Games Workshop trademark bullying goes thermonuclear: now they say you can't use "space marine" in science fiction

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199 Responses to “Games Workshop trademark bullying goes thermonuclear: now they say you can't use "space marine" in science fiction”

  1. Just_Ok says:

    C’mon you apes, you want to sue whoever?

  2. carlogesualdodivenosa says:

    It’s a trademark Armageddon!  (I see a Dark Future…)

  3. planettom says:

    That ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES game is coming out Tuesday.    I’m pretty sure those are Marines.   In Space.

  4. Scott Rose says:

    BTW, in the US, the USMC owns the trademark for Marines.  They even have a unit designated to handle licencing:
    http://www.hqmc.marines.mil/divpa/Units/MarineCorpsTrademarkLicensingProgram.aspx

    • Snig says:

      They also have/ have had Space Marines under their command:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Marine_Corps_astronauts

      Does this mean that these officers should now report to Games Workshop for their marching orders? 

    • L_Mariachi says:

      “The USMC Trademark Licensing Program exists to regulate the usage of Marine Corps trademarks such as the Eagle, Globe and Anchor worldwide.”  (The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor being the USMC’s insignia, not a generic eagle, globe, and anchor.)  

      They hold trademarks on logos and terms referring specifically to the United States Marine Corps, not the word “Marine,” so that only affects people using USMC trademarks for merchandise (t-shirts, Zippo lighters, bumper stickers, etc.) that might reasonably be assumed to be official products. You can write a book or shoot a movie featuring their marks as long as you don’t imply that it’s officially sanctioned — Full Metal Jacket is okay, “The USMC Boot Camp Workout” DVD is not.

      • Craig Bryant says:

        So does that mean if you use the term USMC (United Space Marine Corpse) you will have both the American Army after you  (For using USMC) and Games Workshop (am i allowed to say that in print or will i get sued?) Lawyers (for using Space Marine) after me?

        • malindrome says:

          If you call a US soldier (Army) a marine, or vice versa, you’re liable to have a lot more than litigation to worry about. Some consider that “fighting words” …

  5. Has anyone tried a Kickstarter or a-like for a legal defence fund?

    • Matt Popke says:

      I’m pretty sure Kickstarter specifically refuses legal defense funds in their TOS. You could probably go to IndieGoGo though.

      • Laurent Lheritier says:

        ready and willing to contribute - 

        • Cobden Bastiat says:

          Ditto. $2000 doesn’t seem like much to crowd-fund such a dead cert.

          But what do we get if we win (apart from the free use of a well-established generic phrase…which we already had) – are there additional damages, other than the lost ebook sales?

          • euansmith says:

            Indiego-go for a cut of the damages? This could be the start of a whole new finance stream for the clear-eyed legal eagles.

          • AnthonyC says:

            Or the start of a whole new kind of insurance coverage?

          • Zethnar says:

             The satisfaction of a job well done.

          • Cobden Bastiat says:

            I’m afraid that’s not quite enough. Think about it: there’s potentially no limit to the number of bogus trademark claims that can be made by large corporations – who should pay to overturn them all? The victims? I don’t mind not making a profit, but I do mind being out of pocket in the long term. As a corollary, if damages for blatantly false trademark claims are not punitive, there is no disincentive to make them.

    • sorrykb says:

      Ken at popehat.com has sent up the Popehat Signal requesting pro-bono help. The Popehat Signal has a good track record of finding helpful counsel.

  6. Nathaniel says:

    Moreover in another copyright case they are involved in (suing a small garage manufacturer of compatible model parts) they claim they own copyright on arrows, roman numerals, skulls, halberd, etc.  The list of claims is ridiculous.

    • Dan Hibiki says:

       Individually or if they’re all on one dude at the same time?

    • cavalrysword says:

      I guess the order of absurdity there is skulls, arrows, roman numerals…  All of which are breathtaking assertions.  Ludicrous!  If I were a Judge, I’d find them in contempt of court for filing such a thing.

      • euansmith says:

        I think the case is being tried in America. Maybe the plaintives; Chapterhouse, should play the bogeyman card and accuse GW of promoting the worship of Satan. That might get a groundswell of indignation to defend them against GW Chaoshound Attack Lawyers.

    • Azrell says:

      You might want to look a little closer at what chapter house studios was claiming as original work. GW was clearly in the right with almost everything in that case. The owner was known for blatantly telling people he was ripping GW off. 

      • STUCARIUS says:

        That’s not true at all. Chapter House got a positive ruling from the court on almost everything of importance int eh case. GW failed to get the core of the case ruled on summarily and it is going to a jury where GW is likely to have a problem since they are a foreign corporation suing a U.S. company over something very very nefarious.

  7. Red Monk says:

    I wonder if They are willing to take on all these people too http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_marine ?

  8. Paul Renault says:

    OMG…

    Because I drive a lot for my job, I listen to a lot of Librivox audiobooks (they’re free!).  A lot of what I listen to is older sci-fi.  I’ve noted two or three things that keep reappearing:
    1) Smoking.  Soooo much smoking.  Boy, did they get THAT wrong.
    2) Psy.  Apparently, conversation via ESP is just a matter of a weekend seminar and reading a book that this Venusian guy wrote.
    3) Space Marines.  Space Marines everywhere.  Soo much prior art, so much generic use….  It’s almost as if, say, Apple Corp tried to trademark the “distinctive design and layout of a retail store”.

    ..and I can’t resist:
    4) A lot of Americans don’t personally know anyone that speaks French like a native.  A Librivox reader once stumbled over the phrase “hors d’oeuvres” – ‘Horse doovers’…  I was laughing so hard I almost had an accident.
    (That, and they don’t know that “poste restante” isn’t a Latin phrase..)

  9. NelC says:

    Maybe an editor can be persuaded to put together a collection of SF stories featuring (non-Games Workshop) space marines, with some percentage to go to MCA Hogarth’s legal costs?

  10. I used to think that this was one of the primary inspirations for 40k’s space marines, but I now doubt that. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SpaceMarine is interesting.

  11. Mordicai says:

    Do we need a RPG CLDF or EFF?  Actually…that sounds pretty cool.

  12. Wow, I didn’t know Robert Heinlein wrote 40k! Amazing!

  13. Scott Slemmons says:

    So are they going to sue Ridley Scott? Or id Software? Or are they just going to stick with the people who don’t have money to fight them? ‘Cause I’m not sure that’s a good way to actually protect your trademark. It might be the kind of thing that gets brought up the next time you try to register your phony-baloney trademark…

  14. Maybe it’s just me, but my first thought was Starcraft, and then an inter-stellar sea horse (you know…space….and marine…).

    • Andrew Singleton says:

      My first thought was actually starship troopers.

      THEN I thought of doom.

    • TheIronFistOfDeath says:

      Warcraft and Starcraft are actually based off of Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40K respectively.  They were developed as Warhammer video games, then tweaked when everything didn’t go through.  Worked out really well for Blizzard, don’t you think?

      • len says:

        http://kotaku.com/5929157/the-making-of-warcraft-part-1

        Not true, they only considered licensing Warhammer for Warcraft, and chose not to pursue it. They lifted some ideas for the art here and there, though…

        But let’s face it, it’s all derivative of Tolkien and Heinlein.

        • ChaosShard says:

          Funny story: 40k started as a black humor “Fantasy in SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!” game, which is why most of the Warhammer Fantasy factions have or had a duplicate in 40k. It was only after the “Dark Millennium” supplement and 40k 2e that the GRIMDARK came to be.

          • My recollection is that generation of the tabletop game was pretty consistent theme-wise before Dark Millennium turned up. The one before it (or the one before that) was much more of an RPG and was definitely laced with lots of black humour. I still have a battered copy of Rogue Trader…

          • Steven Groom says:

            Not necessarily true.  Rogue Trader had a pretty dark setting, but it had a sense of humor, too.

  15. Lobster says:

    OK, Games Workshop, sounds reasonable.  Just give back those Space Elves and Space Orks and we’ll call it even, OK?

  16. Seth Lachner says:

    Well, I just asked for answers at the GW Twitter account @VoxCaster. Hit that stream hard if you care.

  17. I’m a long time fan of all Warhammer 40000 lore, but Games Workshop Lawyering and Inquisitoring Department can go scrum themselves in their very private Eye of Terror.

  18. peregrinus says:

    What a bunch of Space Tossers.

    edit: I was going to release the term ‘Space Tosser’ to the community for anyone to use as they wished, given that I figured made it up, but damnit it’s already all over the place: http://www.google.co.uk/#hl=en&tbo=d&output=search&sclient=psy-ab&q=%22space+tosser%22&oq=%22space+tosser%22&gs_l=hp.3…766.2493.0.3253.14.14.0.0.0.1.276.1793.5j7j2.14.0.les%3B..0.0…1c.1.2.hp.zF6TSZ9Hsqs&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.41934586,d.d2k&fp=4130e6fbaf6ca29b&biw=1366&bih=677

    Of course, we all know what GW will do next.

  19. L_Mariachi says:

    It’s already a pretty niche market — ask a hundred people on the street what Warhammer 40K is and I’d be surprised if you get more than two. That, plus how expensive it can get, make it highly vulnerable to boycott.  They’re shooting themselves in the foot alienating their hardcore fanbase (are there even casual 40K players?) I understand there’s a lot of backstory and mythology and cool armor designs, but if you’re that attached you can build your own miniatures and playfields and as long as you don’t sell them there’s fuck-all GW can do about it. Isn’t a big part of the fun supposed to be assembling, kitbashing, and painting the pieces?

    In the larger scheme of things, this isn’t like Apple or Microsoft throwing their weight around to extract rent from their massive captive(ish) audiences, this is more like when SCO tried to claim ownership of the Linux kernel.

    • jackbird says:

      They actually want to chase away older, wiser players with large collections.  Makes the environment less intimidating for the moms of 13-year old new blood who drop them off at the stores, makes having a competitive army seem achievable, and enables them to pull crap like this every few years like clockwork.

  20. Yaanu says:

    How specific is the copyright? Because you could always get away with “Space Mareen” or “Astro-Marine” or “Pig in Space”.

  21. Joel Finch says:

    I would Kickstart the hell out of a defence of this.

  22. Marko Raos says:

    I knew GW has sunk a lot from their 80′s glory days but this… They really are the turds of the game industry now, aren’t they? (yes it seems that they were the ones who destroyed the WHO with the imbecilical decision to make it a 2-faction game.) Imo the time has come to say bye bye to the sentimentality of youth, open your eyes and see the grubby, exploitative, cynical monster for what it really is. They’ve been living too long on their idealistic past.. Where once stood a starry-eyed youth ready to change the world now there is nothing left anymore but a greedy, spiteful old man gnawing on the bones of yesteryear…

  23. Hanglyman says:

    Can we please make a “1 strike and you’re out” policy for this sort of thing, where if a company is found bullying and threatening for ridiculous, frivolous claims like this, they have to give up their money? Like, ALL of it, bang, instantly out of business? Seems only fair… after all, the people they’re bullying can’t afford a second chance in court. Usually not even a first one.

    • Peter says:

      Nah, not all their money, that would be excessive.

      Just all their Intellectual Property.

      It goes immediately into the public domain, where it belongs.

      Edit: This way they can still make money out of it, but now they have to compete, and be better than anybody else who might have other ideas of what to do with it. Competition is GOOD, after all. Free Market, and all.

  24. EeyoreX says:

    How about temporarily changing the title to “Spots the Space, Marine”? 
    You don’t even have to reprint, do it with a sharpie. Whenever someone asks about what’s up whith the punctuation, you can unleash the Streisand effect. And you don’t even have to go to court, so it’s free! :)

  25. Ramone says:

    There was a recent Lego Cuusoo (fan made projects that get reviewed and possibly manufactured by Lego) that reached the 10k votes to reach official review. It was called “space marines” and they had to change the name to “space troopers” so GW wouldn’t sue the shit out of them.

    Space Trooper set as it is now: http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/5127

    Review delayed and name issues (see comments): http://www.brickset.com/news/article/?ID=4900

  26. TombKing says:

    I think the main problem is to my best understanding (besides them having dickweeds in the legal department) is under UK law if they don’t defend even the smallest appearance trademark infringement they can lose it. However they really do need to take the stick out of their ass at corporate.

    • That_Anonymous_Coward says:

      Well then the UK should reexamine having issued a trademark to a company on a term that predates GW existence and appearing in multiple media formats.

    • Robert Drop says:

      Well, there’s no obligation to defend the trademark outside the realm that the trademark covers, which is what GW is doing in this case.

      • TombKing says:

        I didn’t say or mean to imply they are right. The legal department at GW is way overzealous at protecting the product and has been trigger happy for years though mostly to people who actually cast and sell direct copies of their minis. As much as I like their product in this case I hope they get smacked  down hard.

  27. Brian Howard says:

    “This also means that we cannot allow tattoos as an acceptable use of our IP as a third party necessarily has to perform the “service.””

  28. Niall Kearney says:

    When are they going to sue Blizzard?

  29. lilyWhite says:

    This certainly brings to mind Weird Al Yankovic’s “I’ll Sue Ya”…

  30. timquinn says:

    What needs to happen here is to make them sorry they ever wanted it in the first place. In my experience “Space Marine” Is someone who enjoys the smell of their own poo and smears their nose with it to keep calm. It is also used as an insult by pedophiles to refer to people who they don’t think are very good at it. If we spread these uses then maybe GW will have spent a lot of money to protect something they no longer want.

  31. Ronald Pottol says:

    Too bad I no longer have my copy of the science fiction miniatures game “Space Marines”, from the 1970s (or, very early 80s, before GDW or Warhammer, by many years). But heck, that was probably infringing via a time machine.

  32. Brian Howard says:

    Terms they claim to be their IP according to page six of their legal disclaimer. Orc, Goblin, Undead, Codex, Inferno, Inquisitor, Marauder, Dwarf, Elves, Terra, Mars, Tomb King, Talisman, Warmaster, Ork, Armageddon, Halfling, Lizardmen, Ogre…Apparently if Tolkein wrote or uttered it, they claim to own it lol.

  33. The author should look into using crowd funding sites to raise the money to start the legal action. I am sure 5000 people can chip in $10 each to get it going.

  34. Robert Drop says:

    Seems like step one is to pressure Amazon, since they issued the takedown when they were under no obligation to do so.  GW was going for the extra-legal solution because had they pursued the matter through legal channels as per normal with trademark issues, they would have lost, since their trademark is specifically for board and computer games, not covering fiction.  (And rightly so, given the huge amount of precedent in fiction.)

    • cavalrysword says:

      I just went on Amazon with the intent of severely chastising them for their action.

      Her book is up there.  You can put it in your shopping cart.

      Um, just thought of this, maybe you are talking about Amazon UK?  It is up on their US site.

      • Her physical book is currently still there; CreateSpace and Amazon ebooks are separate enough in the company that the trickle-down effect has not happened yet. The ebook — both more affordable to customers and more profitable to the author — is what has been affected thus far.

  35. elladrake says:

    The US Trademark Office lists this patent. It covers games. It does not list fiction, ebooks, novels, or any written material. Only game pieces “board games, parlor games, war games, hobby games, toy models and miniatures of buildings, scenery, figures, automobiles, vehicles, planes, trains and card games and paint, sold therewith.” This is over-reach & ridiculous that the implementation of DCMA would encourage Amazon to yank things without pausing to check validity. It’s a flawed system from the patents to DMCA.

  36. angusm says:

    Games Workshop owns a trademark on a generic term with a long history of prior use? Tell that to the space marines!

  37. Rick Adams says:

    I’m pretty sure my uncle was a Space Marine-Biologist. Does that count?

  38. Robert Dijkman Dulkes says:

    Start a kickstarter campaign! I’d pledge $10 to take GW down a notch.

  39. UncaScrooge says:

    If only there were some way to trademark the legal concept of being a Trademark Troll. Then, every time someone attempts this sort of tomfoolery, they get sucked dry by overpunitive legal fees.

  40. amordecosmos says:

    @SarcasticRover is all over this story…
    “Jerks want to trademark the term Space-Marine… which is 2/3 of what I’m calling my orbital aquarium. http://tinyurl.com/awpd7qq  #thinkaboutit

  41. Imran says:

    I think that Cory would be the perfect one to fight this. If we setup the indiegogo campaign will you write a short story that uses the words Space Marine, then be the front man in the fight against them? Precedent is powerful stuff. 

  42. I suspect they were behind the changing of this from “Space Marines” to “Space Troopers”:

    http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/5127

    Because, you can see how close it is to GW’s stuff….

  43. Jen Atkinson says:

    Maybe we could get some authors to sponsor an online anthology of Space Marine stories to build up a legal fund for MCA?  I’d cheerfully buy a copy. :)

  44. dtobias says:

    Since DC and Marvel Comics have gotten away with trademarking “superhero”, apparently genres are fair game (not “generic” as one might think).

    • Scott Slemmons says:

      I think the only reason DC and Marvel have gotten away with it is because, like Games Workshop, they don’t threaten anyone with deep enough pockets to fight back.

  45. PhotoLawyer says:

    My first reaction, as a lawyer, is to send a letter saying “FU.” However, the letter should actually say “whatever rights you think you might have to the phrase ‘space marines’ does not extend to a non-trademark use of the phrase. This is an old trope in science fiction, and to claim you have rights to the phrase outside of a distinctive logo using this common phrase, is abuse of trademark. Your actions have interfered with my economic rights. Should you seek to enforce your rights, be assured that I will seek economic damages against you, as well as the cancellation of your trademark and add a claim of Fraud on the Trademark Office.” To see other registrations for both dead and live trademarks of “space marines” it is easy to check the uspto website and on-line records.

  46. Marc Morrell says:

    Sgt. Knox and his Team of Space Marines were characters in the second season of Star Blazers: The Comet Empire TV Series back in 1980.  I am sure Voyager Entertainment would have problems with someone claiming a Trademark on the phrase.

  47. johnrharlow says:

    Someone should set up a FightStoopidIPLawsuits.org and run it kind of like kickstarter.

  48. Sam Brown says:

    I’d like to see a letter from Heinlein telling Games Workshop to reference exhibit of prior use, volume 1, “Starship Troopers”. 

    Granted, Heinlein has technically been dead for most of the time Games Workshop has been a company, but being deceased has barely slowed his publishing career. Surely he could crank out an amicus brief explaining the situation.

  49. Adam says:

    A very quick Google Books search reveals the term “Space Marine” used publicly as early as 1952, suggesting that the term is not subject to trademark because it is generic.  http://books.google.com/books?id=CSAEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA12-IA1&dq=%22space+marine%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=_a4SUdzzGea40QGh4IGIAQ&ved=0CEAQ6AEwAjgK#v=onepage&q=%22space%20marine%22&f=false

    • Nadreck says:

      The wikipedia entry on “Space Marines” points out short story usage going back to 1932. Also many other table top games going back to the 70s. Anyway, you can’t trademark a phrase. Only a particular representation of a phrase when used to identify a product. You might be able to copyright it but I doubt even that.

  50. Ian Simpkins says:

    I had a website called ibuywarhammer…all one word….got a lovely threatening email from games workshop that I had 30 days to change it due to copyright infringement……I think I had them worried, my second hand buying shop might make more people come to me than them…lol. sad times…

    ian@ibuywargames.

  51. glaborous_immolate says:

    “We’re Space Marines, we’re glorious
    We’re steadfast, brave and true.
    So don’t you dirtbags mess with us,
    Or this is what we’ll do:

    “We’ll nick your dogs, we’ll nuke your schools
    We’ll stretch you on a rack.
    We’ll borrow all your garden tools
    And never give them back.

    “We’ll spit at you and call you names
    Tip napalm down your shirt.
    Your chest will be consumed in flames
    And that will really hurt.”

    • Peter says:

      Gnomish Space Marines

      (to the tune of Yellow Submarine)

      In the sphere where I was born,
      Lived the oldest gnome I’ve seen,
      And he told us of his life
      In the Gnomish Space Marines.
      So we jammed up to the sun
      In our fine well-built machine,
      And we joined the stately ranks
      Of the Gnomish Space Marines.
      [chorus]
      We’re all part of the Gnomish Space Marines,
      The Gnomish Space Marines, the Gnomish Space Marines.
      Yes, we’re all part of the Gnomish Space Marines,
      The Gnomish Space Marines, the Gnomish Space Marines.
      Got our tinkers all aboard,
      All the ones we could afford.
      Our kazoo band likes to play. . .
      [musical interlude]
      We’re all part of the Gnomish Space Marines,
      The Gnomish Space Marines, the Gnomish Space Marines.
      Yes, we’re all part of the Gnomish Space Marines,
      The Gnomish Space Marines, the Gnomish Space Marines.
      Giant hamsters move the wheels,
      And they drive our great machine.
      They give us spaham for all our meals,
      And bite us only when they’re mean.
      We’re all part of the Gnomish Space Marines,
      The Gnomish Space Marines, the Gnomish Space Marines.
      Yes, we’re all part of the Gnomish Space Marines,
      The Gnomish Space Marines, the Gnomish Space Marines.

  52. Ali Spagnola says:

    I just went through a very similar trademark battle where a guy was trying to stop me from distributing my music and playing my concerts. Video about it here: http://youtu.be/czs-ADwh2is

    It took 3 years and $30,000. Absolutely insane! I can empathize with her :

  53. Honestly I think she deserves it, she still clearly loves IP and supports it but only doesn’t like it when it inconveniences her. If you were releasing your books under the creative commons and were not thinking about trade marking your character names and such… then I would feel some empathy. 

  54. matt timson says:

    I like the comments about crowd funding legal action- and it’s something I’d happily get behind. Be nice if the little guy wasn’t automatically barred from his day in court…

  55. Magister Mundi says:

    They want to copyright “Space Marine,” eh? Well, I’m sure that won’t meet any resistance whatsoever. I mean, there’s certainly no behemoths of the gaming industry standing in their way of claiming that over-broad copyright.

    There’s that one company, I guess – you know, the one that’s named after a storm system, like hurricane or typhoon, but more arctic-sounding – and they have space marines in one of their games. You know, the game named after that RV company. But they’re pretty tiny. And it’s not like they’ve launched any games that have been all that commercially successful or defined an entire industry or something.

    I’m sure they’ll just roll right on over.

    http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/

  56. Jeff Roberts says:

    That’s one doomed space marine.

  57. ivan vaghi says:

    Can we kickstart a project to pay this writer’s lawyer? seriously.

  58. MCA Hogarth should go to FundRazr.com and set up a fundraising campaign to pay the legal bills.I’m sure she could have the bill paid in a matter of days, if not hours.

  59. Sooo… any comment from the Heinlein estate yet?

  60. http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/24814/princess-ryans-space-marines

    According to BGG, this game was created in 1986 while Warhammer 40k was created in 1987 (according to wikipedia).

    • L_Mariachi says:

      As I understand it, prior art mainly applies to patents, not trademarks. If SIMTAC didn’t trademark the name of the Princess Ryan game, the precedence of the game has little bearing on the validity of GW’s TM. However, existing common usage does; you couldn’t trademark “Computer” brand computers, or a “Stick Shift” manual transmission. It’s a moot point though, as they’re bullying a novelist, not a board game producer.

  61. Nello Jennings says:

    How about using Kickstarter or Indiegogo to raise the necessary legal defense fund?

    • Kevin says:

      That would not fall within the TOU of Kickstarter. However, there are crowd funding alternatives which would allow it.

  62. Bill Snee says:

    Am wondering if you can start a defense fund using kickstarter?  I’d donate.  Or maybe you can get one of the lawyers to set up a public legal fund.  Not sure of what that is called but I’m sure they have them.

  63. Kevin says:

    I wonder if the Kaiser would have a case to sue George Lucas over the term “Sormtrooper.” 

  64. Tim Anderson says:

    Isn’t the term Marine already trademarked by the US Govt. ? Wouldn’t that be your knight in shining Kevlar legally?

  65. tallis says:

    What the hell is George Mann, GW’s head of fiction, thinking of? As a published scifi author with Tor, surely he knows *something* of the history of the genre? I’ll be steering clear of his work from now on.

  66. “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)” FU games workshop i say! ;)

  67. NASA owns the copyright to “Space” and the USMC owns the copyright to “Marines” — so why aren’t they BOTH suing Games Workshop?

    • Or better still, combine their might to launch a pre-emptive strike on GW HQ in Lenton, Nottingham, UK (yes, I am being silly – about as silly as trying to enforce ‘rights’ to the term Space Marine).

  68. Sam Hudson says:

    be funny to see the Tolkien estate sue GW for use of elf, dwarf, goblin…..

  69. Ian Moore says:

    There’s a game called “Space Marines” that appears in the June 1977 “The Dragon” magazine. Page 13.

  70. GW has never been the same since 40K came along. It ruined White Dwarf magazine and pushed out coverage of all other game systems, leaving just it and WFB.

    I would gladly donate to a legal fund to teach these guys not to be such shitbags. The bad PR alone of people donating to the cause might be enough to convince them to back down.

  71. Danny Smith says:

    I made some adverts for other English games stores back in like 2009, they’ll stay nameless because i know how goddamn vile this companies legal representation is. I jokingly quipped “why no warhammer?” when talking about their vast stock of nerd lust worthy objects.
    All joking stopped, every store was the same, people got very grim and explained what outright monsters GW are in the market of minatures and how they would like nothing more than every competitor to be run out of business. These stores had been around for decades, they all mentioned something very similar without being connected in any way.
    About when 40k came out something changed at GW and they became militantly aggressive. They would only let stores stock their product by paying them a charge that meant only gw made a profit on sales. There were threats when american games like warmachine showed up to “shut down stores stocking inferior imitation merchandise”. 
    The tales of bullying, threats -almost to the point of “this is a nice place, be a shame if something happened to it” were mind blowing. I suppose its an ironic turn considering the nature of the 40k’s bleak, hyper-fascist universe view.

    Now i used to love warhammer like most teenage boys in england not into sports or videogames at the time, i was young and never knew a thing about them.  Now as an adult i cannot fathom how they are still around. They make all the worst stories about microsoft and sony seem like nothing.

    Thing i always think of the most when i walk past one of their stores is the speech a friend of mine was told when he got employed at a games workshop for a while by the store manager: 

    “all that matters is the sale, be the friend, be the gm, but always remember they are scum. and their wallets are filled with our money and its time to claim the debt”.

    Its like the scientology before scientology in some respects i suppose. Whatever though, just dont give these douchebags money if you appreciate fantasy and sci-fi, because they exist only to kill it and have you pay them to do so.

  72. Jesus Calvo says:

    Go fight, man!

  73. STUCARIUS says:

    I love  the idea of starting a kickstarter like service to help creatives fight companies like this who are just using money to bully and intimidate their way into IP ownership not by law but by racketeering.

    Some kind of crowd sourced legal fund that is tied to specific cases would do a HUGE amount to stop this kind of behavior. Is there one right now? If not who on here has the know how to set it up so we can save the creative properties we all love from Monsters like GW.

    For what its worth GW is also a hugely biased company who almost exclusively only hires white males and only has one female employee of note among its 3000+ staff in a position higher than store manager or secretarial type positions. I am not positive but I actually think she works for an outside company and not GW specifically but that could be wrong. In a country with a large ethnic population you will be very hard pressed to find anything but white male faces in Nottingham. 

    See if you can even get a job on the creative staff of this company if your not a White Male from  the UK? The only one who has is now gone. There have even been articles written in the European press about how misogynistic this company is. This is a international company who see’s fit to sue artist in other countries where their behavior as employers would never be tolerated.

    This is a bad company who deserves to be taken down several notches….

  74. Well I’ve been a long time player of 40k table top.

     I own some of the computer games.
    And was planning on expanding my army as well as several other friends who were going to join.
    This will give me something to consider before giving them any more money.  I have long felt that as far as “space marines” are concerned 40k is about the worst science fiction ever written. But the game was fun, so what did I care?   If they feel some how a “God Given right” to push anyone who uses the two words around. I will not be supporting their company further.

  75. Mike Page says:

     It’s a shame no-one submitted an opposition to the TM: http://www.houstoninternetlaw.com/trademark/trademark-opposition.html

  76. Can anyone get major media like The New York Times, CNN, Fox News, etc., to play this up? That might give GW pause, or at least make it easier to raise money to sue them.

  77. Chris Nix says:

    UK law
    The main reasons why you may want to invalidate, or partly invalidate, the registration of a trade mark are:
    1) you think the trade mark is one which is not unique to the proprietor and should be free for you (or anyone) in that line of trade to use; or
    2) you own a trade mark (which does not have to be registered itself) which is the same as, or similar to, the proprietor’s trade mark.

    As space marines or SPACE MARINES or Space Marines are not unique spellings to GW but appear in sci fi literature, it can be invalidated under rule 1.

    Rule 2) could be applied by anyone who used the words space marines

    Also the trademark for goods is rather suspect as Asgard minitures sold space marines (re laserburn rules), Minifigs (not the Lego version but MINIATURE FIGURINES LTD.) sold space marines and both advertised in White Dwarf.

    • Chris Nix says:

       Spaces Marines by tac games reviewed in issue 8 of white dwarf. Read earlier post about appearing in dragon mag 13?

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