Hong Kong Harry Potter-themed cafe sued for copyright infringement by Warner Bros

Hong Kong Harry Potter-themed cafe sued for copyright infringement by Warner Bros
The front door of 9 3/4 Cafe in Mong Kok, which has been sued by Warner Bros Entertainment, for "wrongful acts of trade infringement, copyright infringement and passing off", and demanded an unspecified sum of damages plus multiple injunctions.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post

Warner Bros Entertainment has sued a Harry Potter-themed cafe in Hong Kong for copyright infringement.

In a writ filed to the High Court on Tuesday, the Hollywood giant accused the 9 3/4 Cafe in Mong Kok of infringing its copyright to its original artistic works, and demanded an unspecified sum of damages, a removal order plus multiple injunctions.

At issue was the cafe's use of Hong Kong-registered trademarks that included "Harry Potter", "quidditch" and "muggles", and Chinese names such as "Professor McGonagall's magical salad" and "the dementor's kiss".

The California-based company also took issue with the cafe displaying iconic elements seen in the movie franchise, like the luggage trolley half-submerged in a wall, the Gryffindor coat of arms and the Hogwarts Express train ticket for Platform 9 3/4.

The listed defendants are DKAJ Limited and its four directors: Kelvin Ching Kai-lim, Tsang Chiu-yeung, Wan Chin-yeung and Leung Chin-hei.

The small cafe opened its doors to "muggles" - or non-magical people - on September 15, 2017, serving a menu littered with the magical verse created by J.K. Rowling in her bestselling Harry Potter book series that later blossomed into a still-growing movie franchise.

Photos posted on the cafe's Facebook page showed its warmly lit interiors decorated with broomsticks, magic wands and movie merchandise.

Visitors are reminded that "9 3/4 cafe is not related to Warner Bros Entertainment Inc, Harry Potter or J.K. Rowling".

Still, lawyers for Warner Bros Entertainment found the cafe had committed "wrongful acts of trade infringement, copyright infringement and passing off", and took legal action.

The company is now seeking a removal order for the cafe to put away all banners, signs, signboards and promotional materials bearing "9 3/4 Cafe".

These items are to be delivered to the company's lawyers or destroyed upon oath.

The company is also demanding multiple injunctions against the cafe's use or display of its properties and original works, on top of damages and costs.

The Post has contacted the cafe for comment.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.

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