Harry Potter-themed bar ordered to change its name by Warner Bros

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Name change: the Harry Potter-inspired venue opened in August 2017 (image credit: Horcrux Emporium Facebook)
Name change: the Harry Potter-inspired venue opened in August 2017 (image credit: Horcrux Emporium Facebook)
A Greater Manchester bar has been asked to change its name by the Harry Potter brand’s rights owner Warner Brothers.

The Horcrux Emporium in Horwich, Bolton, has been styled to look like a Hogwarts classroom and has had drinkers flocking in to try Potter-inspired cocktails and its iconic Butterbeer.

But Warner Brothers, which bought the rights from JK Rowling, asked the bar’s owners to remove any similarities to the Harry Potter brand, according to the venue’s social media.

The bar, which opened in August 2017, posted on its Facebook page: “The rights owner of ‘our inspirational books and films’ has been through our entire collection of photos and playful posts, and requested any similarities to their ‘owned’ imagery or use of isn’t allowed."

Name tweak

It added: “Still the same great vibe, still the same great drinks and atmosphere, same great décor, same great inspiration.

“So we will be tweaking our name as the author of our inspiration also sold the rights of the word to this global publishing company and they don’t like our use of their word in our name.

“We shall be asking for your input in our options too. For now, the ministry is breached and we shall fight to protect our emporium!

“The Place That Should Not Be Named – they couldn’t have made it more HP if they tried.”

Intellectual property rights

The bar's owner Tom Benson said: "From my point of view, it was never meant to give the impression of being 'official' of association with Warner Brothers. It was a concept idea of creating cocktails as potions, styling the place on old wooden school lab benches and what better way to be inspired by a story that’s been around for 26 years of my life.

"I understand its concerns, as the place has took the world in a viral media storm, but it’s the misrepresentation of us being 'themed' and not influenced that got us in bother. We’re honest with our products and service, so I reciprocated and explained the situation publicly. People power to solve this creative issue saw through and we have our new brand. We’re still the same attraction and interest hasn’t decreased- we’re now Crux Emporium (apt name) as voted for by the people and support has been amazing. As requested by Warner Brothers, any asset it states as trademarked-owned is nowhere near our venue."

A Warner Brothers spokesperson said: “We reach out where necessary to protect our valuable intellectual property rights, especially if they are being used without licence or permission, and as in this instance, in relation to a commercial venture.”

In response, the bar set up a poll on its Facebook page, asking users if they preferred Horcruce Emporium or Crux Emporium (Horwich).

Currently, the poll has had 1,000 votes, with 75% in favour of Crux Emporium (Horwich).

Related topics: Legislation

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