This is part of a bigger problem of patent trolling and trademark bullying. Patents and trademarks are given out too easily for generic concepts and then these companies throw their weight around. GW has been particularly zealous in defending their "rights".
Great Video. This needed to be said.....again! I will never buy any of their stuff. There are alternatives and game shops and resellers should focus more on stocking and selling other games and removing the GW stuff from their shelves. I know of no other game company that acts like the political entity that GW is trying to become. There are one or two that have sort of headed in that direction and the result for them was not good. This subject is popping up more and more and unless GW changes their ways they are in for a letdown.
EDIT: Oh, forgot to mention that Princes Ryan's Space Marines has been around longer than GW titles. They may want to look into Fantasy Flight's use of the term in some of their games as well.
Trying to copyright "Space Marines".....what a load, or as an overseas gamer once wrote, "a bag of D".
There are alternatives and game shops and resellers should focus more on stocking and selling other games and removing the GW stuff from their shelves.
You are certainly free with other folks' money. Stores will stock what sells. GW sells and sells well.
At my store we have 8 times more space dedicated to Board Games than we do GW (and we are well stocked on GW) and we sell 8 times as much GW as all board games combined. Working out the numbers, each square foot of GW brings in 64 times more revenue than board games.
You know what we don't sell? We don't sell Dungeons and Dragons. Our local market decided that they rather play Pathfinder and our sales reflect it. As we rarely sold any D&D 4th edition, we clearance priced our remaining stock and no longer carry it.
A quick analysis of this situation shows the weak point of GW's position.
First though, one must understand that despite the popular uses of "Space Marine" in works of fiction, what we are looking at here is the use of "Space Marine" as a mark that associates a product with a manufacturer. Those other popular uses may inform the strength of the trademark, but if they were not used as trademarks (or have stopped being used as trademarks) then they do not prohibit GW from claiming rights to "Space Marine" as a "unique" source-of-origin symbol.
"Space Marine" as a trademark for literary works is a tough sell for GW. One cannot obtain a registration for the title of a single literary work. One can initiate a trademark infringement claim based on one's common law rights to the title of a single literary work, however this has its challenges.
The common law views such titles as descriptive marks (and some as generic), requiring the petitioner to prove the acquisition of secondary meaning in its title (i.e. in the instant case, that "Space Marine" is so well known that consumers associate it as the work of GW). Without secondary meaning, enforcement is extremely unlikely. With secondary meaning, then likelihood of confusion must still be established by the petitioner.
Furthermore, in looking over GW's black Library publications, I only saw two books that contained "Space Marine" in their titles. One was just "Space Marine" and the other contained the terms as part of a larger title. This is helpful because it shows that "Space Marine" is not the title of a series. If GW had used it as a series title (like perhaps it does with Horus Heresy and certainly does with its Warhammer 40,000 logo), then its rights to the term would be stronger.
A declaratory judgment may be an option in this type of situation where one party alleges rights but has not sued the "infringer" yet.
Furthermore, though I have little knowledge about Amazon's IP policies, a frivolous infringement claim used to sever a business relationship could be sufficient to base a claim against GW for tortious interference with a contract. Further research is needed.
PS - This response has been cross-posted on a few relevant threads.
I hear GW uses the word "THE" in some of there products. Therefore, I have changed the name of my new game from "The Dungeon & Dragons Small World Edition Of Lord Of The Rings" to "A Dungeon & Dragons Small World Edition Of Lord Of the Rings".
As far as I know, there wasn't any C&D letter. And the weakness in these cases is money, as in GW has lots, and other people don't. And GW can afford to drag out a court case and spend money on it, whereas most other people can't. So even when they lose the court case, the person brave enough to take them on will be bankrupted. Simply bullying tactics - and annoyingly, they work.
I used to enjoy Games Workshop. After going through what everyone else does on the 2nd or 3d year into the hobby, I would just like to say for the record...we hates GW, we hates it precious!
On a side note...a buddy was really into GW and we bought Armies together and played a lot. He decides he doesn't want to keep up with the "collectible miniature" nonsense so switches to Flames of War. Orders a few books and describles the force he wants to build - Bersaglieri's. Cool, I'm hooked again, bought a GI Mech force and German Grenadiers, painted them. I'm all set. Contact buddy, he sold his stuff to pay for bass guitar lessons.
I plan on taking him fishing for my birthday, precious. Maybe I'll bring all of those lead miniatures with me and see if he can float with them.
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