The attorneys at Warner Brothers are displeased with your reverence for the Harry Potter characters, and sent us a letter requesting the removal of all tea blends related to the series. We have 24 hours to comply before He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named descends upon us with an army of lawyers :)
If you’ve created a blend that exhibit even the slightest glimmer of magic, please consider renaming the tea and/or redesigning the label. The great purge is upon up.
We here at FYeahCopyright are not giving legal advice, for a wide range of reasons but we do want to note a few things.
1. Without having seen the C&D letter (although we would love to, for informational purposes) we are pretty sure this isn’t a copyright issue.
1b. This is a trademark issue. In other words, WB wants people to stop using character names because of issues like Likelihood of Confusion, and the fact that the sale of teas is a commercial activity in a way that, say, posting the ingredients of a blend on line like a recipe would not be.
1c. Trademarks exist to allow people to identify the source of a good/item or service.If they didn’t exist you wouldn’t know - without tasting or at least shaking a bottle - if the brown liquid you were drinking was strong tea, Diet Coke, Shasta or something truly unidentifiable. Likelihood of confusion may exist where there is a risk that a consumer will be misled, mistaken or confused about the source, sponsorship or approval of a product.
2. WB does own a large number of trademarks of character names. WB does not, however, own trademarks in a large number of magical terms, or even names of characters that are in the Harry Potter books (see: Nicholas Flamel, Merlin, Mdm. Blavatsky).
3. If Adiago wants to bar and/or purge all magic-related terms, that’s their decision - they need to protect their business. But if I were them, I would only look to terms/names coined by J.K. Rowling.
4. And that list does not include the term “muggle”.
But those are just our thoughts on the law and the issues.