going to make Hot Pie's role more important because GRRM has revealed to them that Hot Pie is really Azor Ahai reborn!

  • @Paul Gude- if you watch the youtube interview linked from that one, JCB doesn't keep up the pretense quite so well. Still, it's good that he's doing so at all- and we may well see Waymar again in the series- as a wight, killing people.

    Personally I hope that he doesn't transfer to another role- there's too much chance of people recognising him as Waymar and getting confused. He's an up and coming actor and will probably have more than enough other offers of work.

    On another note, while he doesn't have the build to play Gregor (or much acting experience), I saw Neil Fingleton on TV the other day- he'd make Conan look short! He's got the right look for Hodor in my opinion, though I haven't seen enough of his acting to judge whether or not he could play the role convincingly.

  • @ shinyteapot.

    did you look at the picture of him on the "health and height" page? i know it's not supposed to be, but that picture is hilarious/amazing! pleasedonthateme

    i would be curious to see his work though.

  • Meggyo, I was alluding to the theory someone put forth in a different thread that JCB might have done the pilot on the contingency that he would play another character (perhaps Loras, they say) if the series is picked up.

    They go on tho theorize that Royce would then be reshot with another actor, or that Loras would be different enough from Royce that JCB could play both. (Like Dillahunt in Deadwood.)

    Not my own theory, but that's what I was alluding to.

    The wight theory is a doable alternative, of course.

  • Maybe he's just talking about re-shooting the pilot as the first episode (if that is a possibility) and not as his character having future scenes.

    I like the GoT drinking game. Every time GRRM kills a character, drink. Every time GRRM tortures a Stark, drink. Theon acts like an ass, drink. Ygritte says "You know nothing, Jon Snow," – drink. Cersei does something stupid, drink. Anyone says the words "Winter is Coming" – drink!

  • The JCB interview is actually already mentioned by WiC in an earlier blogpost. It was published when they started airing the Prisoner.

    I can't wait for my Tywin Lannister toilet seat!

  • On the board we've put together an FAQ on the TV series.

    Other suggestions for questions that people keep asking?

  • @Jillian

    No hard feelings whatsoever.

    I went and looked at all of the pending trademark registrations HBO has on this, and I have to take back some of what I said. I really think they must be stamping the shows name on everything they used in production. I wonder if they plan on selling that stuff off later.

    As in, "You could have a brush with a few of Sean Bean's hairs in it!"

  • I swear that I will buy EVERY item of Game of Thrones that HBO will release.

    Guys, your suggestions of merchandising are simply hilarious.
    "Knurk: I can't wait for my Tywin Lannister toilet seat!". ROFL.