What’s that now? Harry Potter promoting safe sex? Don’t be ridiculous, this is Harry Popper, a bespectacled, wand brandishing, pink prophylactic that, according to its Swiss manufacturers Magic X, “has nothing to do with Harry Potter.” Ahem, of course not.
Unsurprisingly, Warner Bothers is suing the condom company for copyright infringement. “The image of my client is in danger,” said a lawyer for Warner Brothers, brandishing a wand and muttering something about Muggles (probably). “This is clearly a reference to the film and fictional character Harry Potter.” As you can see, the packaging for the contraception depicts a cartoon image of a bobbled condom with round-rimmed glasses, a magic wand and a tongue sticking out in an unsavory fashion. NewsFeed might not be a legal expert but you can see the lawyer’s point.
The Harry Potter brand is worth an estimated $25 billion and the franchise has rolled out a huge amount of related merchandise (as well as a bunch of ideas deemed too wacky to produce). Warner Brothers and Potter’s British author JK Rowling are both notoriously protective of their brand. In 2008 a similar legal battle was fought against the Hindi-language Bollywood production, Hari Puttar: Comedy of Terrors. An Indian court threw out the case, claiming that the public would be able to differentiate between the two titles. The film company Mirchi Movies argued that Hari was a popular Indian name and ‘puttar’ means son in Punjabi. Rowling also got an unofficial Harry Potter encyclopaedia, Harry Potter Lexicon, banned from publication that same year, proving that it would cause her irreparable harm as a writer.
Meanwhile, the Cantonal Court in Schwyz, Switzerland, will decide in the coming weeks whether to ban the Harry Popper condoms. So you may need to stock up now if you fancy adding something unusual to your collection of Potter memorabilia. (via The Daily Telegraph)
– Frances Perraudin