No happy end for Switzerland’s Harry Popper condoms

After a lengthy battle, the Swiss manufacturer of Harry Popper condoms has lost a trademark dispute with US entertainment giant Warner Brothers.

No happy end for Switzerland’s Harry Popper condoms
Warner Bros. was not amused by the novelty condoms. Photo: Magic X

Swiss sex shop chain Magic X has been distributing its novelty Harry Popper condoms for over a decade.

The packaging of the condoms features a magician wearing distinctive Harry Potter-style round glasses and waving a magic wand.

But US entertainment firm Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc, which along with author J.K. Rowling, owns the rights to the Harry Potter trademark, was not amused by the product.

In 2008, the US company filed a suit with the Schwyz Cantonal Court calling for the Swiss firm to stop using the Harry Popper name. The Swiss court went on to take up the matter in 2010.

“The image of my client is at risk,” a Warner Bros. lawyer said at that time, arguing that anyone who saw the condoms would automatically think of the schoolboy magician.

But Magic X argued the Harry Popper trademark had been registered in 2006 and had nothing to do with the character from the hugely popular books and films.

A long legal battle ensured, with Warner Bros. in 2011 calling for damages to be paid based on profits made by Magic X for sale of its condoms.

In 2017, the Schwyz Cantonal Court finally found in favour of Warner Bros. and called on the sex shop chain to pay over 150,000 francs in damages – a sum decided by the court after Magic X failed to provide figures on profits derived from the sale of the condoms.

Magic X then appealed to the Federal Supreme Court but this appeal has now been rejected, Swiss news agency SDA reported on Wednesday.


Spain launches safe sex campaign as STD rates soar among millennials

Spain will launch a campaign to urge young people to "always carry a condom on them" as the number of sexually transmitted infections (STI) surges, the government said Thursday.

Spain launches safe sex campaign as STD rates soar among millennials
Photo: ginasanders/Depositphotos

The news comes a week after the World Health Organization expressed alarm at the lack of progress on curbing STI or diseases (STD), with one expert warning of complacency as dating apps spur sexual activity.

In Spain, videos and ads will be posted from Monday on social networks, music platforms and media that 14- to 29-year-olds most follow, the health ministry said.

“It's normal that you want to do it in your parents' bed. What isn't normal is that you want to complicate your life,” reads one ad, going on to show the number of new cases of HIV and other infections.

In a statement, the health ministry urged “everyone — and particularly the young — to always have a condom on them and use it.”   

“The use of condoms has dropped among the 15- to 18-year-olds over the last few years,” Health Minister Maria Luisa Carcedo told reporters.   

She said there was complacency over STI, including infection by the HIV virus that causes AIDS.

The campaign is a “first shock measure” to challenge the rise of STI among young people, the statement said.   

The number of cases of gonorrhoea, for instance, has risen an average of more than 26 percent annually between 2013 and 2017, according to the ministry.   

Syphilis “has risen less but in 2017, it reached its highest peak since the start of statistics in Spain: 10.61 infections per 100,000 residents compared to 2.57 in 1995.”

The highest rates of chlamydia, meanwhile, are among 20- to 24-year-olds and particularly women, the ministry said.   

In 2017, Spain registered close to 24,000 cases of infection by gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia and LGV, a sexually-transmitted disease, according to the statement.

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