Games Workshop (Falsely) Accuses me of Trademark Infringement

So Games Workshop has shown up and gotten my book pulled from Amazon based on a (false) trademark infringement accusation. You can read more about the details here: http://mcahogarth.org/?p=5075


Feel free to share (or recommend some lawyers to me). :,


Oh wow. That sucks on so many levels.


It's a sad fact of reality that copyright law makes it easier (and even more sensible for the big guys) to accuse people of infringement with the slightest, flimsiest excuse than it is to defend against it.


I worry about this for myself (as any superhero fiction writer should) because the superhero giants, marvel and DC, are quite litigious. As I understand it, they even have the word superhero trademarked between them.


I'm afraid I don't know anyone who I could point your way. I wish you luck.


Well it's not Copyright law, it's Trademark law, which is a different beast. It's still ridiculous though. As MCA notes, their trademark does not cover fiction.


Mistype. I meant to say trademark.


I remember this whole debacle over this guy, Tim Langdell, who trademarked the word Edge. He's the reason the Soul Edge video game series wound up being called Soul Caliber; he was just persistent and tenacious enough that it was cheaper to rename the series than to take him to court.


The system's a mess.


Yeah, there's no reason for a competent lawyer to threaten trademark over an area they didn't actually register other than to be a dick.


Well, as I understand it, not to excuse what happened to M.C.A. Hogarth, but a company that doesn't defend their trademark loses it. So it's safer in some ways for a company like Games Workshop to claim trademark over anything tied to its I.P. and be wrong (especially when most won't/can't fight back) than to risk letting one slip through.


I hope it's just Amazon that the company was going after. I would be concerned that additional legal action might follow (with inquiries into any merchandise sales), in which case it would be good to consider counsel with experience in intellectual property law.


I don't think fandom_lawyers on livejournal is very active, but worth posting there.


That's true, Wildbow, but you only go after your trademark in the areas you've registered it under. Those are the only areas you're legally entitled to enforce it.


Totally. But for them, it's probably most cost effective to just google/amazon search every incident of Space Marine (and other Games Workshop trademarks) en masse and then file a complaint every time one comes up; it's no skin off their nose if they're wrong, in the grand scheme of things, and it serves them if they're right.


It's sort of the same thing at play that you see with music and movie companies being so fervent and zealous in their pursuit of potential infringement (copyright in this case) that they even remove their own official movie trailers and music videos.


So I'd guess it was blind firing, with the little guy (M.C.A. Hogarth) suffering as a consequence.


Like I said, it sucks.


Goodluck, M.C.A.! I wish I could help.


Camille


Games Workshop are on Twitter and Facebook.


I am more than willing to join you in a campaign to point out the errors of their ways and their bully-boy tactics using these two mediums and email. I am sure other writers/readers will support this.


Up for it?


I recommend waiting for word from MCA first. She's trying to resolve it reasonably at the moment. if that doesn't work I'm going to start beating the war drum.


Ubersoft is right:


It is entirely possible that Games Workshop is using an automated system to keep a handle on "fanfic" related to their game. Let's wait and see if they don't withdraw their objection once it's clear to them that her book doesn't take place in the game's universe or anything like that.


But yes, we are ready to do whatever is necessary to support her... when she wants that support.


Camille


@ubersoft @DaringNovelist - Of course. I wasn't suggesting MCA went immediately for the jugular even if it did come across that way.


Thats... BS, and that seems to be an unenforceable Trademark as well, due to previous use and being, well, rather generic.


Also, John Wick (White Wolf, Legend of the Five Rings, 7 Seas, many other sundry RPG games) says they sent him a cease and desist for using the word ork....


also also... I may have gotten Cory Doctorow retweeting your page around and discussing trademarks using you as an example.