California Intellectual Property Blog


HBO Has Trademark Issue with Trump

San Diego – President Donald Trump recently published a Tweet to his Twitter account that has landed him in some hot water. The Tweet was comprised of a frozen cinematic depiction of the President with the phrase “Sanctions are Coming” in a font that brings to mind the blockbuster HBO series Game of Thrones.

HBO’s Game of Thrones series is well known for its trademark phrase: “Winter is Coming.” The phrase is known as the prediction of an army that is to sweep and conquer the land. “Winter is Coming” has been used in countless forms on social media over the years, however, HBO has indicated that they would prefer that it is not used by anyone to “promote their own agendas.” HBO responded on Twitter to President Trump’s Tweet with: “How do you say trademark misuse in Dothraki?” followed by “Keep us out of it.”

In the Tweet from the President, “Winter is Coming” was changed to “Sanctions are Coming,” talking about the Sanctions that the President has reaffirmed to be imposed on Iran. Iranian Major-General Soleimani responded to President Donald Trumps Tweet with a similar image on Instagram, that said, “I will stand against you” followed by the caption: “Quds force will stand against you. You start this war, but we will finish it.”

President Trumps promised sanctions will affect hundreds of Iranian entities in the oil, banking, shipping, shipbuilding, and insurance industries. HBO spokesman Quentin Schaffer released a statement saying: “We were not aware of this messaging and would prefer that our trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes.”

Two cast members of the blockbuster series also shared their reactions to the Presidents Tweet. Sansa Stark portrayed by Sophie Turner replied merely with “Ew,” while Arya Stark played by Maisie Williams replied, “Not today.”

HBO and President Trump have a history of animosity. Several years ago, then Mr. (not President) Trump called for viewers to cancel their HBO subscriptions due to Bill Maher’s late-night talk show being on HBO. Since Trump began running for President a handful of musical artists, including Aerosmith, Elton John, and R.E.M have asked that he stop using their music at his political rallies.


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