As one of the world’s most popular television shows, there’s a lot of money in Game of Thrones merchandise. But before you start cranking out the “I drink and I know things” t-shirts, coffee mugs and mouse pads, consider the recent story of TeeChip.com. According to The Blast, TeeChip is on the wrong end of a lawsuit after selling Thrones merch without HBO’s consent. Whoops.
Per the court documents, HBO alleges that TeeChip has been infringing on its intellectual property since at least July of 2016, and that it’s persisted despite the network putting it on notice. So in this scenario, HBO is Catelyn telling Bran not to climb, and TeeChip is Bran. And we all know what happened to Bran.
HBO is suing TeeChip for copyright infringement, trademark counterfeiting and infringement of registered trademarks. The network wants damages paid from the profits of the knockoff merch, as well as treble (legalese for “triple”) damages “for willfully and intentionally, directly and/or indirectly, using a mark or designation, knowing such mark or designation is a counterfeit.”
The Blast reached out to TeeChip for comment, but none is forthcoming. As of right now, there’s still a lot of knockoff merchandise on the site, which is bold.
HBO is known to protect its properties, albeit not always successfully. It sent a lot of DMCA takedown notices to people pirating Game of Thrones episodes, for example, but piracy is still rampant. Still, a lawsuit is more serious. We’d be surprised if TeeChip comes out of this one no worse for wear.