IP Goes Pop!: Abracadabra! – The Spellbinding IP of the Harry Potter Universe

“We solemnly swear we are up to….intellectual property!” From the words that laid out a fictional universe on the page, to a real-world merchandising, film and interactive theme park experience, the Harry Potter universe has become a pop culture staple of the last two decades. In this episode of the IP Goes Pop! ® podcast, hosts and Volpe Koenig Shareholders, Michael Snyder and Joseph Gushue, put on their ‘sorting hats’ and pull back the curtain to reveal the intellectual property (IP) of the ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’.

What can the world of wizards, witches, and magic teach us about real-world intellectual property? The global franchise that is the Harry Potter universe has been both a pioneer and target of IP litigation.

When it comes to protecting your intellectual property, there are no magic spells, potions, or wands to be waved. There are, however, trademarks, patents, and copyrights that each provide IP protection for you or your company, in order to protect a brand, work of authorship, or idea.

This episode will provide some observations for creating a fictional world that has aspects protectable in the real world.

IP Law is not magic, but it can be quite complex. No one can predict what projects or ideas will become a global phenomenon, but everyone can take the steps to protect their IP.


2:32 Common Popular Culture Character Tropes

 8:50 Harry Potter books and movies

  • Main Characters

11:42 World Building and Building Your Intellectual Property Portfolio

  • IP in the wizarding world
    • The Ludicrous Patents Office
  • IP in the real (muggle) world
    • Books, Movies, Merchandise

15:23 Real-world “Magical” Patents

  • Universal Theme Park Wand Shop Experience & Rides
    • US20140240102A1 – The System and Method for Tracking a Passive Wand and Actuating an Effect, Based on a Detected Wand Path.

20:03 Real-World Products

  • Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans Chocolate Frogs
  • Butterbeer

22:59 With Success Comes Lawsuits

  • “The Muggle Lawsuit”
    • Nancy Stoffer, The Legend of Rah and the Muggles, vs. J.K. Rowling, Scholastics & Warner Brothers
  • Fan-fiction works
    • anthologies, retellings published and sold as unauthorized books, guides, etc.

 33:35 Closing Thoughts




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