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Old 02-16-2013, 08:37 AM   #31
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Default Re: Games Workshop files trademark infringement claim against e-book author

Here's a the not-U2, Not Safe For Work video in question, which also macks on some early George Lucas sound effects.
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:55 PM   #32
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Default Re: Update on GW vs. Spots the Space Marine

Originally Posted by Rocket Man View Post
And that's how American law stands: you can't trademark a term that's a mere description of what you're trying to sell.
That seems very fair to me, indeed it seems pretty much essential. Consider "Kiwi" as a trademark for shoe polish. Putting the word "kiwi" and a drawing of a kiwi on a tin of boot-polish is an effective and appropriate way of distinguishing your product from other manufacturers' competing products, and causes no inconvenience to anyone.

But supposing that someone were to start selling tinned kiwi meat. They ought to be able to tell their customers what's in the can, and include the traditional picture on the label. Enforcing the "kiwi" trademark against them would be obnoxious. It would be like letting someone enforce a "tomato" brand for tinned tomatoes and prevent their competitors from labelling their tins. The mark "kiwi" can distinguish one manufacturer's boot-blacking from another's, but it is incapable of distinguishing one manufacturers tinned kiwis from his rivals'.

This seems to be related to the concept of a trademark becoming genericised. I reckon that the word "tomato" is already a generic term for tomatoes, that "kiwi" is already a generic term for kiwis, and that "space marine" is already a generic term for 'naval' infantry serving on space-ships.

GW face no hardship. They can use the trademark "GW" and distinctive trade dress to distinguish their products, and their customers need not be confused.

Last edited by Agemegos; 02-18-2013 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:14 AM   #33
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Default Re: Games Workshop files trademark infringement claim against e-book author

On one hand that's what GW is expected to do by Trademark law. On the other the author is a presumably fairly average-income private citizen with little to no ability to advertise who is self-publishing a book and lacks the personal resources to defend the case, which effectively silences her with no recourse.

Personally I might buy a copy just to support her. Gods know I have plenty enough stuff on my Kindle as-is.
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Old 05-03-2013, 02:41 PM   #34
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Default Re: Games Workshop files trademark infringement claim against e-book author

Thing is, GW doesn't have a US trademark on Space Marine in books. (They apparently have one in the UK, presumably for RPG books, etc.) has a lovely list of stuff about it... notes not just prior use of "space marine," but also...
There is also the small matter of Games Workshop not attempting to protect the alleged trademark prior to this point, namely not when Dark Horse released a number of Alien comics and magazines in the early 1990s which sometimes used the term 'space marine' to refer to the Colonial Marines. They have also taken no action against Barnes and Noble, which has a sub-section called 'Soldiers and Space Marines'.

More notably, GW has not attempted to sue Blizzard Entertainment, despite the latter's creation of the StarCraft franchise in 1998 which is - sometimes breathtakingly - similar to Warhammer 40,000. The Terran Marines in StarCraft not only fulfil the same role as the Space Marines in WH40K but look extremely similar. Coincidentally, Activision-Blizzard is a multi-billion-dollar company with legal resources that vastly outstrip those of GW's by several orders of magnitude. is an analysis of why Amazon shouldn't have taken it down in the first place, and why GW was 100% overreacting.
First, a trademark isn’t an exclusive right to use a term commercially; it’s a right not to have your product or service confused with someone else’s, as to origin, sponsorship, affiliation, etc. That was never a reasonable possibility here. Second, and more important, while there is a duty to “police” your marks so that third-party use doesn’t weaken your marks. This duty, however, is often greatly exaggerated by (1) people who need an excuse to justify their abusive behavior and (2) people who stand to profit from aggressive enforcement (gee, like who?).
If there ever is a battle involving hand-to-hand combat in outer space, you can bet that marines will fight it. And we’ll call them “space marines.” Because they’ll be marines. In space.
As for checking out the book? Well, I liked it! Do note it's in a "Screenplay" format, which may take a little bit to get used to. So as always, sample before purchase. But if the format isn't something that just pushes your buttons wrong... like I said, I liked it. O:>
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space marines, trademark

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