GW try to claim trademark over the words "Space Marine"
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Thread: GW try to claim trademark over the words "Space Marine"

  1. #1

    Default GW try to claim trademark over the words "Space Marine"

    Hum. While I think it's actually a good thing for GW to protect its IP, and certainly agree that sculpting, for example, Eldar-alike models purely to cash in on their popularity is wrong (a la Chapterhouse) this time GW have gone too far. Rather than go into all the details here, I'll summarise by saying that GW have tried to stop an ebook being sold on amazon because it has the words "space marine" in the title.

    the implications of this boggle the mind. Here's a link to the actual blog post that details the situation. Read on, folks...

    http://haikujaguar.livejournal.com/1208235.html
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  2. #2

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    Words fail me. Really GW, get a life.

  3. #3

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    Just flicked through it. We don't know the entire story, that post is only the authors side of things. The time stamps also are wonky - that post is dated the 5th Feb, but this post is dated 29th Dec so I'm not sure when this happened.

    I'm guessing the issue isn't that it's got "space marine" in the book, more that the title is misleading as it's "Space Marine" - i.e. not referring to a marine in/of space. Although I don't approve of GW's bully boy antics like this, I really think the author should have done a little bit of research and contacted GW legal to get it cleared (they do reply). If I wrote a book called "The Hobbits Big Adventure" I would well expect the Tolkien estate to appear at some point and question me.

  4. #4

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    Hmm, not sure about this. Maybe Space Marine, certainly not space marine...sticky wicket
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  5. #5

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    This is just beyond sad. It's actually a very serious issue and GW are not in the right here, they're just using their size to intimidate; I'm certain they'd lose on the merits (if the case were even accepted by a judge) if they were up against something who could take them to court.

    Einion

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by RuneBrush
    If I wrote a book called "The Hobbits Big Adventure" I would well expect the Tolkien estate to appear at some point and question me.
    There's a big difference between a unique coined name for something and a co-opted or adopted term. You can't copyright an idea, that's one of the fundamental limits set in copyright law around the world. And certainly no protection should be afforded to a concept based on common themes.


    Quote Originally Posted by freakinacage
    Hmm, not sure about this. Maybe Space Marine, certainly not space marine...sticky wicket
    Well titles are generally capitalised by default, so Space Marine it is if it's in the title.

    In the text it could still need to be capitalised if it's their formal name, like Colonial Marines or US Army or Spetsnaz. This is all incidental, what should matter is whether they're actually Warhammer-type SMs; if they were then obviously there's a case to answer but the term itself so far predates GW it's not funny. The earliest story I know of that features space marines - which includes many of the key features of Space Marines incidentally!! - is from 1958 and there could be earlier ones (it's likely in fact).

    Einion

  7. #7
    Superfreak!!! Sand Rat's Avatar
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    Hmm, also seem to remember Avelon Hill having a prior use to the term in Objective Moscow. And Uncle Sam's Misguided Children as well as the Royal Marines Might have a few things to say about the word Marine.
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  8. #8

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    It's just desperate tactics by GW they are starting to realise that their authority in the gaming world is eroding away from under their feet at an ever increasing rate, they are just throwing desperate threats at any with a name of anything they use..........I'm sure the bible will come under fire soon for daring to nave the names of some of their characters in.

    If I was the author I would just ignore it and watch as a court makes a laughing stock once again.

  9. #9
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    By the looks of it GW has folded or been ignored by amazon as the book is back up.

  10. #10

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    Seems to be an update here:

    http://mcahogarth.org/?p=9999

    GW should be ashamed of themselves for this kind of thing.

  11. #11
    Brushlicker noneedforaname's Avatar
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    This provides some added interest including the fact that some big names have jumped aboard to help including Neil gaiman

    http://collegiatitanica.blogspot.com...ne-fiasco.html

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    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02...marines_claim/

    It even made El Reg. Not usually the sort of article that shows up there, either.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by gohkm View Post
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02...marines_claim/

    It even made El Reg. Not usually the sort of article that shows up there, either.
    I may be the only person that thinks GW has a point. In life we take the use of brand names and they become the names we use to describe those items. Case in point, Hoover for vacum cleaner, Tannoy for PA system etc etc. When gamers/painters say space marine, its the GW one, no matter what the GW haters think., same as when Dark Elves, Chaos warrior, even though we all know GW don't own these terms we associate these with GW. I believe that the author is either ignorant or arrogant to not believe that space marine would not cause GW to investigate at the very least. Is he hoping to cash in his book via association? The quote GW released made sense to me, I understood what their argument is/was, whereas the author, maybe in his stupidity? Made no association? I've always been a firm believer that honesty is always the best policy, no matter who.gets upset. Both parties are as 'dodgy' as the others say. Author knew what he was doing, GW have to realise they don't own science fiction.
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    Brushlicker noneedforaname's Avatar
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    Evl homer the problem arises is this is a book not a miniature, early legal commentary from those far more qualified than me suggests GW do not have and do not deserve protection in this instance. Space Marine is more likely to not be tied to GW when you consider it's usage in film and literature where the vast majority of the audience have had no exposure to GW. Copyright and trademark protection should be used for its intended purpose, not to brow beat all and sundry with your greater financial resources to try and extend your protection unfairly beyond its intended limits like in this case.

  15. #15

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    I kinda agree with both EvlHmr and, dare I say it, GW, insofar as I think companies have both the right and an obligation to protect their IP. When I consider the amount of work the GW design staff put into developing the "look" of eldar, space marines, tau, etc, it makes me angry to think someone else can just copy their design aesthetic and profit from it. That, fortunately, is what copyright law is for.

    The problem here is that space marine is such a generic term in the greater world of sci fi (outwith 40k, I mean). It comes across as a cynical move by GW inasmuch as if it were to have stood uncontested then it could be used as precedent down the line. Today, it's a small unknown author who simply can't argue with them. Tomorrow, someone slightly more able to fight gets their case weakened by the fact that GW have already established they were right (vs Hogarth). It's pure bullying tactics, and it's worrying because it applies to a far wider range of products than tabletop miniatures. In the great scheme o things hardly anybody plays with miniatures, but a hella lot of people read books.
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    Personally I think that GW and their legal sharks need to realise that in terms of Global Knowledge they really are very small fish in a very big pond.
    Had they, instead of beating a big drum, approached the author and asked for a disclaimer about the use of space marine they would have gained respect instead of acting like the schoolyard bullies they are known as.
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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonsreach View Post
    Personally I think that GW and their legal sharks need to realise that in terms of Global Knowledge they really are very small fish in a very big pond.
    Had they, instead of beating a big drum, approached the author and asked for a disclaimer about the use of space marine they would have gained respect instead of acting like the schoolyard bullies they are known as.
    Oooo... diplomatic. That's extra XP right there, DR.
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  18. #18

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    I think Games Workshop is completely in the wrong. They did not originate the term or the concept of Space Marines. In fact, given how much they rely on copies and echoes of earlier authors' intellectual properties for pretty much all of their products, this is a pretty outrageous move, a rights grab for a term dating back to at least 1932 from a company which depends utterly on copying others' concepts itself.

    GW seems to have a long, long history of strategic attacks on individuals and businesses too small to afford to defend themselves legally, this in order to set legal precedents for it to keep going. The chief difference here is the person they tried to bulldoze has a voice and friends.

  19. #19

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    Does anybody remember these space marines?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space:_Above_and_Beyond
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by me_in_japan View Post
    I kinda agree with both EvlHmr and, dare I say it, GW, insofar as I think companies have both the right and an obligation to protect their IP. When I consider the amount of work the GW design staff put into developing the "look" of eldar, space marines, tau, etc, it makes me angry to think someone else can just copy their design aesthetic and profit from it. That, fortunately, is what copyright law is for.

    The problem here is that space marine is such a generic term in the greater world of sci fi (outwith 40k, I mean). It comes across as a cynical move by GW inasmuch as if it were to have stood uncontested then it could be used as precedent down the line. Today, it's a small unknown author who simply can't argue with them. Tomorrow, someone slightly more able to fight gets their case weakened by the fact that GW have already established they were right (vs Hogarth). It's pure bullying tactics, and it's worrying because it applies to a far wider range of products than tabletop miniatures. In the great scheme o things hardly anybody plays with miniatures, but a hella lot of people read books.
    You are right in concept, companies do have that right and obligation but as your second paragraph touches on, they simply are not protecting their ip here. The term 'Space Marine' isn't theirs to protect. They did not create it, the own no moral or legal right to claim it as their own. At least not in literature in the US. Personally I am surprised they even got European protection for that.

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