Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Games Workshop Claims It Owns the Term "Space Marines"
Space Patrol by ~WillMcLean on deviantART
Games Workshop has apparently taken the position that their trademark of "Space Marines" allows them to prevent authors from writing about space marines without their permission, or at least authors unable to afford expensive litigation like M.C.A. Hogarth.
This is a trademark claim, not copyright, so extensive prior use doesn't prevent the claim. What makes it bogus is the long and frequent use in science fiction of space marines as generic description. It's like trying to trademark the use of "chocolate cake". Also, no reasonable person would confuse Hogarth's space marines with GW's hulking brutes in cartoonishly oversized shoulderpads.
If you're a GW customer you may want to tell them, politely but firmly, that this kind of behavior is damaging their brand.
Shame on you, Games Workshop. Shame.