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Games Workshop (UK) is the purported owner of United States trademarks "Space Marines" in International Class 28 (No. 1922180, "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, sold therewith") and International Class 9 (No. 2100767, "video computer games; computer software for playing games"). (I'd offer links to the TESS entries, but TESS is based on session cookies.) MCA Hogarth1 wrote a piece of fiction that included Space Marines in the title, and sold it at the Big Brazilian River. GW issued a cease-and-desist letter, asserting its trademark rights.

There's just one tiny problem with GW's position: Books (and e-books) are not in International Class 28, and although e-books could call International Class 9 a home, they are not "video computer games [or] computer software for playing games," the limits of the US registrations. GW also claims a UK registration for "printed material" based upon stationery bearing the words "Space Marines", but that kind of extension within Class 16 (and Class 41) is explicitly not the law in the US. Too, this was at most an exemplary use — which is to say that it's the trademark equivalent of "fair use." And it goes that far if, and only if, Hogarth's novel uses "Space Marines" to refer to the Warhammer 40,000 variety of Space Marines.

Date: 2013-02-07 03:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeriendhal.livejournal.com
Step Two: Find a lawyer expensive enough to shove this fact in GW's face.

Date: 2013-02-07 07:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] icedrake.livejournal.com
The Popehat Signal has been sent up; I'm told it has produced good results (as in, lawyers taking on the case pro bono) in the past.

Date: 2013-02-07 08:14 pm (UTC)
kiya: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kiya
Yes, Popehat does this sort of thing routinely.

Date: 2013-02-07 05:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] graydon saunders (from livejournal.com)
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/07/games_workshop_in_spurious_space_marines_claim/

Looks like the story is getting some wider publicity.

Date: 2013-02-07 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeriendhal.livejournal.com
Even better, it's hit The Guardian.

The MSM is starting to pay attention to this. Given the narrative of "Housewife vs. Big Corporation" this can only work in Hogarth's favor.

Date: 2013-02-08 04:45 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-02-09 03:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neowolf2.livejournal.com
And it goes that far if, and only if, Hogarth's novel uses "Space Marines" to refer to the Warhammer 40,000 variety of Space Marines.

All the W40K space marines are male, right?

The Spots character is a woman.

Date: 2013-02-10 04:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erikagillian.livejournal.com
I"m late as usual, but I saw an entertainment show on tv talking about a game, not as far as I can tell at all associated with GW, called Aliens: Space Marines. The group of marines sent to rescue the Marines in Alien.

Date: 2013-02-10 09:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] keithmm.livejournal.com
It's "Aliens: Colonial Marines". "Colonial marines" has been the term that's been used for the space marines in the Alien franchise since they first showed up on the space marine transport with all their space marine equipment to go into battle as space marines versus the xenomorphs. Like space marines have been battling aliens since space marines first showed up in the 1930s, only predating Warhammer 40K by a mere half-century.

Date: 2013-02-10 08:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erikagillian.livejournal.com
I know that. And the show called the game Aliens: Space Marines and the guy from the game company called it Aliens: Space Marines. So I await the announcement from GW.

Date: 2013-02-13 04:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neowolf2.livejournal.com
GW has removed the entry from their Facebook page.

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