Feb 06

GW Says No More Space Marines Apart From Their Own

Games-Workshop-LogoGames Workshop – in a frighteningly crazy move, have claimed they have a trademark on the name “Space Marine”

Over here, the author M.C.A. Hogarth had an e-book named “Spots the Space Marine” up on Amazon, where it was blocked after complaints from GW because it infringed on their trademark they have claimed on the name “Space Marines”. From the Author’s website:

In their last email to me, Games Workshop stated that they believe that their recent entrée into the e-book market gives them the common law trademark for the term “space marine” in all formats. If they choose to proceed on that belief, science fiction will lose a term that’s been a part of its canon since its inception. Space marines were around long before Games Workshop. But if GW has their way, in the future, no one will be able to use the term “space marine” without it referring to the space marines of the Warhammer 40K universe.

They have a point, just nosying around the Wikipedia article about the phrase Space Marine does bring up the point that long before Games Workshop decided to start using the phrase  that there were books much older than that using it as well. The earliest known use of the term being from 1932.

What is worrying here, and the author makes this valid point, is that if nobody can use the phrase of Space Marine, what does this mean for those who want to talk about soldiers in the marine core who fight in space? Why does such a broad and blanket term have the ability to be trademarked? We could all understand trademarking very specific words used in the world of Warhammer, but Space Marines? Really?

Where will this go from here? Well there are plenty of great ideas being banded about how whether to tackle this, but for the moment we will be watching this very closely.


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  1. burnedfx

    In other news, Santa’s elf games division has filed suit against “Games Workshop.”


  2. Feefers

    Just have to go to court and prove prior use, end of trademark issue.

  3. Hal

    It’s actually ‘Marine Corps,’ but point noted.

  4. kedamono

    I think the other way to do this, is to contact Amazon and inform them that if “Spot the Space Marine” violates the alleged trademark of GW, then every other ebook in their collection that uses the term is violating the trademark as well, and every one of those ebooks need to be blocked as well. The resulting crap storm would give GW pause. And not a few legal suits as well.

    Sadly, Amazon would state that they can only block those works that that GW thinks it has a chance against. Uh-I mean only those that GW files a complaint against.

  5. Scott

    I know a few games/movies that will not let this stand.

  6. Mark Quested

    Sadly, ever since the departure of Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson, GW descended into a corporate fucktard! If it were me I’d be sorely tempted to see whether I could afford to start legal proceedings against GW & whether it is feasible to legally represent oneself in any high court dispute.

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