Spots the Space Marine is back for sale! Wow, this was unexpected, as I had figured that this would take months or even longer to resolve, but as of late yesterday Spots the Space Marine is back up on Amazon for sale.

Thanks to Rob Scott for pointing out the following post through the EFF, as I had not seen it yet.



EFF to the rescue!
Trademark Bully Thwarted: Spots the Space Marine Back Online
Score one for the space marines.

Last month, a UK game developer, Games Workshop, complained to Amazon.com that an ebook, Spots the Space Marine, infringed its trademarks in the term “space marine.”  Turns out Games Workshop sells a popular game, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, and has registered marks in the term “space marine” in connection with games. But Games Workshop lost all sense of proportion and decided that it also had trademark rights to the term in books. And thus a trademark bully was born.

After it received the complaint, Amazon promptly removed the book from its virtual shelves.  When the author, M.C.A Hogarth, protested, Amazon initially refused to reinstate the book and instead politely suggested she resolve the dispute directly with Games Workshop.

Hogarth was understandably shocked. As many folks pointed out, “space marine” dates back to at least the 1930s, appearing in a variety of science fiction including works by Robert Heinlein. It is a science fiction icon. So the notion that any single entity, much less a gaming company, could have broad rights in the “space marine” is outrageous.

Hogarth tried to resolve the dispute in a friendly way, but Games Workshop refused to withdraw its complaint. So she reached out for help, including to EFF (and thanks to the many folks, including Wil Wheaton, Popehat, and Cory Doctorow, who helped spread the word). We were able to intervene and, to Amazon’s credit, the company reviewed the claim and restored the book. Let’s hope Games Workshop will now have the good sense to realize the bullying has to stop.

We’re pleased that Amazon did the right thing here, and that we were able to help. And we’re also pleased that so many internet users got involved to support Ms. Hogarth. Together, we sent a signal: Trademark bullies will not be tolerated online.

But the work is not yet done: this is just one instance of a much bigger “weakest link” problem that imperils online speech and commerce.  Offline, most legal users can ignore improper trademark threats, because the bullies will probably have the good sense not to test the matter in court and have little recourse through third parties. In the Internet context, however, individuals and organizations rely on service providers to help them communicate with the world and sell their products and services (YouTube, Facebook, eBay, Amazon.com, etc.). A trademark complaint directed to one of those third-party providers can mean a fast and easy takedown – as it did here.  After all, those providers usually don’t have the resources and/or the inclination to investigate trademark infringement claims – they’d rather stay “neutral.” As a result, a “neutral” provider generally means “you lose” to people facing bogus trademark claims.  Moreover, because there is no counter-notice procedure, the targets of an improper takedown have no easy way to get their content back up even if they chose to fight.

This bigger problem is not going away anytime soon.  Users, let’s keep standing up to trademark bullies, and helping others do so, too.  Intermediaries: take a page from Amazon here, and take the time to help your customers protect themselves.  An easy first step is to make sure your trademark takedown policies include easy-to-use counter-notice procedures.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/02/trademark-bully-thwarted-spots-space-marine-back-online




The Return of Spots the Space Marine
Here is what was posted by Maggie on her blog
http://mcahogarth.org/?p=10661

Posted by mcah on February 8, 2013 Leave a comment (15)Go to comments
Last night many of you alerted me to the reappearance of the e-book edition of Spots the Space Marine on Amazon. I hope you’ll join me in applauding Amazon’s decision to reinstate the book. Amazon and other major retailers have given me wonderful opportunities as an independent author, not just in e-books but in print and audiobooks. The stories I’ve sold to magazines launched my writing career but it’s the sales I make from these outlets that allow me to buy food for my family.

I cannot say enough good things about the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who have been enthusiastic, supportive and productive. They pursued my case with passion and principle and are standing by should any more developments necessitate their aid. Many of you have asked if you can help me pay my legal costs; I would encourage you to donate to the EFF to help support their good work.

At this point my defense is done unless legal action develops in response to the reinstatement of Spots. But this is one small battle in a long war, and we must continue to protect common terms by refusing to reshape our creations to placate over-zealous legal teams. If you’ve run afoul of this sort of behavior, you are not alone, and help is out there. My experience proves it.

I continue to be gravely concerned by the lack of due process shown me. There’s a tradition of facing one’s accuser, and one of the worst parts of this ordeal was having no petition, no appeal, no right to defend myself and point out the absurdity of the claim against me. It seems that some may take advantage of this for a cheap legal ride, damaging someone’s income and reputation simply by firing off an email. This is wrong and nothing about Spots’ outcome will prevent it from happening again. I’m not sure how a change in that process might be effected, but until that happens we’ll have to continue to stand together.

On a personal note, I want to tell you what an unbelievable few days it’s been. When I first received the take-down notice from Amazon, I was stunned—a single email seemed to imbue the world with a formless menace. For most of two months I’ve been walking with hunched shoulders, fighting a sort of numb disbelief. When I made my post on Tuesday I didn’t know what to expect and was on the verge of surrender. What happened instead has reaffirmed my faith in the benevolence and decency of people everywhere.

I tell my daughter that there’s magic in the world and that human beings are responsible for creating it. You all have proved that decisively. I’ll never forget the past few days, and for that I and my family thank you earnestly from the depths of our hearts.

Space marines forever!
—Maggie


138 Comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It doesn't really matter if you do or don't like the author's version of space marines. The thing is that GW (as much as I love their products and want them to continue) shouldn't be able to send out takedown orders that they know they can't defend to anyone that they think won't be able to afford to fight it. That doesn't grow the economy or promote creativity, it limits and suppresses it. GW makes excellent products, and if the name was 'Spots the Astartes' then I would completely understand.
      For any of you interested, here's an interesting article.
      https://www.dropbox.com/s/qogzd4x9qncgkri/WITHDRAWN-Republican-Study-Committee-Intellectual-Property-Brief.pdf
      From what I understand, the article was withdrawn shortly after it was published, and the author was fired.

      Delete
    2. I will agree that my orginal post was a tad strong.

      Delete
  2. Nah GW and Matt Ward seem to have that covered all by themselvess...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well guess I can feel free to publish my trademark breaching stories now, and appeal to the masses when I'm sued.... Whilst there is prior use of the term in literature all she had to do was change the title. Guess its open season on GW IP now

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yeah...
      you can basiclly use all the 40k stuff now and claim you mean diffrent SpaceMarine Orks Eldar and so on.

      Delete
    2. So you guys would CLEARLY find it viable for GW to sue Microsoft/Bungie for using both power armor and space marines in their games and such? Clearly a super-soldier in an exo-suit is infringing on the rights of GW's copyrights, and all that rot.

      Delete
    3. look at it this way

      everybody can use GW IP now if they just claim its not meant to be the same thing
      its a diffrent univers ect.

      along with the chapterhouse lawsuit
      i can now make minis that look the same and call them SMs

      anybody can loot from anybody succes now

      in the long run we as the customers will pay for this with rising prices

      Delete
    4. @Will Bolander: It's perfectly fine to 'invent' super-soldiers in any type of exo-suit, trying to stop that would be like Mercedes suing all other car makers for stealing their idea. Mercedes can't sue car makers for making cars, but they could sue them if they started calling their cars Mercedes!

      Delete
    5. Nonsense. This usage of space marine clearly had nothing to do with the 40k IP. If it was, then GW would have every right to ask it to be pulled and sue for damages. Likewise, she was under zero obligation to change her title. All the worse for GW for trying to build a market off a previously existent and common science fiction trope. If they did not want potential "brand confusion," then perhaps they should have thought of that before.

      Delete
    6. Yes, in retrospect it would have been been easier for GW to come up with a different 'street' name for the adeptus astartes.
      But it's a couple decades too late for that now so they're just trying to do the best they can with what they've built.

      Delete
    7. In Intellectual Property Rights, there is a concept of Public Domain. If a copyright is not created, not enforced, or allowed to lapse, the IP enters the PD.
      GW's actions are intended to prevent their IP from entering the PD through non-enforcement of their copyright. The problem with that, in this context, is that the term 'space marine', as used in the generic (rather than specific), is already in the PD. You cannot copyright, or re-copyright, material in the PD.
      If this piece clearly described an Astartes in her context of a Space Marine, it may be infringement - but bear in mind that GW does not have a copyright issued, but using, as their argument, the concept of common law copyright. That they don't have a right, per se, but should be treated as having one, due to per-existing interested.
      However, case law supports that, any attempt by GW to copyright the term 'space marine', would be met with failure (see the creator the classic smiley face - who didn't try to get a copyright until after it had entered the PD). They might - MIGHT - have more success with the term 'Space Marine' or some other variant spelling/punctuation, but even this has been shot down by courts in the past.

      Delete
    8. OMG! GW does not own the term space marine, they borrowed it from the lexicon of sci-fi, just like elves, dwarfs, etc. These terms exist long before gw or citadel miniatures.

      Delete
    9. OMG! GW does not own the term space marine, they borrowed it from the lexicon of sci-fi, just like elves, dwarfs, etc. These terms exist long before gw or citadel miniatures.

      Delete
    10. Does anyone else want to punch Warlord 22 in the face?

      Delete
    11. He's a moron and a troll I ignore him now :)

      Delete
    12. @ Michael. I almost do, but he's got a point with his last sentence. A butterfly could flap its wings in China and customers would need to pay for it in price hikes.

      Delete
  4. Ugh, this is NOT bullying. This is how copyright law works. It's not like some jerk kid sitting at his computer decided he was going to ruin this independent author's life.

    I'm glad the author was able to get her work reinstated and that she'll make some money off of it, but let's stop with this classification of the ordeal as some sort of bullying event where GW is trying to somehow own the words "Space Marine".

    GW makes money off those words and has created an entire fleshed out world where those words mean something. If it appears anyone is even slightly infringing on that by marketing those words in a similar setting to make money then GW HAS to defend it. If they don't then they set a precedent to allows other companies to make money off of GW's previously created setting. If they don't then they are weakening their own trademark which no company with a working law division would ever do.

    Amazon may have stuck up for the little guy here but now they've opened themselves and this woman up to legal action from GW, who I guarantee you won't be swayed by reactionary internet goers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. GW owns the space marine trademark for both board and tabletop games and in the field of computer games. That does not give them any special rights in any other fields of commerce. It appears that with the black library expanding into e-books that they were trying to claim a common law trademark in the field of e-books. Unfortunately for them MCA Hogarth and a lot of other people were there first. For what it is worth nearly all of GWs IP is highly derivative of common tropes and if the original creators were as trigger happy as GW is they would have been a smoking crater decades ago.

      To the specific point, space marine is a term used in books since the early 1930s. GW shouldn't get to own that. Adeptus Astartes on the other hand probably qualifies for strong IP protection.

      Delete
    2. GW got a registered trademark for "Space Marine
      " in the US in 1991. The UK Trademark database is down for updates at the time I'm posting this, but I'm willing to bet that one is even older.

      And when it comes to Trademarks, it doesn't matter who did it first, but for whom it becomes a recognizable part of their "brand". Space Marines are a major part of what we associate with GW, so they do have a reason and a right to protect that trademark.

      Delete
    3. GW owes it to their trademark to be as aggressive as possible in trying to defend it. It doesn't matter if they would definitely lose, they still have to pursue it or risk weakening the trademark. By expanding into the e-book area with the Space Marine brand they can make a claim such as this no matter how likely it is to actually be true or ruled in their favor. That is how copyright law works.

      Think what you want, but this isn't a case of bullying, it's a case of a company doing what companies do. It's not as black and white as EFF (who you better believe has their own agenda) would have you believe.

      Delete
    4. @Chris Kyle

      I agree with you completely. This is just another case of someone who felt slighted over a company doing what they're legally required to do (because IP law does require you do be a dick to protect your IP) and the company being painted as a villian for no reason.

      And let's not forget the attacks by the community that aren't based on actual facts that undermine any legitimacy this author may have had.

      Delete
    5. Not an actual dichotomy. Simply because "this is just how copyright law works" does not mean that it cannot be bullying. The two, copyright law and bullying, are not mutually exclusive.

      Delete
    6. @Seifer

      As I said, IP law pretty much requires this. If GW wants to still be in control of their IP 5-10 years from now this is the kind of thing is what they need to do. It doesn't matter who uses "Space Marine" or why, GW has to look into it to make sure its not their "Space Marine" or else dilution of their branding can occur, and ruin what we have.

      This is the problem with the way the laws work more than GW honestly.

      Delete
    7. @Zion: Do you have any evidence of "IP law pretty much requires this?"

      Delete
    8. @Seifer

      If you follow video games there are tons of lawsuits that are pretty much exactly like this one.

      Marvel sued City of Heroes way back when because players could generate cheap knock offs of their trademarked superheroes. Marvel even released a statement saying they didn't want to but they essentially had to in order to protect their copyright. Is Marvel also a huge evil corporation wanting to keep the little man down?

      I'm not sure what the rules concerning linking is on here, but if you do a google search for Marvel suing NCSoft you should be able to find it pretty easy.

      Delete
    9. @Seifer:

      Yes, IP law (varies by country, but common general rules are defined by international treaties) requires that you commercially exploit your patent or trademark; if you do not, the patent will expire or the trademark will be lost.

      Of course, patents will enter public domain 20 years after the first registration application in one of the PCT countries anyway even if used in trade, but trademarks can be kept for all eternity. However, the catch is that a trademark that is left unused for 5 years is free game.

      Also, you are legally obliged to take action whenever your trademark seems to be threatened, otherwise it will again enter the public domain. Taking matters to court is not necessary, but issuing a formal complaint (as GW has done) is.

      Delete
    10. GW made a poor choice by using the words space marine. Beacuse those words and ideas existed before their ip came into existance. To claim rights over the words "space marine" they have to have created the idea. They didn't! By tryng to sue anyone who uses the words they are simply bullying a small time author who couldn't afford to defend herself.

      They need to defend their IP I agree, but claiming "space marine" and GW owned is rediculous.

      Delete
    11. That's not how Trademarks work. You don't have to be the creator of an idea to trademark it.

      Usage of Trademarks (from Wikipedia):
      "The essential function of a trademark is to exclusively identify the commercial source or origin of products or services, so a trademark, properly called, indicates source or serves as a badge of origin. In other words, trademarks serve to identify a particular business as the source of goods or services."

      GW owns the term Space Marine because they own the trademark for it.

      Regarding Registration (from Wikipedia):
      "The law considers a trademark to be a form of property. Proprietary rights in relation to a trademark may be established through actual use in the marketplace, or through registration of the mark with the trademarks office (or "trademarks registry") of a particular jurisdiction."

      And that's how GW established ownership: through usage and by registering it.

      And here's why they were able to gain the trademark for the term:
      : If trademark owners do not hold registrations for their marks in such jurisdictions, the extent to which they will be able to enforce their rights through trademark infringement proceedings will therefore be limited. In cases of dispute, this disparity of rights is often referred to as "first to file" as opposed to "first to use.""

      Maintaing Rights (again, from Wikipedia):
      "Trademarks rights must be maintained through actual lawful use of the trademark. These rights will cease if a mark is not actively used for a period of time, normally 5 years in most jurisdictions. In the case of a trademark registration, failure to actively use the mark in the lawful course of trade, or to enforce the registration in the event of infringement, may also expose the registration itself to become liable for an application for the removal from the register after a certain period of time on the grounds of "non-use"."

      And that's why GW HAD to do what they did. Failure to do so triggers "non-use" and could cause them to void their trademark.

      For those who actually want to know more about Trademarks Wikipedia has an article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark

      I really wish people would do a little more reading before jumping onto the "GW is Wrong" bandwagon.

      Delete
    12. Thank you for doing the research Zion, and posting it here. This is exactly what people need to read. A company MUST aggressively try to protect their trademarks or run the very real threat of losing them and, in the process, lose their brand and all the hard work, time and money that has gone into building said brand. GW might lose a case such as this in open court, but they have an obligation to their shareholders (the owners of the company, regular folk like you and me who hold share) to make a vigorous attempt to defend their TM, or else they won't have a leg to stand on in what might be a more blatant attempt at pirating their brand in the future.

      Boys & girls, this is how the real world works. You may not like it, heck, GW's management & employees probably don't like having to do it, but the HAVE to make a strong effort to protect their IP. I've worked in Corporate America for almost 30 years, and have been involved in several situations such as this (as a provider of historical data used in lawsuits), and I can tell you, no company WANTS to be viewed as "oppressors of the little guy". But there are a lot of bad people in this world who have no problems trying to steal from law-abiding, honest folks. I'm not saying this author is one of those thieves, but this is a case where she may have innocently produced her own work and infringed on someone else's TM.

      Please stop vilifying GW for doing what the law requires them to do!

      Delete
    13. @jdwelch62,

      I'm glad someone appreciates it. I know I'm going to get a lot of mileage out of it because people need to be reading this kind of stuff before they go jumping on bandwagons.

      Legal matters are often a lot muddier and more complicated than people think. There are a lot of things that people and companies -have- to do, even if they don't want too. There aren't a lot of people out there sitting around, twirling their moustaches while they smoke their cigars and try and think of ways to screw over "the little man".

      GW was painting by the numbers set out before them by law and people want to accuse them of being the villians, when their path was chosen for them by the author's very choice of putting "Space Marine" in the title. I'm not trying to say she intentionally start this, but her actions where directly responsible for this debacle.

      But that's not the point. The point is GW is being unfairly cast as the villain in this play when really they were bound by law to do this in hopes of keeping their IP unmolested, leaving them little more than marionettes being tugged along by the strings of the legal system.

      TL;DR: GW didn't do anything wrong, get over it.

      Delete
    14. @ Everyone. You ARE aware, aren't you, that the EFF is a team of legal professionals?

      Maybe it isn't bad for GW to protect their IP, but then the whole presumption that they are doing that (instead of bullying) requires you to know that they DO in fact have a trademark on the use of the term in literature, which is a point up for debate.

      Either way, they went completely over Hogarth's head. There were ways GW could have handled this that didn't make them look like idiot jerks.

      Delete
    15. @Thomas

      And you're aware that the EFF doesn't mention cases they've lost (because they were wrong), and has a highly biased agenda, right?

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. They will and im guessing the legal retaliation is going to crush that book and take and her career. All because she thinks shes entitled to use anyone's IP for here own gain.

      Go read the back cover of her book, it going to be hard to convince a jury that she didn't take that right from 40k.

      Delete
    2. From what I've read of the blurb it sounds more like starship troopers or E.E. doc Smiths Lensman series are the inspirations. For the record Starship troopers was published in 1959 and the lensman series was published between 1934 and 1954. Considering GW was founded in 1975, I don't think they have much of a leg to stand on.

      Delete
    3. In Starship Troopers they're the "Mobile Infantry", dubbed such because of the mobility given to them by their powered armour (which makes one look like a steel gorilla with an enlarged head).

      I'm going to go ahead and say that I've never looked at any of GW's Space Marine models and though "This guy looks like a big metal monkey", so yeah, I don't see Starship Troopers and GW have THAT much in common.

      Delete
    4. the idea of power armor is definatly something that originated with starship troopers. that said, this is a matter of "power armored troopers called space marines" it's certinly eneugh of a similarity for GW to take a poke at it.

      Delete
    5. "Powered Armour" (as it's called in the book) wasn't even a new idea then. It just replaced the idea of it being powered by magic with being powered by science.

      That said, genetically altered super soldiers who are nigh-unkillable, around 7.5-8' tall and weigh over a ton in their armour is something that GW created, called Space Marines and has been imitated since.

      Delete
    6. genericly engineered super soldiers isn't even a unique idea to 40k Space marines in a table top enviroment

      Delete
  6. I'd take Ward's and GW's Space Marines over her crappy representation of them. I read part of her book I'm sorry she ripped her Space Marines from GW's. If it wasn't for GW and thier creative interpretation of a Space Marine, nobody would know what a Space Marine is. I'm glad they have a trademark on Space Marines they are keeping them relevant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad there's input from someone who's actualy read the book!
      I had a suspicion that the contents of the book would be a part of this debate, especially seeing as nobody else actually claimed to have read it/have any idea about the actual book beyond the title.

      Delete
    2. agreed just reading the back of the book it does sound there are some similarities. also she specificly talked in ehr post about the adeptus astartes so this isn't a woman who can rightly plead ignorance of GW's IP

      Delete
  7. I'd make a joke about how every should boycott Amazon but, sadly it would be too close to the truth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know a few people in the UK who were already boycotting Amazon for their tax evasion ;)

      Delete
  8. I would live to see GW send a similar email to Microsoft and blizzard. Guess its easier to pick on the housewife.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's all in the context not the size of the opposition. If Microsoft or Bungie released a game called Space Marine. GW would be hammering in their door for vast sums of cash rather than a polite please don't publish or could you rename your book please letter

      Delete
    2. B.S., if they went after Blizzard over the similarities in their products (and you are a moron if you don't notice the linkages & perhaps homage between Starcraft & 40K), then what would happen would be GW looking at a legal department a whole hell of a lot more competent than theirs (since they are actually in danger of "losing" a lot of their "IP" from incompetence and open retconning of evidence in the CHS case) that was backed by a company that could buy and sell GW out of petty cash since Activision Blizzard has about 100x the assets of GW. Result from nasty letter like this to Blizzard? GW loses 90% of the IP they claim to own.

      40k was started as a bit of a joke and is full of easter eggs and tropes that GW gladly lifted and filed off the serial numbers. Face it, a genestealer is an Alien look-alike, Necrons are Arnie Terminators (even down the the WBB rule), their "space elves" are even called Eldar, which is a blatant rip off of Tolkien, there are elements of Dune, Star Wars, etc., etc., etc. ad nauseum. The entire "IP" is based on stuff snatched up from elsewhere. Heck, if you don't see a dozen easter eggs in every Ciaphas Cain novel, then you are missing half of the humor in them.

      Really, GW is through as a company in the mid to long term. It is already starting to get to be cheaper to buy low end 3D printers that can "print" tanks in good detail that it would be to buy the vehicles. Which is half the price it was a couple of years ago and with better resolution. In a couple more years, they will be even cheaper and even higher quality (which means down to the individual soldier stage for most minis, although not those hyper detailed ones like in DV) and then where is GW stuck at?

      FYI, don't scream about someone "stealing" GW's IP if that starts, they have stated all too often that this is a "hobby" and it involves building & painting things. As long as you don't sell the items you "print", then you are bulletproof because you are simply using available tools to make parts for use in your version of the hobby.

      Delete
  9. So now does the internet start a roar over people stealing other ideas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why not? Can't let GW have all the fun. :P

      Though that might return to bite GW in the arse one day if it were to happen. GW like to 'borrow' just as much as the next person.

      Delete
  10. Blizzard never called the used the term Space Marine...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What I ment to say is Blizzard never called the Terrans or thier units "Space Marines".

      Delete
    2. And neither have the Starship Troopers been called Space Marines :P

      Delete
    3. If I remember correctly. Blizzards Terrans and whatnot look so much like GW's IP because the 2 companies were working together to make a space marine game, way back when. The deal fell through not long before the games release, as a result Blizzard had to make small changes to the design of their game before it was released. I may be wrong though.

      Delete
  11. I've got a original idea for a book. It's called "Sparks the Stormtrooper"

    I did a brief Goggle search and pretty much came up with nothing that it could be popularly associated with or any previous public notoriety that I can find.

    As a beginning author I revel at the opportunity to bring new fresh creative ideas to the world of Sci-Fi. I really look forward to the grand challenge of building my own brand over time with ample amount of resources. That way it will never have a mistaken association with or gain any free press from riding the coattails of someone else.

    If for some reason I find that I am mistaken and only just rehashing some subject matter that has been used previously through out the Sci-Fi genre, I promise to never use that as an excuse for being unoriginal and generic.

    I will also never write some sob story on my blog about just trying to support my family, not having the money to fight for my legal claims, or making some cooperation out to be a "Big Meanie" simply because I did not want to spend enough time and effort researching and honing my craft to bring something truly new, creative, and original to the pages of my novel.

    ReplyDelete
  12. WOW that was some horrible bias there in those articles.

    Here's a few things people don't seem to be aware of:

    1. It was only the ebook that was initially pulled, and Amazon did the pulling.

    2. The ebook was pulled in NOVEMBER, but we only started to see outrage in late JANUARY. The internet is NOT that slow on this, it's more that no real complaint existed for three months and then suddenly BLAM the poor author who was being bullied by GW appeared.

    3. GW has owned this trademark for 22 years now and has never used it to prevent people from publishing books that have "Space Marines", so if they put up any sort of legal notice on this they felt it was for good reason.

    4. GW's Trademark in the UK extends to books, which creates a grey area when it comes to their ebooks and trademarks. This means they were pursuing what they felt was the proper recourse for the situation they found to ensure that they weren't having their IP infringed upon.

    5. No one in the media or who is on the side of the author seems to note that her books sales have gone through the roof since this started buzzing.

    Either way I smell a publicity stunt by an author who didn't agree with a company checking to make sure she wasn't infringing upon their IP and wanted to raise hell about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very well put! It's almost as good as my own posts :P
      Seriously, it's nice to read a well thought out post that isn't just:
      "HEYYY guyyzzz!!!! OMGz GW is WAY too supa-bad, im Gonna stop buyin there products!!!" (before the trolls react, this is just a caricature not based on any one person. Any resemblance to actual people is purely coincidental)

      Delete
    2. So it seems the book has doubled in price since yesterday. Let's add that to the "author milking the situation" pile.

      Delete
  13. I know she's a writer, but it's all a bit over dramatic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not from her, however. She published and book and merely wanted to sell it. GW made this into a big issue, and she was forced to appeal to the internet, by and large, in order to do what she is legally allowed to do. Not her fault.

      Delete
    2. ...If I wrote a book titled "Spot in the Star Wars" I should expect Lucas to come for me. I could argue ignorance stating I lived under a rock but from a legal point of view I'm done for. Even if I just "merely wanted to sell it".

      Ultimately, maybe she should try being a talented writer and then she wouldn't have to self-publish and end up in this situation.

      Delete
  14. Thumbs up to Amazon. I hope GWs learns they've much more to lose than to win by bullying others in this way

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thumbs up to Amazon. I hope GWs learns they've much more to lose than to win by bullying others in this way

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wow, some really disgusting GW fanboys here. A lot of these pathetic sorts about, very depressing. Is there anything worse than a sad, sad GW fanboy?

    You have to be really dumb, and I mean MIND-NUMBINGLY 'tarded to think she was trying to play off on GW's Space Marines - GW's Space Marines, of which, MOST people have no idea they exist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Except all the gamers who got the Space Marine game. Or all the people who've read books from the Horus Heresy series like 'A Thousand Sons' when it topped the New York Times Best Sellers List. Or any of the other books that have also been on the Best Sellers List afterwrds because of the publicity it got...

      Just out of interest; (assuming that a GW 'fanboy' is anyone with something remotely positive to say in GWs direction which you must therefore not if you have such childish insults about them) why are you on a blog concerning Warhammer 40k, arguably the flagship of GW? If you really don't like GW then logically you wouldn't have anything to do with it, unless you have some "MIND-NUMINGLY 'tarded" logic :)

      Delete
    2. And most people didn't know she existed either.

      Delete
    3. as Jon said, space marines are pretty well known among sci-fi fans. I don't know many sci-fi fans who've not heard of 40k.

      Delete
    4. I can't believe how many people think 40K or GW's Space Marines are so well known by all aspects of Sci-Fi. They may be somewhat big in the tabletop gaming and miniatures game, but they are a tiny, TINY part of Sci-Fi as a whole. To say that someone had to have known about GW's Space Marines is dumb. I guarentee more people know about Space Marines as a generic Sci-Fi term than as a GW term, and it's a term GW "borrowed" from previous Sci-Fi writers and creators. GW and "their" ideas aren't as giant and well known an entity as some people seem to think. Just because your lives revolve around GW and their games, books, or whatever doesn't mean everybody knows about them. They may be a huge part of your life, but they're still a tiny, TINY part of Sci-Fi as a whole and I wish people would stop trying to talk about them like they're some kind of massive Sci-Fi entity just because they're on a blog about GW and their games.

      There are more people interested in Sci-Fi that have no clue about GW and "their" ideas than do, so please stop trying to make them sound like the whole world knows GW and that they are the epitomy of Sci-Fi, because they aren't, they just "borrowed" from some good Sci-Fi writers.

      Delete
  17. Good for her. She did nothing wrong, and GW should demonstrate some legal prudence before filing claims next time.

    On a side note, I cannot understand how many people are willing to jump to the defense of a major multi-million dollar corporation who is throwing its weight around and overstepping its bounds by trying to crush the (metaphorical) "little guy."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Speaking personally it's less "defending" GW and pointing out the "facts" that people ignore in favour of trashing GW.

      I'd be on the other side of the fence if I thought GW was doing something that was actually wrong, but people make the mistake of confusing "I don't agree with this on moral grounds" and "They can't do this because it's not legally sound", and while GW may violate the first, they aren't violating the second.

      All I'm saying is that if people want to call GW on something they really need to spend some time doing the research and present some actual evidence backing up their claims.

      Delete
    2. The arguments from both sides are quite transparent. GW has a trademark on "Space Marine" when it pertains to their IP and tabletop games and video games. In addition, they have a very successful (and, in my opinion, very good) book series about said tabletop's universe. However, for some reason, they believe that this therefore extends their trademark to fiction. It does not.

      Several of the arguments that appear here can be summed as along the lines of "she could have simply changed the title," or "this is a ploy by her to get famous." These are irrelevant, as neither of them deal with the legitimacy of GW's actions against her. There's even one of here that argues that if GW cannot stop this book from being published, that somehow it legally allows one to directly rip-off Star Wars. Weird.

      Delete
    3. Actually from what I understand (I can't verify right know because the UK Trademark database is down for the weekend for updates) is that the term "Space Marine" in the UK extends to books as well. Ebooks are a gray area on this though.

      Delete
    4. It's European trademark law that they appealed it under. They own the trademark under European trademark law, they're allowed to object when it is used to advertise another product. Amazon were the one who grossly over-reacted here and yanked everything and now have an embarrassing climbdown over it.

      I said it over on BOLS and I'll say it again. Read ANYTHING flagged by the EFF or Cory Doctorow (and equally GW press releases and institutes such as the MPAA) as being biased sources on issues of copyright and trademarking. Do not take their words for it. Read the sources, hunt down the facts and draw your own concusions.

      In this case I drew the conclusion that GW were within their right to complain under their EU TM and that Amazon were wrong to withdraw sales completely (which they have now rectified). GW have a policy of being aggressive over their IP because (when it comes down to it), that's all they have to sell their models, to sell their books and to sell their franchise.

      Delete
  18. Who's to say that the "little-guy" isn't taking advantage of the situation too?

    She makes a book with Space Marine in the title knowing GW will have to defend thier IP = Makes GW look bad her book sells.

    She makes a book with Space Marine in the title GW does nothing = her book still sells of the coat tails of GW IP.

    Win-win for her, she is clearly taking advantage of the Space Marine name, all she has to do is change the title to Spots the Space Warrior and there wouldn't have been an issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The real issue is should GW have been given rights to "Space Marines" to begin with and I agree that that is debatable. But the fact-of-the-matter is they WERE give rights to it and therefore I support them protecting thier trademark!

      Sorry "little-guy"

      Delete
    2. Other than your rampant speculation, do you have any objective evidence that that was her though process when she wrote and published this book?

      Delete
    3. Or "The Adventure of Spots: Defence of the Fiddler" or "Defence of the Fiddler".

      There were some good titles there that didn't even need to use the term "Space Marine".

      Delete
    4. @Seifer: Personally I have no more than the same level of speculative information that people are using when they claim to know GW's motivations or end goal on this when they break out the moustache twirling tropes.

      Delete
    5. @Zion: I am not speculating as to what was going through GW's legal team's mind here. I am merely reporting facts. They are trying to extend their gaming trademark into fiction, which is unwarranted. Whether they intentionally decided to be bully her or not I am do not know, all I am reporting is that that's how it appears to most, just as a bully can bully someone else and not be blissfully unaware that what they are doing is being bully.

      Delete
    6. @Seifer,

      I'm not attacking you, just making a point. None of us REALLY knows what's going on. I'm just with GW on this one because they're legally right. If it came out that they were doing this to intentionally sabotage this woman's work or they were wrong I'd be just as mad, but legally they're doing what their supposed to and I can't be made at them for that without some proof that says otherwise.

      Delete
    7. @Sean Snezek: I have no idea of the author's motivations, but I speculate that she didn't plan to discredit GW and set them up purely to get some publicity and make some quick cash with a book. If someone were clever enough to make such a grand plan, I'd wager they'd have targetted a much bigger group than GW like Microsoft or Disney!

      Delete
    8. @Seifer I don't have actual facts but if I was on a treadmil coming up with a cool story about how I am a Space Marine fighting Space Bugs and wanted to publish a story about it I would have done some research to see if an idea like mine was trademarked or already done. Huh seems like Space Marine is already trademarked by this Games Workshop company let me get in touch with them let them know my thoughts and see if I can still use Space Marines in my book. Oh darn after talking with them they are really defending that name and will not let me use it, but I really want to write this book... What to do... Oh wait I will just call them Space Warriors still a cool name and now everyone is happy. But she still chose to name the book "Spots and the Sapce Marine" sounds to me like someone wanted to profit off GW's trademark. To further my point she called her Space Marine's armor Power Suits and described them almost exactly like GW's Space Marine's Power Armour. Look I really don't hate this author (I downloaded her book and its not really that bad) but I really just disagree with her when it comes to using the term "Space Marine."

      Delete
    9. honestly a name like "spots the pace marine" also sounds pretty kiddy sounding to me too.

      Delete
  19. Go go GW defense force! You fanboys here have a lot of work ahead of you after GW failed to flex it's legal muscle into the literary world, got called out for it, polarized the community and even saw a drop in market shares for it. Better reach deep into that apologist tool box... let no opinion go unchallenged!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 0/10. Get some new material.

      Delete
    2. Why would I be insulted by you calling me a fanboy (over the internet) because I happen to really like GW's image of what Space Marines are? Also, like them, I want to see that same image of a Space Marine (because of GW the Space Marine is now more mainstream then it ever was) be protected from anything that can undermind that image. If that means that I'm a fan boy then: Hell yeah I am!

      Delete
    3. PS I'd love to stay and chat but this FANBOY has a game of 40K to play...

      Delete
    4. Ok, how about this; GW publicly responds to 'Spots' debacle on Facebook, after 500+ mostly angry responses from consumers GW's stock value drops 4% that day; many fans, new and long term alike pledge to leave the hobby due to Streisand effect. Regardless of who has legal "right" here, GW (and you) are wrong. The author sees it, the public see it, the EFF sees it along with the SFWA, even Wesley Crusher sees it.

      Delete
    5. ::shrug:: If all the 40k players who go into a nerd rage and threaten to quite the hobby actually did then GW would've gone out of business years ago. This is just the flavor of the month as far as what 40k fans are mad at GW about. Trust me, this will be forgotten the next time GW comes out with a new round of price increases and THAT will be the reason that half the internet is leaving the hobby.

      Fact is that the EFF is ginning up people so that they can push their agenda, but if this woman actually gets sued they'll make one or two blog posts and you'll never hear about her again.

      This issue is far from resolved, but the internet has pretty short memories when it comes to stuff like this. I feel sorry for this woman who most likely got bad advice from someone who's hoping to make a martyr out of her.

      Delete
    6. Oh, and as for the stock value dropping, short term means nothing in the stock market world. If it continues to drop for the next week or two then you have a problem.

      Delete
    7. To quote Doctor Cooper: Wesley Crusher, "the Jar Jar Binks of the Star Trek Universe"!
      :P
      And while some may genuinely leave the hobby, I doubt a lot of people who pledged to will or at least they will until something they want is released or they make excuses like its ok if they buy through eBay or discount websites

      Delete
    8. Sorry, I couldn't hear you over how much fun I'm having while I'm planning out my next army...

      Delete
    9. ^Meanwhile somewhere near Central Texas; a guy faps to freshley downloaded images of Matt Ward.

      Delete
    10. Well I'm glad you found something constructive to do with your time Harley ;)

      Delete
    11. Good job Harley, let me be the first to congratulate you on winning the internet using your obviously superior intellect and high minded rhetoric. You truly are an inspiration to trolls everywhere.

      Delete
    12. What can I say, if you've got a talent, use it!

      Delete
    13. I looked at the book, read the back, and yeah that little details to me strikes me as something GW was within their rights to go after

      Delete
    14. (because of GW the Space Marine is now more mainstream then it ever was)

      This is the kind of crap I hate. GW didn't make Space Marines mainstream, all they did was "borrow" a WELL KNOWN Sci-Fi term. GW isn't some massive world entity that anyone interested in Sci-Fi knows about. Just because your life revolves around GW and "their" ideas doesn't make them some Sci-Fi super entity. I guarentee more people interested in Sci-Fi have no idea who or what GW is than there are people that do know of them.

      Delete
  20. GW really need to put this away quickly. It is front page of the technology section of the BBC news now.
    I mean I know there is protecting your copyright and all but there is also something called protecting your image and this farce really isn't doing their already battered image any favors. Let it go GW.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. GW can't control what the BBC or internet has posted, and unfortunately the only thing they -could- do right now is start suing people for slander, or ignore the internet.

      I'm guessing GW is going with the latter because even if they "let it go" the internet won't. We're incredibly petty.

      Delete
    3. Like they normally do right? :P But ignoring does not make dirt any less sticky.

      Anyway no, they can't control it but they can limit it and show good faith to put this to rest before it gets anymore messy for them.

      GW might be in the right, I don't know, I'm not a lawyer but that isn't stopping the majority of people and articles seeing this only as 'big bad company attacks single mothers book. Burn GW! Burn!' and be it on their own heads if they choose to ignore that.

      Delete
    4. The BBC article is really not that bad in terms of publicity for GW. It states they have their trademarks for tabletop-games, video games and published works.
      Although, the article says "the row started in December 2011"..?

      Delete
    5. Haha good ol BBC news. Yeah true, that is more favorable towards their case but the more this goes on and the more coverage it gets, I can't see GW winning any popularity contests in the near future not to mention putting off new customers and alienating old ones even further, which by the looks of some peoples reactions is already happening.

      Delete
    6. I'd say more articles is a good thing. Quite a few arguments here have been that GW has no precedent in terms of their trademark in literature, but as I pointed out the BBC article specifically mentions their trademark in 'published works', which implies not just books but also ebooks.
      Basically, more researched articles will help shed more light on this so we aren't drowned in speculation!

      Delete
  21. A victory for attention seeking self promoters everywhere, huzzah!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Guys lets not get over excited here, GW is just trying to draw the line and keep our hobby ours instead of giving their hard worked space marines over to others to copy and steal profits. GW is not the big bad guy they are just trying to stop others from stealing from them, and most articles are written any way to favour one person or another.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The problem is most of the articles I've seen either midly or majorly favour the "poor suffering author" whose book was still for sale and was only at risk of not having her ebook for sale.

      Oh and this isn't even her first novel which means that she still had money coming in anyways.

      Delete
    2. Aye, selective journalism goes a long way to fuelling the fires of ignorance, especially in the realm of the internet!

      Delete
    3. "Aye, selective journalism goes a long way to fuelling the fires of ignorance, especially in the realm of the internet!"

      Yeah, it's almost as bad as GW fanboys thinking everybody around the world knows GW and "their" ideas. Or talking about GW like they're the biggest Sci-Fi entity in the known universe lol!!! Everybody sees things the way they want to.

      "GW is just trying to draw the line and keep our hobby ours instead of giving their hard worked space marines over to others to copy and steal profits. GW is not the big bad guy they are just trying to stop others from stealing from them"

      Really!?!?!? GW, who stole the term Space Marine from countless other Sci-Fi writers, are trying to save our hobby from people trying to steal the term they stole? This right here is half the problem, people don't realize how much GW has "borrowed" from Sci-Fi, and now anyone wanting to "borrow" the things they "borrowed" first are in the wrong. This is crap and GW knows it. They won't take this to court because they would lose. Unless someone writes about GW's Space Marines specifically they have no leg to stand on.

      Delete
  23. Hmm. I've been reading alot of the responses and some people keep listing the wiki page about space marines to point out the previous works especially in literature.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_marine#Appearances_in_fiction

    Which made me wonder should pretty much the entirety of the Black Library also be cited there? I mean all their books do have that preface or are about the Emprah's Chosen anyways. Not that those books solve the whole trademark issue just wondering if the wiki page should be altered.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course then you'd also have to cite the starcraft books. and I don't think the starship troopers movies are up there. Wikis confuse me sometimes. :-\

      Delete
    2. Wiki, a nerds opinion cleverly disguised as fact

      Delete
  24. I am glad that she was able to have her book put back out on sale again. I may never read it, but it does suck that GW is just a bit over the top about their copyrights and are just being major dumb asses. +1 to EFF and Amazon for taking a stand. Word to GW, big brother/sister are watching.

    ReplyDelete
  25. 1. Amazon is the one who actually pulled the book. I'm willing to bet that the most likely outcome was GW told them the book was fine after making sure it didn't infringe on their IP.

    2. Only her ebook went off sale.

    3. She doubled the price of her book in the last 24 hours and is likely making money hand over fist because of all this publicity.

    4. "Big Brother" is the government, and they're the ones who issued the trademark in the first place, and in the US, renewed it for them in 2005.

    5. This was not her first book. She's an established author, so she should know how this works by now (namely you get with the owner of the Trademark to ensure everything is cool or change the name). If she didn't then she's a bigger fool than I thought before.

    ReplyDelete
  26. So I was explaining the situation to a friend of mine, bringing him up to speed on it and I realized something.

    This "starving author" (as people like to paint her) can afford to send her kid to a private school (she is paying the school for his ability to attend) and could even afford a treadmill.

    I'm sorry but this woman isn't anywhere near "starving".

    ReplyDelete
  27. It's not about if this author is poor or middle class or wealthy or lives in a pineapple under the sea. It's about the fact that GW overstepped their bounds and are quickly created a climate around themselves of intimidation with ruthless and callous behavior. Are they within their legal right to protect a trademark they old in the EU from an author in the USA? Sounds iffy but hey, most of us are no lawyers... but again, that's not what this is about. It's about if GW SHOULD hold these claims over the public. Take a look at GW's own legal information. It's ridiculous despite the fact they didn't come up with half of their trademarked material! According to this, Dante's Inferno infringes on their trademark as ridiculous as it sounds. If you want to right a work of fiction about Africans who operate a collection of books and call it "Black Library" you violate their trademark. Too specific for you? "Epic" Battles in Space would also violate their trademark, or Adventures of the "Black Flame", even if it's in reference to fiction having nothing to do with them. But hey, fanbois will tell you it's ok... good thing the majority of the rest of the world knows other wise.

    opyright and Legal Information

    Below you will find information about Games Workshop's Copyrights and Trademarks. If you are interested in using Games Workshop's images and logos on your own web site, we have something you should read first:

    COPYRIGHTS AND TRADEMARKS
    Last updated: 01 January 2010

    COPYRIGHTS
    All artwork and logos on this site and all the images contained therein have been produced either in-house or as work for hire. The exclusive copyright in the logos and artwork, including the images it depicts, is the property of Games Workshop Limited. © Copyright Games Workshop Ltd 2000-2013.
    All subject matter in White Dwarf is © Copyright Games Workshop Ltd 2000-2013.
    All artwork in all Games Workshop products, and all images contained therein have been produced either in-house or as work for hire. All rights reserved.

    TRADEMARK INFORMATION
    Adeptus Astartes, Battlefleet Gothic, Black Flame, Black Library, the Black Library logo, BL Publishing, Blood Angels, Bloodquest, Blood Bowl, the Blood Bowl logo, The Blood Bowl Spike Device, Cadian, Catachan, the Chaos device, Cityfight, the Chaos logo, Citadel, Citadel Device, City of the Damned, Codex, Daemonhunters, Dark Angels, Dark Eldar, Dark Future, the Double-Headed/Imperial Eagle device, 'Eavy Metal, Eldar, Eldar symbol devices, Epic, Eye of Terror, Fanatic, the Fanatic logo, the Fanatic II logo, Fire Warrior, Forge World, Games Workshop, Games Workshop logo, Genestealer, Golden Demon, Gorkamorka, Great Unclean One, the Hammer of Sigmar logo, Horned Rat logo, Inferno, Inquisitor, the Inquisitor logo, the Inquisitor device, Inquisitor:Conspiracies, Keeper of Secrets, Khemri, Khorne, Kroot, Lord of Change, Marauder, Mordheim, the Mordheim logo, Necromunda, Necromunda stencil logo, Necromunda Plate logo, Necron, Nurgle, Ork, Ork skull devices, Sisters of Battle, Skaven, the Skaven symbol devices, Slaanesh, Space Hulk, Space Marine, Space Marine chapters, Space Marine chapter logos, Talisman, Tau, the Tau caste designations, Tomb Kings, Trio of Warriors, Twin Tailed Comet Logo, Tyranid, Tyrannid, Tzeentch, Ultramarines, Warhammer, Warhammer Historical, Warhammer Online, Warhammer 40k Device, Warhammer World logo, Warmaster, White Dwarf, the White Dwarf logo, and all associated marks, names, races, race insignia, characters, vehicles, locations illustrations and images from the Blood Bowl game, the Warhammer world, the Talisaman world, and the Warhammer 40,000 universe are either ®, TM and/or © Copyright Games Workshop Ltd 2000-2013, variably registered in the UK and other countries around the world. All Rights Reserved

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since you missed my post that is further up the page regarding trademark, where I cliff-noted stuff from Wikipedia, let me repost it for you.


      Usage of Trademarks (from Wikipedia):
      "The essential function of a trademark is to exclusively identify the commercial source or origin of products or services, so a trademark, properly called, indicates source or serves as a badge of origin. In other words, trademarks serve to identify a particular business as the source of goods or services."

      GW owns the term Space Marine because they own the trademark for it.

      Regarding Registration (from Wikipedia):
      "The law considers a trademark to be a form of property. Proprietary rights in relation to a trademark may be established through actual use in the marketplace, or through registration of the mark with the trademarks office (or "trademarks registry") of a particular jurisdiction."

      And that's how GW established ownership: through usage and by registering it.

      And here's why they were able to gain the trademark for the term:
      : If trademark owners do not hold registrations for their marks in such jurisdictions, the extent to which they will be able to enforce their rights through trademark infringement proceedings will therefore be limited. In cases of dispute, this disparity of rights is often referred to as "first to file" as opposed to "first to use.""

      Maintaing Rights (again, from Wikipedia):
      "Trademarks rights must be maintained through actual lawful use of the trademark. These rights will cease if a mark is not actively used for a period of time, normally 5 years in most jurisdictions. In the case of a trademark registration, failure to actively use the mark in the lawful course of trade, or to enforce the registration in the event of infringement, may also expose the registration itself to become liable for an application for the removal from the register after a certain period of time on the grounds of "non-use"."

      And that's why GW HAD to do what they did. Failure to do so triggers "non-use" and could cause them to void their trademark.

      For those who actually want to know more about Trademarks Wikipedia has an article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark

      In short (for those who feel my cliff notes of the article are too long):

      GW is completely, 100%, legally in their rights and are operating regarding their trademark as they are required to by the very regulations regarding trademarks.

      Furthermore, GW has file for registration of their Trademarks in the US separately, requiring them to not only be familiar with UK Trademark law, but US Trademark law, allowing them to protect their IP internationally.

      GW hasn't done anything wrong, and people really need to do more research before they start vilifying people/companies/Santa Christ.

      Delete
    2. YOU missed the point. GW should give up the trademark on Space Marine because it's a common phrase, like Tau (a letter in the Greek alphabet), Inferno and Dark Angel. These are all generic terms to which GW shouldn't have the right to trademark to begin with. Just because they have the might doesn't make it right. Yes, we understand your viewpoint here but laws change and pass, just because GW has legal authority doesn't make them, or you clear of vilified intention regarding the matter.

      Delete
    3. @Arkon,

      I don't think GW had a lot of "might" in 1991 when the US recognized their trademark of "Space Marine". Sure they did in 2005 when it was renewed (under current laws mind you), but they still had to be in compliance with those laws to do it.

      Speaking of common words being trademarked here are some others that exist no one seems to be upset about (some of these are compounds or phrases in the same regards to how "Space Marine" is two common words made into a phrase):

      "Superman"
      "Batman"
      "Wolverine"
      "Captain Marvel"
      "Doctor Strange"
      "Thing"
      "Mr. Fantastic"
      "Flash"
      "Cyclops"
      "Superhero"
      "Beast"
      "Michaelangelo"
      "Donatello"
      "Leonardo"
      "Raphael"
      "Splinter"
      "Shredder"

      You really can keep doing this all day. Now yes, these trademarks have specific uses (namely referring to their use in entertainment media such as comics and cartoons) but these are trademarks and using them incorrectly would result in the same exact actions by their owning companies as GW did with this book.

      So no, GW shouldn't give up their trademarks of "common phrases" unless everyone has too.

      Delete
    4. Wow, people really don't understand the nature of trade marks, so they?

      Here are some other "common phrases" that are TMs and, coincidentally, have very powerful brand recognition:

      "Windows"
      "Office"
      "Core"
      "Draw"
      "Safari"
      "Apple"

      Should the owners of these "common phrases" be forced to give them up simply because someone else wants to use them, too? That's not how TM law works, folks. You don't have to have invented a word, term or phrase in order to trade mark it and, thereafter, protect it...

      Delete
    5. It's not hard to understand and you're missing the point. GW is out of their bounds here. Is her book a game, a model, or a miniature? Is it a rule book pertaining to a board game? Nope!

      So perhaps "Cyclops" is a TM of Marvel in relation to a Super Powered character who shoots lasers out of his face and runs around in blue/black spandex. However, could you make a literary piece of fiction titled "Wrath of the Cyclops" about a Super Powered giant who runs around in a loin cloth killing adventurers with a club? Or hey, even make it into a film! You bet you can! Oh look... http://www.amazon.com/Cyclops-Blu-ray-Eric-Roberts/dp/B002QVFOPC/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1360483561&sr=8-18&keywords=cyclops

      Hmm well that's funny. Now, do both Cyclops have similarities? Sure... they are portrayed as fantastic individuals with super powers, who have 1 eye (one is an eye ball, the other a lense) and I'm fairly sure if the film makers had wanted to make the Cyclops shoot lasers from it's eye they could because the distinction between the two is strong enough.

      Delete
    6. They seriously think they own the word Codex?!

      Delete
    7. Why not? There are 13 Live Trademarks for it in the US alone (and yes, they apply to different things, like electronic gaming, financing, ect).

      I can't check the UK Trademark database but I'm willing to bet that's where this one is filed.

      Delete
    8. @Arkon:

      The reason I don't think GW is "out of their bounds" here is because they have a very successful and lucrative publishing business (Black Library) that sells ebooks on, among other places, the iBooks store. And since they do have a TM on the term "Space "Marine" for various games formats, and a great deal of their BL books & ebooks are about Space Marines, they are (I think) justified in claiming a common law TM (now) for the term Space Marine in literature. Obviously this isn't retroactive to books published decades before they acquired their TM, but -could- apply in the case of "Spots".

      Also, keep in mind that a number of the Horus Heresy books have made it onto the NY Times Bestseller list, some (at least 1), making it to #1. That gives them a lot of credence to making this claim of common law status in print.

      I think they're testing the waters here, and it will be interesting to see what happens next. Keep in mind, all GW did was request that Amazon take down "Spots", which Amazon did. Maybe the reason Amazon put "Spots" back up for sale is because GW's lawyers reviewed their position & decided they were out of bounds in this case. Or, perhaps it was Amazon bowing to public (internet) pressure, and they've tossed it back over to GW to do something a bit more concrete. We just don't know, and won't know until the next event (if any) occurs.

      Stuff like this happens all the time; you just generally don't hear about it unless a journalist somewhere gets ahold of the story and publishes it in a "major" outlet (which, given how easy it is for things to "go viral" on the Internet, really doesn't have to be that major of an outlet). Usually this stuff blows over relatively quickly, which could happen here...

      Delete
  28. Most of you are idiots. Yes GW is a bully. Wethere or not the wtitter had prior knowledge of GW and its holdings is not a consideration. You cannot own or pervent Public domain words. Dose Pepsi sue Coke over cola? Why is this bulling because GW did not go after anybody who would or has dilute there TM. It is all fine and good they have to protect there IP but they always start with the "little guy" and not other companys who are actually diluting there IP.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 0/10. Were you drunk when you posted this?

      I'm going to break this down for you into small chunks just in case you are.

      "Most of you are idiots." - Nice way to give yourself some credibility right out of the gate. Classy.

      "Yes GW is a bully." - Do you have some proof of this outside of anecdotal evidence, or hurt feelings?

      "Wethere or not the wtitter had prior knowledge of GW and its holdings is not a consideration." - Actually it should be because it makes the difference between this being an intentional cash grab, and an accident that turned into a publicity stunt.

      "You cannot own or pervent Public domain words." - Wrong. Trademark laws do allow you to do so if they are able to be associated with your brand. Back when GW trademarked the term Space Marine they were the only ones using it enough for it to be associated first with their game, and then with everything else.

      "Dose Pepsi sue Coke over cola?" - Not as of yet, but Apple sued Apple and DC and Marvel are always butting heads over who owns "Superhero". Additionally DC and Marvel have a lot of trademarked heroes whose names are common words. "Storm", "Wolverine", "Beast", "Cyclops", "Flash", ect. So yes, it can be done.

      "Why is this bulling because GW did not go after anybody who would or has dilute there TM." - I don't know what this sentence was supposed to mean. Sorry.

      "It is all fine and good they have to protect there IP but they always start with the "little guy" and not other companys who are actually diluting there IP." - Companies often settle this out of court with no one hearing about it. You'd be amazed how rare it is for companies to drag each other into court over stuff like this.

      Delete
  29. What seems to be completely lost on those who want to vilify GW so badly is that you do not have to Invent something (e.g., a term) in order to Trade Mark it. Case in point: Windows(TM) is a trade mark of Microsoft (with respect to software), as is Office(TM). Does Microfoft claim to have invented these words? Obviously not, but they have trade marked them nonetheless, and as such will vigorously prosecute anyone else's mis-use of their trade marks, regardless of whether they are "big" or "small", other companies or individuals.

    Time to grow up and live in the real world, kiddos. It's not being a "fanboy" to understand that intellectual property, by its very nature, is easy to steal, intentionally or otherwise, and anyone who holds a TM must (MUST) protect it vigorously or risk losing it -and all their other IP- if they dont. It's not "bullying", it's called living in the real world and playing by the established rules. Because if you don't play by the rules, you're SOL, and anyone who plays 40K fairly should understand that; only, in this case, it's not just a game of 40K that could be lost, but an entire company, which employs real people who could lose their jobs (and, by extension, possibly their homes if they can't find replacement employment) , AND a loss of value to those who hold shares of stock in the company (the true "owners" of the company).

    Really, grow up, get a real job with a real corporation, and then go talk to someone in your company' legal department about protecting their company's IP, such as trade marks and copyrights. Educate yourselves rather than spouting ignorant rants against a company that is just doing what is necessary in a world where piracy exists, and where there are countless stories of companies through the years who have not vigorously defended their hard-won trade marks and, consequently, gone out of business...

    GW is not a "bully". They are a business, and part of being a for-profit business means they need to keep making a profit every year, and their shareholders would appreciate that their profits increase every year so that they can be paid growing dividends and see the value of their shares increase as the company's earnings per share (EPS) increase every year.

    This isretty basic stuff, but it seems to be totally lost on those of you who are quick to label any corporation that charges you more for something than you'd like as "evil". The market will bear what the market will bear, and if the market decides that GW's next price increase is "too much" (hint: inflation is a reality), then taht will be reflected in a reduction in GW's number of units sold. But if you've taken the time to read GW's annual report, you would see that not only are profits up, but units sold are up, so the market seems to feel that, so far at least, GW's prices are "reasonable". When/If that trend changes, then GW's management will have to do something to rectify the situation if they want to remain in business (which, it is assumed, they do, as very few companies TRY to run themselves into the ground).

    Wow. Grow up...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow time to grow up and do some research. GW stocks are at their lowest point since last summer when 6th edition resurrected them from the grave. They were up around Christmas time with the advent of some big releases and of course, Christmas, when consumer spending is at it's highest, but publicity failures like this have caused them to plummet again for a total of 7.6% loss in the last 3 months.

      This is really basic stuff, but it seems to be totally lost on fanbois. The Streisand effect is really hurting GW on this one, whether you side with them or not, perhaps those share holders would appreciate that they need to hire someone with better PR management skills than whom ever posts a response on Facebook which earns 800 angry replies from consumers.

      I love GW's games, and the setting and many of the author's work under their license, however they dropped the ball and it's time to own up on it before stock prices drop any farther.

      Delete
    2. Said stocks are still several hundred pounds a share, and unless the stock prices keep falling the company isn't in danger (and even if they did keep falling, folks like Tom Kirby would just buy more shares to level out the prices).

      And honestly it doesn't matter what GW says, everything they do gets 800 angry replies. I wouldn't say that it's all from their customers though. There are a lot of really butt hurt people who spend a lot of time trying to attack GW and their products because they can't get over the fact that the real world doesn't cater to them.

      And honestly, they didn't drop the ball. They were legally -required- to do this. I've shown you why, so don't pretend the evidence isn't there. GW had to do this even if they were sure it wasn't an IP infringement, just to make sure that in the future they won't lose their IP when someone else comes along and tries to blatantly steal it.

      Delete
    3. 800 replies does not account for the entire fanbase of 100,000s! That's not a guess btw, that's based on the number of people who go to all the gamesday events around the world and not every hobbyist goes to those...

      Delete
    4. Arkon, a drop of even 7.6% "since the summer" is less than a lot of stocks suffered after the elections in November; and, Yes, events in the USA do have an effect on stock prices in the EU,NAND vice-versa. Has GW cut, frozen or discontinued their dividend payments? Nope, and that's a very simple measure of whether a company is "in trouble". This is really pretty basic stuff. I haven seen a chart of GW's stock performance over the last several years, but I'm willing to guess that it indicates that their share price is cyclical. That GW continues to grow profits (& units) in the current economy with a luxury product line that isnt essential for people to live their lives is a powerful indicator that they're doing things the right way, net-net, regardless of how angry the anti-GW tribe would like to spin it...

      Looking at the movement of a stock over the last 6 or 8 months and trying to postulate that the company is "in trouble" because of a little flash-in-the-pan story like this just doesn't make sense...

      Delete
    5. Yeah, I just checked a 5 year graph of GW's share price, and it's more than doubled during that period of time. Plus it has a yield of over 5.4%, which is stellar, at least compared to US stocks (not sure what's "typical" of UK stocks, although I hold a few of them)...

      Also there's definitely a cyclical pattern to the share price in terms of different periods during a year. That the share price has done so well selling a luxury product during the Great Recession speaks volumes about GW's financial health and recent business strategy... (In other words, they're doing just fine...)

      Delete
  30. And in a twist of events, GW removes it's Facebook page after public outrage over this incident. Turns out those 800 angry replies really did matter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alternative take:

      Flaming GW set back communication between the company and it's customer base a decade as the company removes direct ties to social media to avoid trolls.

      Delete

 
Top
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...