Warner Bros. was just shut down from trying to summon up a trademark for one of the most popular phrases in the Harry Potter universe.
According to documents filed in March and obtained by The Blast, Warner Bros. Entertainment was refused multiple trademark registrations for, “I Solemnly Swear That I Am Up To No Good.”
The phrase can be traced back to J.K. Rowling’s 3rd book in the Potter series, “The Prisoner of Azkaban.” In the story, Harry is given the Marauder’s Map, which reveals secret passageways throughout Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry when the secret words are uttered.
WB, which adapted the books into a film series, was trying to lock up the phrase to put on various forms of Potter merch, including bath mats, clothes and pillows. They actually already sell multiple products emblazoned with the term, but it appears they wanted a stronghold on the magic password.
However, officials from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office refused the applications due to the “false association” they imply with author J.K. Rowling.
Officials, who are more informed of the Wizarding world than most muggles, note that the phrase is “widely used” throughout “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” and claim it is given “prominence” throughout the book series.
They also argue that because the phrase is so well-known amongst Potter aficionados, that most would assume Rowling would be behind the goods and services used by Warner Bros, even though she doesn’t appear to have any connection with the trademark.
Another reason for the registration denial, USPTO examining attorneys explain that the phrase, “has been recognized as one of the most famous quotes to come out of the Harry Potter universe.
Officials claim the quote is an “informational slogan” that is an “expression of mischief used even in books and movies.” They believe consumers are accustomed to seeing the term used in “everyday speech” by many different sources, making it nearly impossible to associate it specifically with merchandise from Warner Bros.
For all those reasons, USPTO officials refused registration … long live Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs!