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Customer Discussions > Science Fiction forum

Space Marines Go to Court?

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Showing 1-13 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 9, 2013 9:53:33 AM PST
This thread:

No, I don't intend to post a gazillion threads about it, but I thought 'Space Marines Go to Court?' better hints at what's going on than 'Term the name "Space Marine".' However, I never would have known about it if not for Fullme7al's thread, so I'd like to thank him (or her, can't tell from the name) for making it.

Posted on Feb 9, 2013 1:35:44 PM PST
Fullme7al says:
Why you be steppin on my toes and stuff. Trying to take all my credit. Just playing.

Here's an update from i09

Since December, you haven't been able to buy M.C.A. Hogarth's book Spots the Space Marine: Defense of the Fiddler on Amazon, because Games Workshop claimed it owned the trademark on the phrase "space marine" due to its popular Warhammer 40K games. As far as we know, Games Workshop's lawyers haven't stopped making absurd claims about having a "common law trademark" to a phrase that goes back to the 1930s. But Hogarth's book has quietly reappeared on Amazon. Which means either someone at Amazon has seen sense, or Games Workshop decided to try and back down quietly. We wrote to Hogarth and haven't heard back, but this does appear to be good news.

Update: Games Workshop is still sticking to their "trademark" thing. They posted the following to their Facebook page:

Games Workshop owns and protects many valuable trademarks in a number of territories and classes across the world. For example, 'Warhammer' and 'Space Marine' are registered trademarks in a number of classes and territories. In some other territories and classes they are unregistered trademarks protected by commercial use. Whenever we are informed of, or otherwise discover, a commercially available product whose title is or uses a Games Workshop trademark without our consent, we have no choice but to take reasonable action. We would be failing in our duty to our shareholders if we did not protect our property.

To be clear, Games Workshop has never claimed to own words or phrases such as 'warhammer' or 'space marine' as regards their general use in everyday life, for example within a body of prose. By illustration, although Games Workshop clearly owns many registered trademarks for the Warhammer brand, we do not claim to own the word 'warhammer' in common use as a hand weapon.

Trademarks as opposed to use of a word in prose or everyday language are two very different things. Games Workshop is always vigilant in protecting the former, but never makes any claim to owning the latter.

Update #2: Apparently it was the Electronic Frontier Foundation that got the book reinstated on Amazon. According to a post on the EFF's site:

We were able to intervene and, to Amazon's credit, the company reviewed the claim and restored the book. Let's hope Games Workshop will now have the good sense to realize the bullying has to stop.

We're pleased that Amazon did the right thing here, and that we were able to help. And we're also pleased that so many internet users got involved to support Ms. Hogarth. Together, we sent a signal: Trademark bullies will not be tolerated online.

But the work is not yet done: this is just one instance of a much bigger "weakest link" problem that imperils online speech and commerce. Offline, most legal users can ignore improper trademark threats, because the bullies will probably have the good sense not to test the matter in court and have little recourse through third parties. In the Internet context, however, individuals and organizations rely on service providers to help them communicate with the world and sell their products and services (YouTube, Facebook, eBay,, etc.). A trademark complaint directed to one of those third-party providers can mean a fast and easy takedown - as it did here.

Posted on Feb 9, 2013 9:07:59 PM PST
So it's good news/bad news, but mostly good news.

I hope Ms. Hogarth sells an extra hundred thousand copies of _Spot the Space Marine_ and that Steven Spielberg asks her if he can make a movie out of it.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 9, 2013 10:07:00 PM PST
Tom Rogers says:
Well it is way pricey for an indie ebook.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 10, 2013 12:18:03 AM PST
Fullme7al says:
I know man. I looked at it and my jaw dropped.

Posted on Feb 12, 2013 4:49:01 PM PST
R. Wilde says:
I know that it was mostly an urban legend... but this reminds me of TSR trying to trademark the term "Nazi". :)

Posted on Feb 25, 2013 8:55:17 PM PST
I think Thor needs to drop his "WarHammer" on these people!

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 9:09:31 PM PST
Open up a can of Mjölnir on them!

Posted on Mar 1, 2013 9:55:52 PM PST
Jed Fisher says:
Well, I would like to take this opportunity to annouce my claim to trademark of the letter "e" and this includes "E" and not only in English but in all languages worldwide.
Nobody else can use the letter E or e without my express written permission, because I said so.

Posted on Mar 1, 2013 10:16:44 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 2, 2013 7:54:09 AM PST
Wll that sucks! How th hll ar w supposd to communicat without th lttr ?

dward lroy Winchstr

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 2, 2013 2:08:00 AM PST
Ronald Craig says:
Smart word choosing. ;)

Posted on Mar 2, 2013 7:52:36 AM PST
I should have added a signature. I'll do that now.

Posted on Mar 2, 2013 9:51:07 PM PST
Jed Fisher says:
Marine. Of, from, or for the sea. Okay.
Warriors from the sea, Marines.
Space, or the Cosmos.
Cosmic. Of, from or for the Cosmos?
Warriors from the Cosmos... shall we call them Cosmoses?
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Discussion in:  Science Fiction forum
Participants:  7
Total posts:  13
Initial post:  Feb 9, 2013
Latest post:  Mar 2, 2013

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