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Games Workshop Ltd.» Forums » General

Subject: GW claiming common law trademark on "Space Marine" rss

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Pete Hooper
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http://haikujaguar.livejournal.com/1208235.html

I thought I'd share in case it's news to anyone.

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http://mcahogarth.org/?p=10593
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I hope some clever company will lay claim to the terms "Games" and "Workshop" in any combination and sue GW's ass off.
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Pretty bold for a company that uses the term "Eldar" AFTER it used by Tolkien in his legendarium.

Also, wasn't Heinlein the guy who really defined the concept of space marines as genocidal executioners in power armor getting dropped in from orbit?

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Some enterprising attorney general should look into invoking racketeering laws to deal with shakedowns like this.
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First Dreadfleet and now this; it's as though GW want us to despise them.

On a tangential note, I note the US Marine Corps (formed 1775) claims 'Marine' as a trademark; one wonders what the British Royal Marines (formed under that name 1755) would think about that.
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While I greatly enjoy playing Space Hulk, and one of my best friends is a 40K fanatic (he owns about 15,000 points worth of Black Templar and Blood Angels), I have virtually nothing good to say about GW (nor does my friend). GW is a sad, pathetic company that worries more about claiming and defending IP these days than creating and marketing compelling games. In a way, GW is a caricature of the Empire itself - a once great civilization corrupted beyond recognition, driven to tyranny and madness!
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This is the topic of my blogpost today as well (here for those interested).

It disgusts me that they're trying to pull this crap just because they think they can get away with it.
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What a bunch of twats.
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MasterGeek wrote:
This is the topic of my blogpost today as well (here for those interested).
I'm always interested!

Quote:
It disgusts me that they're trying to pull this crap just because they think they can get away with it.
They can and they do. It's been the same with GW for a long time. If you want it to stop, there is only one viable solution: stop buying anything that has their name on it. That's what I did many years ago. But they make darn good stuff and not enough of us have stopped buying and/or there is a replenishing supply of younger buyers. As long as they have enough willing buyers, they will continue to throw around their weight as they like.

It reminds me of the old joke at work: Firings will continue until morale improves.
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Shauneroo wrote:
What a bunch of twats.
Meh. I've seen worse.

Marvel at one time tried to copyright the letter "X" because of their various "X" series like X-men, X-factor, X-force, etc. (Thankfully, they failed).

George Lucas has successfully trademarked the term "droid". Fasa's Battletech 1st edition was actually called "Battledroid" and had to be changed because of that.

Fasa has put in place a trademark for the term "mech" (derived from mecha). Now you can't have "mechs" outside the BattleTech universe. You'll have Vertical Tanks, Gladiators, Walker Machines, Mechanoids, Metal Armour, War Walkers, Exo-Armour, etc.
Everybody just call all of them casually "mechs", but officially they can't.

In the case of "space marines", i'd bet they won't be able to get it. If they do, we'll now have space soldiers, armoured troopers, vacuum marines, etc.
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wavemotion wrote:
If you want it to stop, there is only one viable solution: stop buying anything that has their name on it. That's what I did many years ago. But they make darn good stuff and not enough of us have stopped buying and/or there is a replenishing supply of younger buyers. As long as they have enough willing buyers, they will continue to throw around their weight as they like.
I agree with you, and I really dislike GW's business practices, but as you say, they make "darn good stuff". I don't play the miniatures game, but I've been planning on getting some more of their 40K RPGs, and I'm not sure that this will change that. However, I justify it a bit by the fact that the RPGs are published by Fantasy Flight; I know GW still gets some of the money through licensing agreements, but at least it is (hopefully mainly) supporting a much cooler company.
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desertfox2004 wrote:
In a way, GW is a caricature of the Empire itself - a once great civilization corrupted beyond recognition, driven to tyranny and madness!
This one is the most awesome and kind of fitting image possible. Thank you. I think I can never walk past a GW store anymore without mumbling "Death to the False Emperor" to myself again.

Regarding the boycott:
Yeah: I have stopped buying GW stuff many years ago, but mostly due to missing players around here. I still have a carnifex in shrinkwrap laying around somewhere in my room, but I simply can't get myself to building it (although it looks great). GW clearly crossed the line when the started removing the metal and introduced the finecrap stuff. That is when GW really died.
Sadly the younger folks simply don't see the monster GW is, they just see the "admittedly) cool minis and shelv out hundrets of bucks for overpriced plastic.
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GWs legal team are pretty far removed from their games & miniatures line.

TBH they can tell Amazon what they want, doesn't make it a legal claim. If Amazon believe them they're fools. Especially considering http://www.amazon.co.uk/Space-Marines-DVD-Billy-Wirth/dp/B00...

The term has also been used in the Sci-fi novels (like Lensman IIRC) as far back as the 60's. No doubt there are other sources of the term.

So anyone taking this claim seriously is as deluded as GW lawyers.
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Ugavine wrote:
So anyone taking this claim seriously is as deluded as GW lawyers.
Yet Amazon responded by removing the claimed fringe material. You don't have to be right when you throw your legal prowess around - you only have to make the other company come to the realization it's not worth it to push back.

In the past few years, BGG has also been on the end of some pretty silly (as well as some valid) claims - and they have little to no choice but to comply as they can't afford to fight a battle that would bankrupt the company.

If you want it to stop: see my proposed solution above.
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Katzebar wrote:
Luscious Willard wrote:
Pretty bold for a company that uses the term "Eldar" AFTER it used by Tolkien in his legendarium.

Also, wasn't Heinlein the guy who really defined the concept of space marines as genocidal executioners in power armor getting dropped in from orbit?

That would be Starship Troopers, though arguably the book was more fascist propaganda than about genocide (unless you count the short episode detailing the assault on the greys halfway through the novel).

Oddly enough, Heinlein uses Space Marine without any qualifications if I remember correctly.
It wasn't facist propaganda unless you consider the idea of Federalism facist (which I don't know too many that do), as the book was simply a treatise on how much better stronger Federalism would be (in his opinion, and hey it has worked for the Swiss), and the logic behind the need for it (i.e. how can one make wise decisions when voting if one is not willing themselves to serve the ideals of the state first, and put their lives on the line for those ideals, thus the line of "service guarantees citizenship"). Just like 1984 was a book on how communism would lead to the downfall of the world, or Brave New World about the evils of socialism.
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wavemotion wrote:
Ugavine wrote:
So anyone taking this claim seriously is as deluded as GW lawyers.
Yet Amazon responded by removing the claimed fringe material. You don't have to be right when you throw your legal prowess around - you only have to make the other company come to the realization it's not worth it to push back.

In the past few years, BGG has also been on the end of some pretty silly (as well as some valid) claims - and they have little to no choice but to comply as they can't afford to fight a battle that would bankrupt the company.

If you want it to stop: see my proposed solution above.
Says about as much about Amazon as it does about GW really.

As for stop buying their stuff, no.

Microsoft have been a much worse company when in comes to bullying smaller retailers, yet I'm sure a lot of the GW protestors still use some of their products.

The Capitalist world breeds greed, but in a non-capitalist world we wouldn't have RPGs and Board Games
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Yeah, GW is officially off my list of companies I will buy anything from.
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Ugavine wrote:
The Capitalist world breeds greed, but in a non-capitalist world we wouldn't have RPGs and Board Games
I dunno about that. Board games certainly predate capitalism (chess, mancala, parcheesi, backgammon). Storytelling predates all of those. It was only a matter of time before someone merged the two.

And we've seen both hobbies move away from the capitalistic model. Many RPGs are free or released under very permissive licenses.
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Author John Scalzi has what I think is a good take on the matter.
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I have sad news for GW: Fantasy Games Unlimited already published a game called Space Marine years ago...
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BTW, if the GW legal eagles were really worth a crap, they'd know that there's no such thing as a "common law trademark". That crap may float in the UK, but it doesn't wash on this side of the pond...
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acwmichbrig wrote:
BTW, if the GW legal eagles were really worth a crap, they'd know that there's no such thing as a "common law trademark". That crap may float in the UK, but it doesn't wash on this side of the pond...
IANAL, but....

http://www.bitlaw.com/trademark/common.html
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MasterGeek wrote:
Yeah, GW is officially off my list of companies I will buy anything from.
Fairly new gamer here - in over a hundred games in just over a year and am interested in a lot more; however, there's one company now that I'll avoid. GW can go suck a bag of dicks as far as I'm concerned for doing this - I'll never buy one of their games either.
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I love Space Hulk and the Warhammer novel universe and have for some time, yet I have never exclusively thought of GW or any of their products when hearing the term "space marine." It's out there in the public conscious way too much and in many forms that existed long before GW and Warhammer. The idea of trademarking this outside gaming is so ludicrous - and that isn't what they've done. They only have this trademarked in relation to games. I hope someone fights them on this.
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