AEW wrestler Chris Jericho has reportedly filed to trademark the phrase ‘God of War’ for use on merchandise and during televised appearances on professional wrestling shows. The filing was lodged on July 15 and is currently pending approval from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) — but while this seems like a cut-and-dry case of infringement, the trademark may actually be valid.
The lodging, made in the name of ‘Chris Irvine’ (Jericho’s legal name), is specifically to do with the term ‘God of War’ in relation to wrestling merchandise and performance.
You can view the full listing and purpose for the trademark below:
“G & S: Hats; Shirts; Socks; Bandanas; Sweatshirts; Hooded sweatshirts”, as well as “G & S: Entertainment in the nature of wrestling contests; Entertainment services, namely, wrestling exhibits and performances by a professional wrestler and entertainer; Entertainment services, namely, live appearances by a a professional wrestler and sports entertainer; Entertainment services, namely, personal appearances by a professional wrestler and sports entertainment personality; Entertainment services, namely, televised appearances by a professional wrestling and sports entertainment personality; Providing wrestling news and information via a global computer network; Providing online interviews featuring professional wrestling and sports entertainment personality in the field of professional wrestling and sports entertainment for entertainment purposes.”
The assumption by many was this would infringe on the intellectual property rights of Sony’s God of War franchise. However, trademarks are a bit more nuanced, factoring in phrasing and the trademark’s intended purpose.
As noted in the USPTO listing, Sony has owned the trademark for the God of War franchise since 2004, but this specifically refers to the phrase’s use within the computer game and video game software category for goods and services. This filing allowed them to shoot down a games developer trying to create a title named Lord of War in 2018 — but it likely won’t stop Chris Jericho’s trademark from going through.
His USPTO filing refers to ‘God of War’ in relation to wrestling merchandise, performance, news and information, and exists in parallel to Sony’s God of War trademark. According to U.S. trademark law, two entities may own the same trademark as long as their class or industry differs.
So while wrestling and video games frequently crossover (the phrase may not be allowed in the upcoming AEW video games, for example) the trademark’s use here differs enough that it may hold.
For now, the filing is listed as ‘pending’ with a decision to be carried out at a later date. While Jericho has started to crack out the ‘God of War’ nickname on live TV lately, expect any legal decision to impact how and when it’s used in the future.