Harry Potter wand battle as British start-up takes on Warner Bros
Wizards duelling with wands are a familiar sight in the Harry Potter franchise - but now companies are duelling over the wands themselves.
A British computing company that develops gadgets to help children learn to code is in a row with Warner Bros over the launch of a Harry Potter-branded magic wand toy.
Kano Computing, which is backed by Microsoft, has demanded Warner Bros stop marketing its “Magic Caster Wand”, which costs £150.
The London-based start-up has claimed Warner Bros Discovery, the $36bn media giant that owns the film rights to the Harry Potter franchise, is using its ideas and intellectual property without consent.
Kano previously launched a “Harry Potter coding kit” in a deal with Warner Bros. The kit included a bluetooth-connected digital wand, which linked to a tablet, that children could use to play educational games.
However, in an email seen by The Telegraph, the start-up’s chief executive, Alex Klein, alleged Warner Bros had used intellectual property “shared in strict confidence” that had been developed by Kano.
A spokesman for Warner Bros Discovery said: “The claims made by Kano are without merit.”
In the email, Mr Klein asked Warner Bros executives to provide confirmation that they would “cease and desist go to market and promotion activities for the product”.
Mr Klein said he was exploring legal options unless a “fair commercial arrangement” could be reached.
He told The Telegraph Kano had been in discussions with Warner Bros for several years over potential future products.
Warner Bros' new wand uses motion sensing, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to connect with smart home gadgets. This means a child can use the “magic wand” to seemingly turn smart-lights on and off or create sound effects from smart speakers.
Kano was founded by Mr Klein a decade ago and has secured investment from Microsoft, LocalGlobe and Salesforce founder Marc Benioff. It has raised more than $50m from investors.
The company develops gadgets and software aimed at helping people learn to code. It has also branched out into hardware aimed at music fans, launching a Bluetooth music player that allowed users to remix songs as they are played.
It released its STEM music player in 2021 in a deal with rapper Kanye West for his album Donda.
In November, Mr Klein confirmed the company had cut ties with West over repeated anti-Semetic remarks.