Warhammer Company Makes "Space Marine" Trademark Claim

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT
 

Warhammer Company Makes "Space Marine" Trademark Claim

image

Warhammer 40K publisher Games Workshop appears to be lining up a claim that the term "space marine" belongs to it and it alone.

To me, "space marine" is a very generic term for heavily-armed soldier types in space. The Master Chief is a space marine. The guys from Doom and Quake are space marines. The System Shock 2 marine is a space marine. Heinlein's Starship Troopers are space marines. Imperial Stormtroopers are space marines. Hicks, Hudson, Vasquez and Apone - space marines all. You get the idea.

To Games Workshop, however, there is only one space marine, and it's the Space Marines from the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop wargame and related properties. The company holds a trademark on the term for "board games, parlor games, war games, hobby games, toy models and miniatures of buildings, scenery, figures, automobiles, vehicles, planes, trains and card games and paint," but now it appears to be broadening its claim significantly beyond what it has a right to.

In December 2012, Games Workshop used a trademark infringement claim to force the removal of the ebook Spots the Space Marine from Amazon. The book, an homage to classic sci-fi author Robert Heinlein, is still available in physical format but the ebook edition is not, and according to the author, M.C.A. Hogarth, the real worry is that Games Workshop may be readying a similar move against all other uses of "space marine."

"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," she wrote. "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."

Hogarth said it makes perfect sense for Games Workshop to trademark Warhammer-specific terms like "Adeptus Astartes," but laying claim to "space marine" is simply an attempt to "co-opt the legacy of science fiction writers who laid the groundwork for their success."

"Even more than I want to save Spots the Space Marine, I want someone to save all space marines for the genre I grew up reading," she continued. "I want there to be a world where Heinlein and E.E. Smith's space marines can live alongside mine and everyone else's, and no one has the hubris to think that they can own a fundamental genre trope and deny it to everyone else."

Games Workshop does hold a European trademark that covers a wider range of goods than the U.S. and U.K. marks, but as she noted in a January update, trademarks are limited to the territories in which they are granted, meaning that a European trademark cannot be enforced in the U.S.; furthermore, even the European trademark doesn't cover ebooks, yet that, and not the physical edition, is what was removed from Amazon because of the claim.

Unfortunately, Hogarth says she doesn't have the resources to take on Games Workshop's lawyers, so for now Spot the Space Marine remains out of reach and she is focusing instead on raising awareness of the issue. "For now, step one is to talk about this. Pass it on to your favorite news source. Tell your favorite authors or writers' organizations," she wrote. "To move forward, we need interest. Let's generate some interest."

Source: MCAH Online

Permalink

good, come up with your own term for space military men

I think that is not entirely true. After all Aliens did it first.

Literal Space Marines. Heck if we go by that definition there are even older space marines in Starship Troopers. Heavy Armour Clad Warriors defending the Empire of Man against filthy Xenos?

You must have had a plagiarism field day when creating the board game digging through pre-1980's sci-fi. So no. You do not get to own a part of pop culture. Sad day for you.

I'm going to copyright the word "Marines" ... now what?

I want FOX to sue games workshop for blatantly ripping off aliens with their tyranids... now that would be funny.

Oh for god's sakes. I'd read about this on DakkaDakka, but Games Workshop, just stop. Stop trying to act like you are anything more than a corporate shill. You want to argue originality, do you?
image
Starship Troopers

image

There's also an image of a 1950s sci fi picture out there that looks exactly like a Tau Fire Warrior.

"Space Marine" is just too generic a term. It existed long before GW ever existed, and it's been used plenty times since after they came around. It's a generic term, and a description: a Marine in space. Plus, GW wasn't exactly spouting out original idea after original idea in the 40K universe...

Now if they tried to trademark "SPESS MEHREENS", I'd be behind it. Right after they trademark "METAL BAWKSES".

With Zynga going under, I was wondering where we would be getting our continuous source of petty lawsuits.

Wow...really?

That's, that's REALLY retarded.

I personally think this is completely ridiculous. The term "space marine" dates back to at least 1932 (Games Workshop wasn't around until 1975 or so by the way, so that's about 40 years prior) and referred simply to marines who were, well, in space. GW has been known to be sue happy, but at least they kept it restricted to their own IP and not broad terms (At least to my knowledge, and even their sue-happiness is rather dickish).

"In the grim darkness of 2013, there is only War... hammer 40K" is what de people of Games Workshop must have brainwashed themselves into believing.

I think it's a bit ridiculous that a company can "own" such a generic term.

Andy Chalk:

Unfortunately, Hogarth says she doesn't have the resources to take on Games Workshop's lawyers, so for now Spot the Space Marine remains out of reach and she is focusing instead on raising awareness of the issue.

This bothers me so much lately.
Big companies have huge lawyer teams, thus they can get away with things.

Money buys the law.
Not right or wrong wins, but the one with the biggest budget.

DVS BSTrD:
With Zynga going under, I was wondering where we would be getting our continuous source of petty lawsuits.

Really, an indie author having part of her sales yanked and her income affected by over-reaching bullies trying to assert ownership of a sci-fi trope is petty? Really?

hudsonzero:
good, come up with your own term for space military men

Yeeeeeeah...because authors that work within the military sci-fi niche are such jerks for using an established trope. Hacks, the lot of them!

Don't be daft Warhammer, the idea of such a claim is just stoid and I sincerely hope that it fails.

Jennifer Atkinson:

DVS BSTrD:
With Zynga going under, I was wondering where we would be getting our continuous source of petty lawsuits.

Really, an indie author having part of her sales yanked and her income affected by over-reaching bullies trying to assert ownership of a sci-fi trope is petty? Really?

I believe DVS meant Games Workshop were being petty.

At first, I thought this might have been something to do with the Space Marine video game publishing thing back since THQ went under, or something along those lines anyway.

However, this is them trying to trademark a trope, one that has existed long before any Warhammer Space Marines did.

I thought GW would stay within their own IP. I was wrong.

Quick! Someone else copyright it and sue GW!

Andy Shandy:

Jennifer Atkinson:

DVS BSTrD:
With Zynga going under, I was wondering where we would be getting our continuous source of petty lawsuits.

Really, an indie author having part of her sales yanked and her income affected by over-reaching bullies trying to assert ownership of a sci-fi trope is petty? Really?

I believe DVS meant Games Workshop were being petty.

At first, I thought this might have been something to do with the Space Marine video game publishing thing back since THQ went under, or something along those lines anyway.

However, this is them trying to trademark a trope, one that has existed long before any Warhammer Space Marines did.

My apologies, then.

hudsonzero:
good, come up with your own term for space military men

First off, Games Workshop is hardly the first ones to use the term, second off, you realize that space marine is just a generic description, right? They're marines who happen to be in space. What would you rather they be called? Cosmic Warfighters?

Actually...

As the article says, trademark "Adeptus Astartes" or something but not such a generic term as "Space Marine"

Can't see it succeeding to be honest

I can't say I'm surprised.

GW is obsessive over copyright, the Damnatus film is another example.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Fanfic/Damnatus?from=Main.Damnatus

EDIT: Turns out there weren't going overboard due to differences in German and British copyright, worst case scenario would have been that Warhammer 40k would have gone into the public domain in Germany.

They're still obsessive though.

hudsonzero:
good, come up with your own term for space military men

Exactly, What about the Space Army?

or the Space Navy

Space......Air SPACE FORCE

.....Space Coast Guard?

Besides:

My
Ass
Rides
In
Navy
Equipment

DoomedSheridan:

hudsonzero:
good, come up with your own term for space military men

First off, Games Workshop is hardly the first ones to use the term, second off, you realize that space marine is just a generic description, right? They're marines who happen to be in space. What would you rather they be called? Cosmic Warfighters?

Actually...

Oh dear God above, no...please no...please?

As much as I enjoy the Dawn of War series (and I'm still hoping for a 3rd installment), this is beyond stupid, it's almost like Edge all over again.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/17490/space-marines id like to leave this here. it predates warhammer 40k by a decade its a minatures wargame first released in 1977 and happens to be called space marine.

they maybe obbsessive but its still a completely dick move

Ugh. Man they suck I don't think I'll buy any more of their products. Even if they are fun to paint.

1337mokro:
I think that is not entirely true. After all Aliens did it first.

Literal Space Marines. Heck if we go by that definition there are even older space marines in Starship Troopers. Heavy Armour Clad Warriors defending the Empire of Man against filthy Xenos?

You must have had a plagiarism field day when creating the board game digging through pre-1980's sci-fi. So no. You do not get to own a part of pop culture. Sad day for you.

It's the name, not the concept that is the issue.

Starship Troopers =! Space Marine, and apparently Space Marine is used very little before GW got their hands on the trademark (don't forget, use it or lose it). What'd be the point of owning the Space Marines trademark if you didn't exercise it on media calling itself 'Space Marine'?

Colonial Marines are also not Space Marines, nor are stormtroopers, and I don't understand how you could confuse the 2 words.

wombat_of_war:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/17490/space-marines id like to leave this here. it predates warhammer 40k by a decade its a minatures wargame first released in 1977 and happens to be called space marine.

they maybe obbsessive but its still a completely dick move

Did they trademark it?

Do they even remotely have a claim on it?

I don't understand why people are hating on GW and not the law for allowing to trademark a term that only generic and bland writers would use (considering its pointing towards an American-centric and lazy writer); they trademarked it first so they get to keep the name.

TimeLord:
As the article says, trademark "Adeptus Astartes" or something but not such a generic term as "Space Marine"

Can't see it succeeding to be honest

What succeeding? Did you even read the original article on boing?

They asked Amazon to take it down, they did. The end. What is your point? The author isn't going to fight it as it would involve an enormous legal battle that would end up with either her bankrupt or GW losing the Space Marine trademark so Chinese companies could continue to make cheap knockoffs with the same names.

Tbh, Warhammer is the first thing I think of when hearing the term space marine. However, this is still stupid. Cases like this and the whole Edge debacle show why the trademark system needs a rework.

captcha: angel food
I guess I better start blinking as little as possible?

Ed130:
I can't say I'm surprised.

GW is obsessive over copyright, the Damnatus film is another example.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Fanfic/Damnatus?from=Main.Damnatus

EDIT: Turns out there weren't going overboard due to differences in German and British copyright, worst case scenario would have been that Warhammer 40k would have gone into the public domain in Germany.

They're still obsessive though.

Well I think it is about time it did become Public Domain. At least under old copyright law. They have long since made a huge profit on their IP and at this point in time it should be about right to let it just go and think up something new.

All they are doing now is just living off it. Kinda like Tolkiens kids who really have no right to live of the work of their father just because under current law an author keeps the copyright several decades after their death.

Kind of defeats the point of copyright which was to stimulate artists to create more works by offering them an exclusive period of time in which their work was protected.

Can't really create anything when you are dead so copyright just lost it's purpose.

I pulled this from the GW site.

http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/content/article.jsp?categoryId=&pIndex=5&aId=3900002&multiPageMode=true&start=6

Below you will find information about Games Workshop's Copyrights and Trademarks. If you are interested in using Games Workshop's images and logos on your own web site, we have something you should read first:

COPYRIGHTS AND TRADEMARKS
Last updated: 01 January 2010

COPYRIGHTS
All artwork and logos on this site and all the images contained therein have been produced either in-house or as work for hire. The exclusive copyright in the logos and artwork, including the images it depicts, is the property of Games Workshop Limited. © Copyright Games Workshop Ltd 2000-2013.
All subject matter in White Dwarf is © Copyright Games Workshop Ltd 2000-2013.
All artwork in all Games Workshop products, and all images contained therein have been produced either in-house or as work for hire. All rights reserved.

TRADEMARK INFORMATION
Adeptus Astartes, Battlefleet Gothic, Black Flame, Black Library, the Black Library logo, BL Publishing, Blood Angels, Bloodquest, Blood Bowl, the Blood Bowl logo, The Blood Bowl Spike Device, Cadian, Catachan, the Chaos device, Cityfight, the Chaos logo, Citadel, Citadel Device, City of the Damned, Codex, Daemonhunters, Dark Angels, Dark Eldar, Dark Future, the Double-Headed/Imperial Eagle device, 'Eavy Metal, Eldar, Eldar symbol devices, Epic, Eye of Terror, Fanatic, the Fanatic logo, the Fanatic II logo, Fire Warrior, Forge World, Games Workshop, Games Workshop logo, Genestealer, Golden Demon, Gorkamorka, Great Unclean One, the Hammer of Sigmar logo, Horned Rat logo, Inferno, Inquisitor, the Inquisitor logo, the Inquisitor device, Inquisitor:Conspiracies, Keeper of Secrets, Khemri, Khorne, Kroot, Lord of Change, Marauder, Mordheim, the Mordheim logo, Necromunda, Necromunda stencil logo, Necromunda Plate logo, Necron, Nurgle, Ork, Ork skull devices, Sisters of Battle, Skaven, the Skaven symbol devices, Slaanesh, Space Hulk, Space Marine, Space Marine chapters, Space Marine chapter logos, Talisman, Tau, the Tau caste designations, Tomb Kings, Trio of Warriors, Twin Tailed Comet Logo, Tyranid, Tyrannid, Tzeentch, Ultramarines, Warhammer, Warhammer Historical, Warhammer Online, Warhammer 40k Device, Warhammer World logo, Warmaster, White Dwarf, the White Dwarf logo, and all associated marks, names, races, race insignia, characters, vehicles, locations illustrations and images from the Blood Bowl game, the Warhammer world, the Talisaman world, and the Warhammer 40,000 universe are either ®, TM and/or © Copyright Games Workshop Ltd 2000-2013, variably registered in the UK and other countries around the world. All Rights Reserved

If you have any queries, please contact the GW legal department at:
Games Workshop Group PLC
Willow Road, Lenton,
Nottingham
NG7 2WS
UK

1337mokro:

Ed130:
I can't say I'm surprised.

GW is obsessive over copyright, the Damnatus film is another example.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Fanfic/Damnatus?from=Main.Damnatus

EDIT: Turns out there weren't going overboard due to differences in German and British copyright, worst case scenario would have been that Warhammer 40k would have gone into the public domain in Germany.

They're still obsessive though.

Well I think it is about time it did become Public Domain. At least under old copyright law. They have long since made a huge profit on their IP and at this point in time it should be about right to let it just go and think up something new.

All they are doing now is just living off it. Kinda like Tolkiens kids who really have no right to live of the work of their father just because under current law an author keeps the copyright several decades after their death.

Kind of defeats the point of copyright which was to stimulate artists to create more works by offering them an exclusive period of time in which their work was protected.

Can't really create anything when you are dead so copyright just lost it's purpose.

Thank Disney for that. Gotta keep Mickey Mouse safe and sound after all!

A better case could be made that the term 'space marine' is a common theme or trope than the copyright going public due to age.

wgar:

1337mokro:
I think that is not entirely true. After all Aliens did it first.

Literal Space Marines. Heck if we go by that definition there are even older space marines in Starship Troopers. Heavy Armour Clad Warriors defending the Empire of Man against filthy Xenos?

You must have had a plagiarism field day when creating the board game digging through pre-1980's sci-fi. So no. You do not get to own a part of pop culture. Sad day for you.

It's the name, not the concept that is the issue.

Starship Troopers =! Space Marine, and apparently Space Marine is used very little before GW got their hands on the trademark (don't forget, use it or lose it). What'd be the point of owning the Space Marines trademark if you didn't exercise it on media calling itself 'Space Marine'?

Colonial Marines are also not Space Marines, nor are stormtroopers, and I don't understand how you could confuse the 2 words.

wombat_of_war:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/17490/space-marines id like to leave this here. it predates warhammer 40k by a decade its a minatures wargame first released in 1977 and happens to be called space marine.

they maybe obbsessive but its still a completely dick move

Did they trademark it?

Do they even remotely have a claim on it?

I don't understand why people are hating on GW and not the law for allowing to trademark a term that only generic and bland writers would use (considering its pointing towards an American-centric and lazy writer); they trademarked it first so they get to keep the name.

TimeLord:
As the article says, trademark "Adeptus Astartes" or something but not such a generic term as "Space Marine"

Can't see it succeeding to be honest

What succeeding? Did you even read the original article on boing?

They asked Amazon to take it down, they did. The end. What is your point? The author isn't going to fight it as it would involve an enormous legal battle that would end up with either her bankrupt or GW losing the Space Marine trademark so Chinese companies could continue to make cheap knockoffs with the same names.

You have not been out much have you?

Why should we be mad about a law when GW doesn't HAVE to make this claim? They could have just said "Let's be decent people and not be IP nazi's" however instead they saw a loophole and jumped through it both feet forward. Just because a doesn't restrict you doesn't say you should do it.

There is no law against DMCAíng random youtube videos. Fuck SEGA went on a DMCA spree and took down hundreds of Lets Plays, promotional videos from WAY back and even reviews, fucking reviews of old games that are not in stores any more. There is no law to STOP them so should we just let them have a free pass?

Space Marine was a term that was created back in the 1930's and has been used in multiple works of sci-fi. GW has admitted to using Aliens and Starship troopers (note they are NOT storm troopers) as inspiration. I would say they even blatantly ripped off artwork from Starship troopers.

image

VS

image

I can see that GW is nothing but original, especially because they somehow in your mind have the exclusive right to use a bland generic term like Space Marines, but no one else does.

The fact that you learned of the term Space Marines thanks to GW doesn't make them somehow sole proprietors of a trope. Especially when you point out that Colonial Marines aren't Space Marines... but they are Marines in Space. They are literally Space Marines a year before the GW released anything.

Want to pull up the Tyranids next? Xenomorphs that absorb useful traits whilst being an engineered life form? Traveling the universe gathering biomass from the things they consume? Ring a bell?

OH YES FUCKING ALIENS! Except instead of chest bursting they just melt you down.

Please don't go accusing authors about being unoriginal when all they are doing is using a term that has existed since the 30's. It would be like calling out an author for using the word Dwarf, something that has existed for hundreds of years and was popularized by Tolkien.

However unlike Hobbit which WAS a Tolkien original nobody owns a copyright on Dwarfs despite every single person on earth having a Tolkienesque view of what a Dwarf looks like.

Unfortunately, Hogarth says she doesn't have the resources to take on Games Workshop's lawyers

British litigation in a nutshell.

It's not about justice, it's who has the most money and who is willing to spend the most money.

wgar:
or GW losing the Space Marine trademark so Chinese companies could continue to make cheap knockoffs with the same names.

uuuuuh sorry to break it to you but ALREADY the Space Marine trademark is free for anyone to use, you just have to be a big shot to threaten mutually assured destruction in the HUGELY costly litigation system where lawyer fees and court fees rank up into hundreds of millions of dollars while everything is paralysed.

You think there aren't references to space marines throughout almost all forms of media?

And who cares, how do Starcraft 2 Space Marines cost GamesWorkshop anything?!!?!? Starcraft can do that as they have big lawyers backed from Activision, not the case for a small author.

No, Warhammer 40'000 is the telling point, not "Space Marines". That's like Lucas acting like he owns the word "Empire" because the subtitles of one of his films was "The Empire Strikes Back".

Games Workshop bullied Lego and a fan creator into changing the name on a CuuSoo project proposal a few months back
http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/5127

For those not aware CuuSoo is a mechanism where a Lego fan can propose a project online. If it gets 10k votes Lego will consider making it. It's how we got the Lego Minecraft set. This project (which hit 10k and is up for review) was originally named "Space Marines". Because of GW's threats it is now called "Space Troopers".

Jennifer Atkinson:

DoomedSheridan:

hudsonzero:
good, come up with your own term for space military men

First off, Games Workshop is hardly the first ones to use the term, second off, you realize that space marine is just a generic description, right? They're marines who happen to be in space. What would you rather they be called? Cosmic Warfighters?

Actually...

Oh dear God above, no...please no...please?

You can see Activision making the next CoD that, admit it.

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here