Well, its gone a little bit international now. yesterday I read in various places that Games Workshop is suing over the term "Space Marine", and now this seems to be blowing up in GW's face everywhere.

What happened is this.
Mid December Maggie Hogarth discovered that her book called "Spots the Space Marine" had been removed from the Amazon ebook store following a complaint by Games Workshop. Games Workshop says that its entry into digital publishing gives it "common law trademark claim over the term Space Marine.


On February 5th Maggie blogged on her own blog about the incident, and of course I am including a link to be BBC article on GW's claim to the term "Space Marine". This one doesnt look good GW. Think its time to back off?

via the BBC (for the entire article follow the link)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21380003

A spokesman for Games Workshop said it had a "blanket policy" of not talking to the media and had no comment to make about the row or its trademark claim.

Media and intellectual property lawyer Susan Hall from DWF said Games Workshop might struggle to assert its trademark claim in America.

"In the US they'll come straight up against the First Amendment and that's one issue they'll have to overcome," she said.


via Maggie Hogarth on her blog MCAH (the author involves speaks out)
http://mcahogarth.org/?p=10593

In mid-December, Games Workshop told Amazon that I’d infringed on the trademark they’ve claimed for the term “space marine” by titling my original fiction novel Spots the Space Marine. In response, Amazon blocked the e-book from sale [original post and update]. Since then, I’ve been in discussion with Games Workshop, and following their responses, with several lawyers.

To engage a lawyer to defend me from this spurious claim would cost more money than I have, certainly more than the book has ever earned me. Rather than earning money for my family, I’d be taking money from them, when previously my writing income paid for my daughter’s schooling. And I’d have to use the little time I have to write novels to fight a protracted legal battle instead.

In their last email to me, Games Workshop stated that they believe that their recent entrée into the e-book market gives them the common law trademark for the term “space marine” in all formats. If they choose to proceed on that belief, science fiction will lose a term that’s been a part of its canon since its inception. Space marines were around long before Games Workshop. But if GW has their way, in the future, no one will be able to use the term “space marine” without it referring to the space marines of the Warhammer 40K universe.

I used to own a registered trademark. I understand the legal obligations of trademark holders to protect their IP. A Games Workshop trademark of the term “Adeptus Astartes” is completely understandable. But they’ve chosen instead to co-opt the legacy of science fiction writers who laid the groundwork for their success. Even more than I want to save Spots the Space Marine, I want someone to save all space marines for the genre I grew up reading. I want there to be a world where Heinlein and E.E. Smith’s space marines can live alongside mine and everyone else’s, and no one has the hubris to think that they can own a fundamental genre trope and deny it to everyone else.

At this point I’m not sure what course to take. I interviewed five lawyers and all of them were willing to take the case, but barring the arrival of a lawyer willing to work pro bono, the costs of beginning legal action start at $2000 and climb into the five-figure realm when it becomes a formal lawsuit. Many of you don’t know me, so you don’t know that I write a business column/web comic for artists; wearing my business hat, it’s hard to countenance putting so much time and energy into saving a novel that hasn’t earned enough to justify it. But this isn’t just about Spots. It’s about science fiction’s loss of one of its foundational tropes.

I have very little free time and very little money. But if enough people show up to this fight, I’ll give what I can to serve that trust. And if the response doesn’t equal the level of support I would need, then I still thank you for your help and your well wishes. For now, step one is to talk about this. Pass it on to your favorite news source. Tell your favorite authors or writers’ organizations. To move forward, we need interest. Let’s generate some interest.




149 Comments:

  1. News articles like this that make me kind of disappointing with myself that I still buy GW products.

    Just under 2 years ago I stopped buying retail after Finecast, Excessive price increases, Trade embargo's on international sellers. I only get my product by other means.

    Now with this, the massive price increase we're going to see this spring, makes a man wonder if he wants to spend any more time on this.

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    1. I don't know much in regards to Trademarks and Copyrights. But from what I've seen, time and again GW has tried to let IP issues slide under the radar if they can. I distinctly remember an incident where a fan-made film got a response from GW along the lines of "By law we can't let you do that - please don't tell us any more, we'll pretend we didn't get this email."

      From pretty much every case I've seen, GW try to be reasonable until forced by law to react to these things. The IP is GW at the end of the day, it's what keeps the hobby there in the first place and surely if the author was so aware of the term 'Space Marine' she should of had the smarts to perhaps avoid using it as a title. If I wrote a book called 'Spots The Iron Man' I suspect Marvel/Disney may have something to say about it.

      At the end of the day if manufactured outrage leads you to quit the hobby that's a shame and I mean that sincerely, but GW is a business, it has to operate like one, there are flaws and idiosyncrasies across the system and it's a shame for the author but I feel common sense may have helped in this scenario.

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    2. The point is that Space Marine as an SF term has been around since the 30s. GW asserting trademark on this is ridiculous.

      The author points this out in her article. GW didn't invent the term, and trying to claim that it's something they've developed uniquely is going to be a hard, hard case for them to make.

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    3. "If I wrote a book called 'Spots The Iron Man' I suspect Marvel/Disney may have something to say about it."

      Not if you called it "Spots the iron man". Unless she had imagery or fonts alongside it that could lead a reasonable person to confuse the two IPs, it would be defensible.

      The term 'Space Marine' has been around for long, long before GW ever existed.

      The problem with GW is they're simply using their superior money to crush people now, basically because they can. This moves it over the line of 'business' to 'dickbaggery'.

      Somewhere at some point a person working for GW said, you know what, it's a good idea to send a crappy cease and desist under the horribly exploitable DMCA laws to this woman. They knew what they were doing. They knew it wasn't defensible. They were simply going with "We've got more money than her so she's likely not going to fight back".

      And it's not 'manufactured outrage' that makes me want to quit the hobby, it's not wanting to strengthen this asshattery any more with my cash.

      I've cut my spending on GW down to about a monthly average of 5 pounds. I'm at the point where I'd rather stop buying altogether and stop supporting such horrible business practices. If we could get more and more people to do this we COULD actually make a change.

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    4. Is it asshattery though? Am I wrong in thinking that by law they have to do this. Surely it's the system at fault not GW?

      On the Iron Man thing I'll have to concede under the assumption that you probably know more about what you're talking about. Frankly I've reached the point where I'm going to quit GW related forums rather than GW.

      People just jump on this whole anti-corporate band wagon and seem to wilfully ignore the reasoning behind it. In this case I could be completely wrong and to be honest I've little inclination to argue this case over and over. People just seem to enjoy making pariahs out of GW because they don't do exactly what they want.

      In ways I think it shows how passionate people are about the hobby and normally I'd whole heartedly support the underdog, but I think this author was asking for trouble and then tried to play victim. It seems like a piece of genius publicity rather than that she's been wronged in anyway.

      Finally I'd just like to add that while I may complain about irrational venting and knee jerk reactions, I don't mean that as a slight towards you Nick and Beltayn. You both make reasonable arguments, I just happen to disagree in these circumstances but I appreciate you both reading my post and making counter points rather than the whining retorts you'd find on other sites.

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    5. It's been a long time since i've read any Heinlein, and I'm in my 50s. The first time I recall hearing the specific term "Space Marine" was when I was looking into 40K and someone was describing the various armies of the game.

      Can anyone quote a specific author and book title where the term "Space Marine" was used prior to GW's publication of Rogue Trader? If so, that would be one thing, but if there are no other specific occurrences of the term in prior print, then GW has a leg to stand on. Otherwise, yes, they're just being dicks about it (but IMHO, that's generally what corporate lawyers do as part of their job).

      Any one specific reference will be greatly appreciated...

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    6. Didn't Starship Troopers use the term? I could be wrong.

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  2. This wil make me think twice about purchasing more GW products. I wonder how much of my dollar goes to litigation that I belive is less brand protection and more bullying.

    This is hardly necessary. What's next, sue the Terminator Movie Franchise?

    The irony that GW "borrowed" from Tolkien, Starship Troopers (the book), Dune, Aliens, and pretty much every other scifi fantasy franchise to build thier own brand make the company one incredible hypocrite.

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    1. Terminator, Ultramarine, Dark Angel, Salamander.. This could be the end of GW if they continue on this path.

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    2. HawkWall - taken the words right out of my mouth. I'd love to see what the current owners of Games Workshop's inspired content have to say about this.

      What's worse is this is how it all started. "I liked that Dark Angel book, let's make Lionel Johnson a character", "Star Wars was awesome, Imperial Guard Storm Troopers!", "Terminator? Terminators!" And the list goes on. How does GW have the gall to draw so much inspiration, celebrate and pay homage to all these different paths of fantasy fiction, and then bully an independant auther!?

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  3. I'd like to see GW suing the Tolkien estate over the unauthorized use of the word Eldar... no, wait.

    If every author (and the estates of deceased authors) sued GW for all the "infringed" names and concepts, there would be very little left of either 40K or Faba.

    It all boils down to the point, whether you can trademark a name or word that has been in common use. (Though going purely by this, "Monopoly" and "Battleship" would not have been eligible for trademark status.) However, GW has not invented futuristic space warriors in fancy power armour, not even in a steampunkish retro-tech context (case in point: the Sardaukar from Dune, which just so happens to be also one of the major inspirations for 40K). Using a particular kind of those space warriors in a game called Warhammer 40,000, and publications implying to be set in that universe, those they can lay a claim on, but very little else.

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    1. Tolkien didn´t invent all the stuff in His Books. His Races and their Languages are based on Folk-legends.

      You do know Orks Eldar Hobbits Dwarfs and such existed in storys just like Dragons and other Mythic creatures long before Tolkien came along!!! Like since the Dark-age!

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. OF course a lot of stuff like Orc etc.. have been borrowed upon as common terms.

      However, I am pretty sure that Eldar was actually a Tolkein term he created - something GW has "borrowed".

      I am sure the Tolkein estate could have a couple of words to say about that - but they clearly know, what with giving some rights to GW.

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    4. Better be Google sure. The word Eldar is a name thats been around for ages!!!

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    5. It's also worth pointing out to Tolkein was a Nordic language scholar. A lot of the languages he did make up.

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  4. I agree when there are plenty of other good games out there. I certainly won't be starting any new 40K armies, and if I need to top up the two I have it will be from Ebay.

    Maybe if GW apologise I might reconsider this.

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    1. "Ha! Yeh! GW is just a big evil company that only cares about money!"

      - Sent from my iPhone... in Starbucks... whilst wearing my new Nikes

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    2. Get your tongue out of their ass. Only dogs do that.

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    3. "Sent from my iPhone....
      In Starbucks.. .
      Whilst wearing my new Nikes" hahaha awesome.

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  5. Eh. Makes no difference to me. I see where it's a bit crazy, but don't care. As long as they continue to make products I want to buy I will buy them.

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    1. ...and this is why the world will never change.

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    2. To be fair though, the fact that the world needs to change is your opinion. If we could all agree on how the world could be a better place there wouldn't be an issue. DtSoP666 may well simply be content, not lethargic.

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  6. In Summary

    -Girl titels book smth Space Marine.
    -GW brings Argument why they hold the Copyright.
    -Girl goes QQ on the interweb!
    -Girls acounter Argument is: "GW is rich and girl is poor and there for its Bullying and not a legit claim!
    -All the GW Hater hop on the Bandwagon to bring down Workshop with massiv rants.

    Maybe GW closes down due to massiv QQ???


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    1. No, author's argument is "Space Marines are a common science fiction concept which pre-dates GW by 50 years, and GW is crazy enough to think that they (somehow) own a copyright of it. However, they have deep pockets, and I am going to have a hard time fighting this."

      Completely different from what you think the author says.

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    2. Doesn´t matter.
      Adidas claim and sues everything with 3 stripps. Succesfully!
      Starwars does the same for its titel!

      Just 2 cases were you could bring the same Argument that its not Orginal theres.

      They made those things big and build the Brand with lots of Money and work involved.
      Girl can sue if she doesn´t like it! her problem if she can´t. That doesn´t make her side right!

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    3. Not a GW hater, I wanted to take their side so much, but this is ridiculously inexcusable. It's a wrong doing to pretty much all aspects of creative sci-fi/fantasy fiction works.

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    4. Referring to an adult woman who's published multiple books as "girl" is insulting and sexist.

      GW's actions here are problematic, if not expected. The real villain though is Amazon, who complied with the takedown request despite the fact that they weren't required to.

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    5. " Girl can sue if she doesn´t like it! her problem if she can´t. That doesn´t make her side right!"

      So your saying that because GW has the money to sue then they are right?
      Sounds like bullying to me.

      GW should use some common sense of its own and walk away from this.

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    6. News for you guys... GW IS ALL ABOUT PROFIT!!!

      why would they care for some moral right?
      the law is behind them
      it would be stupid for them not to sue Amazone (since Amazone got lotz of Moneyz)

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    7. Why would they care about morality? Because they are human, maybe?

      Whether or not the law is behind them remains to be seen. They have a copyright/trademark on Space Marines as a board gaming concept. After writing fiction about Space Marines, they think that trademark now (can) extends to literature. It probably does not, and will only stop an author from writing a book about Warhammer 40k Space Marines, and not space marines in general.

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    8. Not to mention people take notice when companies pull BS like this. I try to take an unbias side in everything I read in the media and GW are making themselves look stupid if they pursue this. And ultimately this could hurt their image. **** incoming blah blah blah people will still buy their products blah blah blah big company vs little person blah blah blah**** say what you want but companies have PR for a reason and they are going to have to use it now.

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  7. It'll be interesting to see them go after Robert Heinlein. Reminds me of when White Wolf was complaining about The Underworld movies ripping off their ideas.

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    1. They won't. It's one thing siccing your lawyers on a relatively unknown author who's just paying her bills with writing. They're never going to go after someone well known with lots of money (or their estate).

      They only did this BECAUSE they feel she doesn't pose a threat to them.

      Why aren't they having it out with Blizzard over all the Starcraft 'similarities'?

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    2. Starcraft doesn't call them Space Marines?

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  8. Like was mentioned, GW has an obligation to protect their interests and IP. I completely understand that and hold no ill will for it. But this is pushing a line in the sand with high tide coming. What's sad is the hobby they are trying so hard to protect is suffering behind them.
    Instead of hiring lawyers, hire proofreaders. Maybe look at your model range and try to update or all? Look at the demand for some of if! Sisters, Black Templars, Eldar. Not mention the desired level of quality for all armies. I don't care that you made new units just to sell models(cough mutilators cough) when they are horrible both to look at and use...
    GW has to see that they are slowly alienating the fan base. Many of us gave picked up new games to fill a hole. I know with the price hikes I don't spend asuch anymore. I understand that with 9 armies and thousands of points GW has gotten my money and now wants some other sap. But I still plan on adding to my collection, and I want to keep expanding, but priorities dictate needing food and shelter before models.
    I hope that gw

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    1. With a corporation of GW's size these days, they will have an in-house legal person (or team) regardless of them having a pressing need for them or not. It's a corporate standard.

      I don't think they'll appreciate being asked to proof-read codices lol ;]

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    2. Actually, the legal department would be the perfect team to oversee the rules, their rule breaking abilities would be epic! Suddenly books wouldn't have to be FAQ'd within a day of release.

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    3. MOST EXPENSIVE PROOF-READERS EVERRR - Simpsons Comic Shop Guy

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    4. Awesome idea though. Give those vampires something worthwhile to do with their time instead of looking for ways to justify their pay that just screws with everyone.

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    5. ...Vampires? You're using a derogatory term to make a sweeping statement about a profession that governs and regulates us.

      Sadly Justice isn't an infallible concept and it's easy to argue a case for it being counter productive at times, but your choice of the word Vampires implies they do nothing and plague society.

      Sadly I'd argue they're a necessary evil like currency itself and while yes I don't count any among my circle of friends, it can't be denied they have to be of reasonable intelligence and to have attained a decent level of qualification and they're commitment to that should translate into a prosperous career. You could argue that many employments are over paid in general but really it comes down to the industry and supply and demand.

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  9. The issue isn't that a girl goes and QQs after infringing on a patent.

    What I have issues with is a company copyriting something and then going and retroactively attacking anyone that used the term in the past.

    That book was written in 2009. YEARS before GW patented the term.

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    1. Nop.
      GW had officially puplished work with the Space Marine in it 25 years ago!

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    2. But they didn't patent the term until this year. The term "Space Marine" was used before GW ever became a company.

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    3. 1995 is when Games Workwshop filed the term Space Marine.

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    4. "That book was written in 2009. YEARS before GW patented the term."

      GW got Space marine trademarked in 1995.

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    5. Doesn´t matter... its not patented in all country anyways!
      Besides the girl doesn´t have the patent either!
      But the girl could have googled her Titel before pickeing it!
      And the she could change the Titel now!
      Whats her porblem?
      She just wants to loot Attention for her Book! First with Titel! Now with hate campain! If this wasn´t GW sueing her but a noname company or other Authot NO ONE WOULD TAKE NOTICE!

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    6. I agree with you there. the fact that its not Trademarked in the US, just in europe could be problem for GW.

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    7. Or for US customers!
      If the US is not lukrativ GW will pull out of the Market!
      We allready saw what bad the Chapterhous lawsuit broght on the fans. Hardly new units in dexes from now on. No jetbikes for DAs. Its only a matter of time till we see full impact of this.

      Imagine Tau will get 3 dual kits at most. Thats hardly 6 units. Good luck for the next 6-8 years with that Dex!

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    8. It would be interesting to see a comparison of the Sales of her book before this happened, and then the sales since this has happened.

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    9. That blog entry made it sound like its not patented for digital text?

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    10. Crimsonshark,

      The book isn't available, I believe she only published it on Amazon and they pulled it when the request was made.

      Everyone else,

      Not being pedantic but trademark != copyright != patent. All are forms of intellectual property, but trademarks are the easiest to get and hardest to defend. The problem with this is, the process of using a takedown request to stop a book from being published sidesteps the legal process of actually proving your mark is enforceable in court. Unfortunately the author is self publishing, so there isn't readily available legal representation to fight the claim.

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    11. It is not only available on Amazon anymore, plus i was asking about her sales Prior to this, and the sales since, this is from the Authors Site

      "• Many of you have suggested I put the e-book up in some other way. You can find the e-book (all formats) on Smashwords, which allows you to sample the first 15% to see if it’s your cup of tea."

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    12. @ Ian Logsdon
      what would you do in GW place?
      Wait till the court hearing to stop them damageing youre profit?
      OFC they requested a take down. And Amazone was smart for not getting pulled into a lawsuit caused by a Girl that couldn´t google her own Book Titel Before publishing it.

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    13. One indie published book sold on amazon isn't going to damage gw's profits. If you think it is my god gw has an aweful business model and bigger concerns to deal with...

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  10. I... I kind-of think GW has a case here. While the term saw sparse use in SF as far back as the 1930s, it wasn't used in the same way. GW has built significant product identity around the term. Keep in mind this is common-law trademark.

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  11. This is potentially a dumb claim, but it looms more like GW testing where their trademark claims end. Notice nothing has gone to court yet, and no cease and desist letters have been sent, so far as has been reported. There's been very little money spent on the matter. Also, cases like these are more commonly decided out of court than in front of a judge. To me it looks like GW is testing to see what their product is, and if deemed theirs, protect it.

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    1. I wouldn't call it a significant brand, not a particularly known one.

      I've heard people use the term space marine and have no clue what GW or what their books are.

      Space Marine is still a fairly common Sci Fi theme/term. The problem is that we are all so engrossed in the GW world that we have a much more heightened sense of its terms and stature. In reality its a pretty small sub-section of Sci-Fi (and gaming) and by at large pretty un-known, but obviously to us its "huge" because of our inside knowledge.

      I am still not sure about this one. Personally I think its rediculous, since I personally consider it a generic sci-fi term, not unlike Elves/Orks/Golbins et al. However, if GW have genuinely had someone patent it and say "this is yours" then the law is on their side.

      GW has borrowed plenty themselves, but they probably have had the good sense to make sure they weren't stepping on peoples feet, or until they let people that aren't their own staff write for them, be a stake in the market.

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    2. I would argue that the best known space marines in the public mind are likely the guys from Star Craft.

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    3. Actually, I think of Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" when I think of space soldiers, but did he (or anyone else) actually use the term "Space Marine" before GW started using it specifically?

      IP is a slippery slope, but I've worked with enough corporate lawyers to know that if they don't rabidly protect their company's IP, it lets a crack in the door open up that makes it very hard to defend any of their IP in the future. Think of terms like "Xerox" and "Kleenex"...

      Plus, my guess is that they're still stinging from their run-in(s) with Chapterhouse, so are being more aggressive about protecting (what they consider) their "turf".

      As an interesting side note, look up what happened when Apple Records almost sued Apple Computers over the name "Apple" originally, and then the turn-about decades later when Apple got into the music biz (which they promised Apple Records they would -never- do), and then flexed their own (now) legal muscle and blew Apple Records off and basically said, "Go ahead, sue us. We'll out spend you in court.". Are folks likely to stop buying Apple products? Nope. Stuff like this happens all the time, folks, and, Yes, it sucks for the "little guy", but it's not going to change many people's spending habits. Just a very vocal minority (well represented here...)

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  12. I have a huge moral issue with companies patenting something incredible vague that's been used by many many people for decades and then going back and attacking anyone that used it long before it was even patented.

    There are other issues as far as patent companies actually approving these bogus patents.

    This is on par with Apple trying to patent "Rectangular displays with round corner", and then retroactively suing everyone.

    Where do we draw the line. Does GW pattent Dwarves and Elves because they are integral to fantasy and then go and retroactively sue the tolken estate.

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    1. "This is on par with Apple trying to patent "Rectangular displays with round corner", and then retroactively suing everyone."

      well yes, but this is basically what they did to stop samsung from using the "swipe to unlock" function.

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    2. There are laws and courts.
      What more do you need to draw the line?

      Its absolutly legit that a company protects its build up Trade Titel!

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    3. That's a little bit silly. GW cannot sue Tolkien over his use of any fantasy element because the good old Professor already pilfered those terms from other sources. Read Havamal in the Poetic Edda and you will see that the Scandinavians knew the names of Gandalf and the dwarves from the hobbit long before he put pen to paper.

      That being said, I support this claim. While the concept of "Space Marines" existed pre-Rogue Trader, it is GW that has taken the concept and fleshed it out into the ip we all love.

      The writer should use a different name for her book. Since its an E-book, I am sure it's as simple as using a replace all function to completely remove the term Space Narine from her book.

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    4. I apologize, it was Voluspa, not Havamal where Gandalf is mentioned with the Dwarves

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    5. Apple's "patent" on rounded corners is a design patent. It doesn't prevent you from having rounded corners on a device, it prevents you from creating an essentially identical physical case to the ipad and then selling your clone in competition with Apple. The claim does not preclude the use of rounded corners at all. People like to crow about that one because it sounds bad, but all design patents (like the one on the coca cola bottle) work this way.

      Slide to unlock is more complicated, but technically that one was an invention, it was a novel way to handle the problem of a device with a touch screen that goes in your pocket. They applied for a patent and it was granted because it was a new idea. *shrug*

      But again, we need to differentiate patents and trademarks. You can't patent something that already existed, but you can trademark an existing term. The question is whether the mark can be enforced, which is far more complicated.

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    6. Ian's last paragraph above nails it on the head. Enforcement is the problem, and generally the threat of a lawsuit is the tactic of choice. Doesn't make it right, but it doesn't make it wrong for GW to -attempt- to protect their IP...

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  13. I stopped buying GW last year. Of course, she could just change the name of the book ? She'll have plenty of free pub from this case.

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    1. its an E-book so changeing the Titel doesn´t cost her moe than a few Klicks!

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  14. I think GW has a bit of a case here, they have held the TM for "space marine" since 1995 over table top gaming and compute games, their branching into e-media and publishing with black library could mean they have an argument for that being extended.

    a lot of people sem to up in arms due to the fact that its a poor author that being attacked and wrote a blog about it. Amazon clearly thought they had a case or they wouldn't have taken it down. sorry but this is not a reason for me to hate GW.

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    1. Amazon doesn't fight takedown requests, they comply and make the author/publisher handle it. They don't have to comply, but they do. There's very little recourse for the distributor in a case like this, so Amazon isn't actually at risk. They actually instituted the takedown system because there were a ton of pirated novels being published to the kindle store.

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  15. Ha, you won't see GW sending these letters to blizzard or Microsoft. Don't they use the term in halo and Starcraft? I think both those companies have more money and could crush GW.

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    1. No they do not call them Space Marines, Star Craft uses the term "Confederate Marine Corps, the Dominion Marine Corps, the Alliance Marine Corps, the Alpha Corps, the United Earth Directorate Powered Infantry"

      and Halo uses "UNSC Marine Corps and the elite Orbital Drop Shock Trooper divisions (special forces qualified for drop pod insertion)."

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    2. I wonder if it's coming up because of the term "Space Marine" being used in the title of the book, I seem to remember something like this happening not too long ago over an indy computer game with the phrase "eldar scrolls" in the title and the makers of the eldar scrolls games.

      If I'm remembering it correctly, they claimed to have brought about the case because of them being worried about people seeing the title of the game and associating it with the eldar scrolls series

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    3. Yes this was over the game "Scrolls" (http://scrolls.com/) which was not related to The Elder Scrolls franchise but simply existed as a fantasy-themed computer game.

      I consider GW actions in this case pretty silly, but the Scrolls nonsense is even worse.

      There has to be a way around the "protect it or you lose it" issue with the trademark. Perhaps just being able to acknowledge that this might be infringing but that the risk of it making an impact is minimal so we're not going to be dicks about it.

      Delete
  16. Let the courts decide. ..I like GW products for their product. The law will prove them right or wrong not me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! Both sides have valid arguments. Let's let the justice system do what it's supposed to and decide who is right or wrong. Both sides are simply trying to protect what they think is theirs.

      Delete
    2. That's the thing though, this stuff goes on constantly without ever going to court because big companies can basically drown small companies or independent creators with a lawsuit. They threaten, the little guy complies.

      Delete
    3. Sadly, in court, whoever has the most money wins on these types of matters.

      Delete
  17. I love how GW has a 'blanket policy' of not talking to media. So... this is what the public relations department do? When people take this attitude to me, it makes me laugh. Dude, just because you refuse to comment, doesn't mean I'm not going to write the story. And when it comes out, its going to make you look ten times worse because you didn't take the opportunity to state your case.

    ReplyDelete
  18. All these post and forums make it seem that GW is the only company to do something like this...

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/feb/07/superheroes-space-marines-lawyers-copyright

    Her book would also have been taken down if she had named it "Spots, the Superhero"

    I think the biggest problem was that she used the term in the title, had she used it in the body of the novel, I doubt there would be a problem, considering that John Ringo has been using "Space Marine" in his Looking Glass series since 2005, just not in the title of the books.

    ReplyDelete
  19. The worlds tinyest giant evil corporation.


    ReplyDelete
  20. Unless she can get a pro bono lawyer yea, short of doing a donation drive for the "save the space marine name foundation" she is strong armed by the company. If GW would quit being so lawsuit happy, that would cut the costs of their company and they would not have to do all these wacked out price increases.

    I am not a lawyer, but I do work around them (and have had some courses on communication and legal/enviro law in college) in my job. I don't think GW has a leg to stand on when it comes to the term Space Marine as it has been a common word prior to GW ever being a company or created the Space Marine. Just look at the Chapterhouse lawsuit, they only got as much as they lost in the results, neither had a landslide ruling that ousted the other.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Copyright law is very much a "use it or lose it" sort of area. GW has a right and an obligation to defend the term "Space Marine" up until the point they are legally disallowed from doing so. This isn't the case of "huge, rich evil corporation coming down on the poor, independent author," but more of an issue of a corporation doing what is necessary to keep its copyright intact. If you don't defend it to the letter then you create precedent for other people to come in and blatantly rip you off. That's what this girl is referring to when she says she understands the obligations of owning a trademark, but she didn't have the financial resources to defend it the way that GW does.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'd think they would want another option that doesn't waste $$ on lawyers and alienate their customer base by appearing to be a-holes. This woman's book poses NO financial risk to them so there is no benefit to act in this manner and only the stupid copyright/trademark system forcing them to do it.

      Delete
    2. It's not about the financial risk or the PR it's about the fact that if they were to allow it once they now have created a precedent that weakens their IP. GW didn't create the system they're as much a slave to it as everyone else. If you want the system to change then you need to elect politicians dedicated to making the change and, quite frankly, there's nowhere near the political will to make that happen anytime soon.

      Delete
    3. basicly if they let her get away with this and other people get away with it, when a real challange comes up a judge could say "well yeah but you ignored this and that, as such by your own actions this is no longer a protected trademark"

      Delete
    4. Well said, Chris and Brian, well said... That's exactly the issue. I don't blame GW for defending the use of the term "Space Marine" any more tha I'd blame Microsoft for defending the use of the term "Windows", which is, obviously, a much more common term than "Space Marine".

      Sorry, folks, but that's just life in The Real World. You are, of course, free to vote with your wallet, but GW really isn't the "bad guy" here. They're doing what they have to do, within the confines of "The System"...

      Delete
  22. Where is the common sense? See, I can totally understand their Intellectual Property of 'Chaos' being under immense protection, its well fleshed out and easy to protect. Unless anyone else here can show me I'm wrong and that GeeDub were inspired by someone else's work to invent Chaos, but to me its so unmistakebly GeeDub.

    But Space Marine, 'marines in space', come on, how many instances in the history of sci-fi have we had combat marines, in space, in armour, with guns. I so want them to try and lay claim to 'Landspeeder' and get bitten in the ass by George Lucas, he had landspeeders way before they did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many times, but very few actually calling them "Space Marines"

      And it would be Disney now, not Georgie boy! hehehe

      Delete
    2. GW stole the symbol and name for Chaos from Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion stories. Infact most of their fictional universe is borrowed from earlier IPs that were not as legally protected as their own because the legal climate of the time was somewhat more temperate.

      If GW continues with this they are going to quickly find their customers alienated and their own IP in serious hot water when the Tolkien estates and others come asking about their infringed property.

      Delete
    3. So, Harley, when are you going to sell all your GW stuff and walk away from them? You seem to hate them so much, and yet... You're still hanging around them...

      :-)

      Delete
    4. Sorry, had my minis too long to let the current regime in control of GW keep me from enjoying the game and am hoping they can get their s--- together. -_^

      Delete
  23. Someone get the TSR playbook away from GW.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I like this blast from the past:

    http://sphotos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prnl/67991_556088641075937_25322784_n.jpg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love that. Someone should send it to GW, remind them of a few things...

      Delete
  25. Not in the least bit surprised with this, and I can't even really blame GW for their actions. IP issues are big deals these days - more so than they ever were and that's not going to change.

    These days, in Science Fiction, say "Space Marine" and most people will think of GW's product. If you think that doesn't make a difference, go ask the authors who had various books removed from Amazon because they conflicted with trademarks in Harry Potter, despite having written them years before. Rowling and her publishers were vicious. Or take the pub in England that had been called The Hobbit for decades that New Line tried to sue. If it hadn't been from the stars of the films voicing their opinions publicly, that pub would have been ruined.

    Alas, the Space Marines of the 41st Millennium can't speak out for themselves. Maybe some of the more level-headed chapters would have said this action was ridiculous. But they can't and GW's lawyers have money to earn and they know that when it comes to IP issues, they have company's by the low hanging fruit.

    Give an inch in IP issues, or fail to protect your claim just once, and that will be used against you in the future even if your claim is more legitimate.

    I feel bad for the author, and I don't think it's fair. I don't think GW would lose money from this in any way, and nor do I think anyone would mistake this book for a product created by GW, but IP issues don't have common sense. They are blunt, final rules and lawyers and companies like to keep it that way. It sucks on occasions like these, but that's the truth of it. And in a world where companies like Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft are suing each other all the time over multiple issues and effectively warring with lawyers instead of weapons, don't expect it to end.

    GW have to play the big boys. In fact, they have to play the 8 foot tall, genetically enhanced super soldiers that they covet and that they created. It's not always right or fair, and no one likes to admit that it happens, but it does. This poor author was a mere grot under the boot of a Deathwing Terminator. It's a shame, but that's the truth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even with enough luck, one grot can kill one deathwing terminator, in one turn. Someone, math-hammer this immediately. :D

      Delete
    2. Inside the hobby I'll give you, but I doubt anyone outside of tabletop fans would associate "Space Marine" with GW, or even know who GW was. I've been in to Sci-Fi my whole life and until about 4 years ago I'd never heard of GW or Warhammer, and I, and most people I know, would have associated space marines with Starcraft, the Starship Troopers book, or Alien. GW space marines are still not the ones that jump to mind when I think space marine just because of how goofy and poorly thought out they are for a sci-fi concept.

      The biggest problem here is courts letting companies trademark/copyright/patent things that are extremely vague, and that they didn't create. My friends and I were already tired of the ridiculous prices GW charges for mediocre work, so from now on we'll just be going third party. Hopefully enough other people will as well and they'll have to evaluate their practices.

      Delete
    3. 2% chance, (from my memory of a grot statline... 50% to hit 16% to wound 2.7% to fail a 2+ save)

      Daily dose of math!

      Delete
    4. LOL Harry Potter?!

      Ironies abound! Jesus, it's not like that whole series would exist if Rowling hadn't blatantly thieved most of, if not the entire concept, from The Worst Witch which was published years before.

      Just...LOL. I have no idea how these basts get away with it.

      Delete
    5. It tickles me that people use Starcraft as an example of Space Marines. Wasn't Starcraft originally meant to be a 40K game until GW decided against it so blizzard just made a few alterations and as a result have created their own IP?

      Delete
    6. I too am only recently into GW's universe, about 8 years or so, but before then, and being a big Sci Fi buff, I had not heard of Space Marines, as for what i thought about when thinking of Star Craft, Aliens, Starship Troopers, etc, when thinking of them I only thought Terran Marines, Colonial Marines, and Mobile Infantry, i.e. what they were called in those games/movies/books. My first encounter with the name "Space Marine" was when I started playing 40K.

      Delete
    7. I've heard people claim Starcraft is based heavily on 40k, but the game was originally based off of Warcraft 2, so I'd say it's not. Either way the statement was based on how well known the game was, not which was based on what, since neither was a unique concept, and I'd be willing to bet that Starcraft is much better known than Warhammer 40k, though I don't have evidence to support that, so take it as you will.

      Delete
    8. @Mauler: the Worst Witch! Now that's a blast from the past! :P
      @Calistarius: I'm sure Warcraft was originally Warhammer fantasy too, hence Blizzard's thieving of the Greenskin orc design, but it was totally unique because they switched dark elves to goodly!

      Delete
  26. A few things to note:

    1) GW does not have a copyright on the words Space Marine, they have a trademark. From the filings I have seen, at least in the US, it applies only to tabletop games.

    2) There are examples of prior art stretching back into the 1930s, but uses of the phrase prior to the creation of 40k are as recent as the 1980s. There's a song about Space Marines from the 80s, fercrissakes.

    3) When large companies threaten to sue people / smaller companies who can't afford to defend themselves over spurious claims, in the States, we call it bullying. With respect to the rights of IP holders worldwide, it's simply not nice to sue people over baseless claims.

    4) The Sci-Fi community in general is a bad group of people to piss off. Not the people who collect cards / games / books / etc, but the authors themselves. They have more than a little bit of solidarity when it comes to issues with publishers and plenty of examples on how to act based on people they look up to. Groups like the SFWA and CBLF are quite active when it comes to things like this, and I expect MCA Hogarth is going to have ample representation in her claims / defense against Amazon and Games Workshop.

    ReplyDelete
  27. What are they going to do next, go after the estate of Bob Olsen for his 1932 short story, "Captain Brink of the Space Marines?"

    ReplyDelete
  28. I hope that the insanely massive irony of this entire debacle isn't lost on people of influence at GWHQ and they can sort this out before more people outside of the hobby mark them as greedy pricks. Damn, enough people inside the hobby do already...

    ReplyDelete
  29. What a massive waste of money - there is no conceivable way GW could win that case. Absolutely none.

    Now if Hogarth (really?) was writing a book about the God Emperor of Mankind and his dominion over the Ultramarines and the invasion of the Tyranids? Yeah: GW has a valid argument.

    Using the word "Space Marine?" This is just dumb.

    If this is what GW is using their profits on...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's like you've not read this entire page! GW aren't doing this just to feel big and clever. Go back, read the posts and try again.

      Delete
    2. Cute - I did read them. My point stands: this is not protecting IP, it won't fly in US law, GW has no standing here, it's a waste of money.

      Delete
    3. Guess again, Mike, guess again...

      Delete
    4. Sorry Mike, I was being an asshat with that last comment really. I believe you're wrong but that doesn't excuse being petty. My apologies.

      Delete
  30. I'm no legal expert, my knowledge limited to Law and Order and Judge Judy, so I'm not going to talk legalities.

    Morally however:

    "THIS REALLY STINKS LIKE THE DECOMPOSING BOWELS OF A CONSTIPATED SKUNK!"

    That's putting it politely!

    Very politely!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps God should smite them from copyright infringement of the bible!

      Abaddon
      Belial
      Ezekiel
      Angels
      Demons
      Nephilim
      Baal

      That's just what springs to mind.

      There was a TV series with the gorgious Jessica Alba called Dark Angel, are they going to be sued?

      Delete
  31. So this is why GW hasn't been able to hire a writer to finish a full SoB dex in 10 years.... lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Due to an ongoing lawsuit with most religions on Earth over the term Priest, Confessor and Missionary.

      They're also suing God over the bible book Ecclesiastes which sounds like Ecclesiarchy.

      That's why you're not getting SoB

      Delete
    2. Lol, what's next, the Zeroastrians come back and sue them all over the use of "Angels" :P

      Delete
  32. This would be a semi-reasonable action coming from a company who didn't *ahem* Borrow... most of their IP from other sources... Case in point:

    http://i304.photobucket.com/albums/nn172/King_Tiger_101/633879099224788310-gamesworkshop.jpg

    Yet again, I find myself hating Games Workshop as a company, but still loving the Universe they created... What a sad situation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This, every day -this-.

      The problem is that the people who really created the universe we love; The Rogue Trader days of Warhammer 40k, are no longer with the company. Andy Chambers, Rick Priestley... they have moved on. Even Jervis Johnson no longer works on 40k.

      Delete
  33. The Best Porn Star Sunny leone Hot news and hot Pictures, Sunne Leone Porn Pictures and Videos
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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the fact this ^^^ is still here means nobody has yet read this far down.

      P.S. I wouldn't click the link myself if you're smart.

      Delete
  34. Games Workshop owns and protects many valuable trademarks in a number of territories and classes across the world. For example, 'Warhammer' and 'Space Marine' are registered trademarks in a number of classes and territories. In some other territories and classes they are unregistered trademarks protected by commercial use. Whenever we are informed of, or otherwise discover, a commercially available product whose title is or uses a Games Workshop trademark without our consent, we have no choice but to take reasonable action. We would be failing in our duty to our shareholders if we did not protect our property.

    To be clear, Games Workshop has never claimed to own words or phrases such as 'warhammer' or 'space marine' as regards their general use in everyday life, for example within a body of prose. By illustration, although Games Workshop clearly owns many registered trademarks for the Warhammer brand, we do not claim to own the word 'warhammer' in common use as a hand weapon.

    Trademarks as opposed to use of a word in prose or everyday language are two very different things. Games Workshop is always vigilant in protecting the former, but never makes any claim to owning the latter.

    Just posted on Facebook...and completely reasonable

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not really. If I were a shareholder, I would be upset about them constantly sinking money into our legal team without properly investigating first. In this instance it clearly is not a violation of their trademarked Space Marine intellectual property, so no legal action is required, and to take some is not only wasteful, but really bad PR.

      Delete
    2. The thing is, GW didn't take "legal action"; they took "commercial action" and just asked Amazon.com to stop selling the book in question. Amazon didn't have to comply with GW's request, but they did. So.... Can you really pin GW to the mat as "The Bad Guy"?

      Delete
  35. Thing is, if people truly are going to stop buying GW product over this then fair play to them but I suspect most people will still buy regardless of this (myself included). Whether or not GW do win any legal action to claim 'Space Marine', sci-fi writers will always be able to have their own marines in space. The TROPE is not under attack, you just have to come up with a more imaginative name.
    Games-Workshop are trying to push their product to a wider audience and that needs brand recognition. Other people using the term Space Marine as explicitly as this book would muddy the waters. I'm sure if there were to be a fictional setting that had a ''school of witchcraft and wizardry'', J.K. Rowling would be all over it legally because even a phrase as 'generic' as that is instantly recognisable as Hogwarts BECAUSE these terms are defended.
    Just my thoughts on this...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I disagree. An author is under no obligation to come up with a more imaginative name. They can use the words "space marines" all they want.

      I understand that GW uses the words "Space Marines" and wants to sell a product and brand with it, but all the worse for them. They chose a word that already had a fair play usage inside the sci-fi literature. That's their problem, and people don't need to stop using it because it will hurt GW's profit margin, as they assumed that risk by trying to build a brand off of a concept created by another author in the 1930's.

      Delete
    2. I'm not necessarily saying authors HAVE TO, there's no garuntee that GW could make this stick after all. I was pointing out how easy it is to sidestep the issue and personally I think it is lazy to have such a generic term (although GW is apparently fine in my head, probably because they actually have a 'proper' in-universe name)...
      So freedom of speech: yes, you can and should be able to say space marines
      Creativity: it's lazy, come up with something more interesting... :P

      Delete
  36. I'm usually fall on the side of GW when it comes to matters like this but even I think this is too much.

    It wont stop me collecting and Painting there figures but I hope who evers idea this was recognises their mistake.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Did anyone read GW´s answer?





    Games Workshop and the protection of our trademarks.


    Games Workshop owns and protects many valuable trademarks in a number of territories and classes across the world. For example, 'Warhammer' and 'Space Marine' are registered trademarks in a number of classes and territories. In some other territories and classes they are unregistered trademarks protected by commercial use. Whenever we are informed of, or otherwise discover, a commercially available product whose title is or uses a Games Workshop trademark without our consent, we have no choice but to take reasonable action. We would be failing in our duty to our shareholders if we did not protect our property.



    To be clear, Games Workshop has never claimed to own words or phrases such as 'warhammer' or 'space marine' as regards their general use in everyday life, for example within a body of prose. By illustration, although Games Workshop clearly owns many registered trademarks for the Warhammer brand, we do not claim to own the word 'warhammer' in common use as a hand weapon.



    Trademarks as opposed to use of a word in prose or everyday language are two very different things. Games Workshop is always vigilant in protecting the former, but never makes any claim to owning the latter.

    ReplyDelete
  38. So what is going to happen when the owners of the IPs behind the Tolkien Estate sue over the use of "Eldar" and the Eye of Sauron err... Horus. Or Michael Moorcock sues over "Chaos" and the pointed star Chaos symbol, or HR Giger over the blatent rip off of his Aliens, or Joe Haldeman over the use of genetically altered space soldiers who fight an alien threat in time dialation, or James Cameron for the visual use of humonoid skeletal machines (Necrons) and use of the term "Terminator" (not to mention the old reference to "We'll be back")? Or the Heinlein Estate for the use of "Power Armor" on space troopers against bugs which act just like Tyranids? The list goes on and on... GW is just alienating the heart of their fan base which is the Science Fiction community with these actions. They didn't come up with "Space Marine", they didn't even coin the term, but like Disney with their borrowed tales, are standing on the shoulders of giants, trying to see how tall they can stretch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They couldn't sue over something as vague as the eye of sauron = eye of Horus! The eye of Horus was at best a picture with added superstition, how is that like the fiery reincarnation of a fallen angel hell bend on world domination at all costs?
      Use of 'eldar' maybe, but 'humanoid skeletal machines'? No chance...
      And good luck with that power armour/space trooper/tyranid one... I'm sure that could be applied to anything with armoured soldiers vs animalistic/matriarchal society.
      Apart from those points, I do agree that GW is treading a VERY fine line though. Classic hormagaunt models literally were xenomorphs (aliens) with scything claws!

      Delete
    2. Also, with respect to "Who Ripped Off Whom?", lets not forget that basically EVERY modern sci-fi/horror villain/scenario originated with H.P. Lovecraft's work...

      And, to extend the example, examine what happened to Lovecraft's creations, IP and estate specifically because he DIDN'T protect his own IP, unlike other authors/companies...

      Delete
    3. the tyranids used to look a lot more xenomorph like, they changed them because of lawsuit fears actually

      Delete
  39. it's worth noteing that even reading the back cover it notes the "space marines" in the book use power armor. so there could be a lot more similarity then the blog post is saying. I don't belive GW should be able to copyright space marine but still... we dunno the whole facts. the fact that she specificly mentioned "Adeptus Astartes" does seem to suggest she's familer with the setting

    ReplyDelete
  40. Really does not surprise me in the slightest. Now if this only brought the same backlash to GW as Bethesda faced when they tried to claim the word 'Scrolls' but I doubt it could ever reach the same scale and this will end up forgoten about by most shortly... Shame.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why would that be a shame, Burgers? Do you WANT GW to fail as a company, and for 40K (or WHFB, for that matter) to cease to exist or, at best, be frozen in time?

      Seriously, the idea that a company is "bad" because it is "big" and successful and should therefore "fail" and/or be punished is altruism put to poor use... I don't understand a lot of you commenters on these blogs. You like to bitch and bitch about GW, and yet you play their games & buy their products. If you really dislike them that much, sell all your stuff and walk away, and ignore them. This constant bitching is really just tiresome, and not very productive, and quite juvenile...

      Delete
  41. CANT WAIT for GW to sue Disney and Lucas for the term "STORM TROOPERS" XD OH GOD im grabbing pop corns for this XD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just wait and you'll see... Frank Herbert's Dune sued lucas because tatooine, in fact, was Dune, the Tusken were the fremen and the idea of moisture vaporators appeared in both Star wars and dune. AND Lucas sued galactica because the zylons where similar to darth Vader, and the heroes were a brown and a blonde haired couple, and they were using starfighters that were similar... it has happened ALWAYS.

      Delete
  42. If GW keeps this procedure soon we will be assaulted in our homes because our minis are infringing copyright law as we didn't paint under our bases: (c) and TM Games Workshop.

    ReplyDelete
  43. like your blog and specially this post under the heading Games Workshop Hits National News, i am going to share it with my friends on fb and hope that they will also like it... keep it up

    ReplyDelete
  44. History lesson 101
    The earliest known use of the term "space marine" was by Bob Olsen in his short story "Captain Brink of the Space Marines" (Amazing Stories, Volume 7, Number 8, November 1932), a light-hearted work whose title is a play on the song "Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines", and in which the protagonists were marines of the "Earth Republic Space Navy" on mission to rescue celebrity twins from aliens on Titan. Olsen published a novella sequel four years later, "The Space Marines and the Slavers" (Amazing Stories, Volume 10, Number 13, December 1936), featuring the same characters using a spaceship with active camouflage to free hostages from Martian space pirates on Ganymede.[2]

    Space marines
    Titans
    Slavers (sounds like dark eldar to me)
    A lot of Sci-fi gets mixed up and GW shouldn't worry about it. If people like the idea of having Space marines from her book that can get to know better SM in GW stores.

    ReplyDelete
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