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Fri Feb 8, 2013, 11:34 AM

Row Blows Up Over Ownership of "Space Marine" Term

Source: BBC

UK toymaker Games Workshop has been criticised for asserting a trademark claim to the phrase 'space marines'.

The claim emerged when it was used to get an American ebook about the futuristic soldiers taken off Amazon.

Science fiction writers have called the firm "absurd" for saying it has a trademark to the use of the term in fiction.

A UK media lawyer said more and more firms were using trademark law to protect their creations.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21380003



Added due to my beliefs that trademark and/or copyright law is an important thing.

Really, I don't believe that Games Workshop has any real case, personally, as the term and concept of space marines have been around longer than any of the employees at GW have even been born. Some of their parents, too, I'd even be willing to wager.

22 replies, 2740 views

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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply Row Blows Up Over Ownership of "Space Marine" Term (Original post)
Hayabusa Feb 2013 OP
muriel_volestrangler Feb 2013 #1
bluedigger Feb 2013 #2
Hayabusa Feb 2013 #3
DainBramaged Feb 2013 #4
starroute Feb 2013 #9
Posteritatis Feb 2013 #21
Spitfire of ATJ Feb 2013 #5
Hayabusa Feb 2013 #10
Spitfire of ATJ Feb 2013 #14
Orrex Feb 2013 #6
onehandle Feb 2013 #7
Spitfire of ATJ Feb 2013 #15
Posteritatis Feb 2013 #20
Xithras Feb 2013 #8
Great Cthulhu Feb 2013 #13
FreeBC Feb 2013 #11
Hayabusa Feb 2013 #12
apocalypsehow Feb 2013 #16
Godot51 Feb 2013 #17
muriel_volestrangler Feb 2013 #18
Hayabusa Feb 2013 #22
sofa king Feb 2013 #19

Response to Hayabusa (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 11:40 AM

1. It dates from the 1930s

according to the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_marine

which notes that Amazon has restored the 'Spots the Space Marine' page: http://www.amazon.com/Spots-Space-Marine-Defense-ebook/dp/B006MGJYOE

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Response to Hayabusa (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 11:45 AM

2. Games Workshop doesn't have a leg to stand on.

They should throw this out of court.

The earliest known use of the term "space marine" was by Bob Olsen in his short story "Captain Brink of the Space Marines" (Amazing Stories, Volume 7, Number 8, November 1932), a light-hearted work whose title is a play on the song "Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines", and in which the protagonists were marines of the "Earth Republic Space Navy" on mission to rescue celebrity twins from aliens on Titan. Olsen published a novella sequel four years later, "The Space Marines and the Slavers" (Amazing Stories, Volume 10, Number 13, December 1936), featuring the same characters using a spaceship with active camouflage to free hostages from Martian space pirates on Ganymede.
A more widely known early example was E. E. Smith's Lensman series. While the first story, Triplanetary and most later sequels (Second Stage Lensmen, Children of the Lens and The Vortex Blaster) do not mention them, passing mentions of marines are made in Galactic Patrol (Astounding Stories, September 1937–February 1938) and Gray Lensman (Astounding Stories, October 1939–January 1940), and a more direct mention is made in First Lensman (1950): "Dronvire of Rigel Four in the lead, closely followed by Costigan, Northrop, Kinnison the Younger, and a platoon of armed and armored Space Marines!".
The phrase "space marines" appears in Robert A. Heinlein's "Misfit" (1939) and is again used in "The Long Watch" (1941) which is referenced in his later novel Space Cadet (1948), in all cases before Smith had used the phrase. Heinlein's Starship Troopers (1959) is considered the defining work for the concept, although it does not use the term "space Marine." The actors playing the Colonial Marines in Aliens (1986) were required to read Starship Troopers as part of their training prior to filming. Heinlein intended for the capsule troopers of the Mobile Infantry to be an amalgam of the shipborne aspect of the US Marine Corps relocated to space and coupled with the battlefield delivery and mission profile of US Army paratroopers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_marines

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Response to bluedigger (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 11:50 AM

3. Not to mention that their Tyranids

are pretty much cut and paste from the Bugs in Starship Troopers.

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Response to Hayabusa (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 12:02 PM

4. Good catch




I shall crush them like the bugs they are

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Response to bluedigger (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 01:19 PM

9. That entry is kind of a mess

Somebody ought to go to Wikipedia and clean it up.

Heinlein's "The Long Watch" was originally published in 1949 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_Watch) -- a year after Space Cadet.

And Triplanetary is not really the first of E.E. Smith's Galactic Patrol stories -- it's an originally unrelated short novel that got heavily edited to add it to the series in the late 1940s. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triplanetary_%28novel%29)

But once you remove the mangled chronology, it shows clearly that both the concept and the term go back to the 1930s and were coming into general use in SF by the late 40s.

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Response to starroute (Reply #9)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 12:18 PM

21. Since this hit the news I imagine half the internet's been editing the article

Particularly silly/annoying things that make international headlines tend to turn relevant Wikipedia pages into a shambles for awhile.

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Response to Hayabusa (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 12:23 PM

5. Combining military with space is why we think "invasion" from aliens....

That's because it's what we would do to them.

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #5)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 02:08 PM

10. Well, invade and kill the Xenos is what

those Space Marines are modified and trained to do, although I'm pretty sure any Earth space navy would do the exact same things, see the Indian Wars.

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Response to Hayabusa (Reply #10)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 04:01 PM

14. I have a funny feeling it's gonna be a real let down for the gun nuts....

If they want the earth they can just steer a big rock our way.

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Response to Hayabusa (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 12:25 PM

6. I guess this would be a bad time for me to publish my book "Necromunda Wonda."

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Response to Hayabusa (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 12:26 PM

7. I hear by claim the word 'Marine.'

Pay up, Games Workshop, decades of writers of all kinds, and militaries around the world.

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Response to onehandle (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 04:08 PM

15. Don't say that! Too many people think only the US has a Marine force....

But then, those types don't know the macho Marines are part of the Navy which they consider to be gay.

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Response to onehandle (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:44 AM

20. Too late, I got to the letter E first. (nt)

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Response to Hayabusa (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 12:38 PM

8. They might want to have a word with John Carmack about that...

Games Workshop claims to have trademark on it as they've used the term since 1995.

Doom was released in late 1993. In that game (the first in what became one of the most popular video game franchises in history), you played as Buddy Dacote (yes, the dude had a name), a Space Marine in the United Nations Space Marine Corps.

Plenty of other prior art is cited here, but even if you limit "prior art" to the electronic world, which appears to be what Games Workshop is doing, they still can't win. Id Software's creation predates their use of the term by more than a full year.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #8)


Response to Hayabusa (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 02:22 PM

11. The problem is that they would win, despite their lack of a case.

 

This author may be able to defend herself now thanks to the publicity she's gotten on the internet, but most people are usually powerless to defend themselves against something like, regardless of the merits of the claim, because it just costs too much money.

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Response to FreeBC (Reply #11)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 02:33 PM

12. Sadly Yes

Copyright and Trademark law at its finest: he with the most money wins.

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Response to FreeBC (Reply #11)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 04:10 PM

16. Good point. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what "fixes" to the current legal mess could

be implemented that would alleviate this problem.

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Response to Hayabusa (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 04:47 AM

17. Old joke

A sailor was talking to a Marine stationed on a Navel vessel.
The sailor asked, "Why is it you Marines are on our Navy ships all the time?"
The Marine answered, "Well, I guess it's like the Army having those K-9 dogs; we're here to protect you sailors."
The sailor responded: "Damn! Army always gets first choice."

So I proclaim my idea for a new SF novel: K-9s in Space!

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Response to Godot51 (Reply #17)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 06:49 AM

18. Now that *would* be a copyright and trade mark problem

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Response to Godot51 (Reply #17)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 07:17 PM

22. Starship Troopers did that, too

Of course, the dogs were genetically and cybernetically enhanced and drove the handler insane if they were KIA, IIRC.

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Response to Hayabusa (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 10:38 AM

19. That's not going to make Marineking.Prime happy.



Or for that matter, Doomguy. Do you really want to have Doomguy, UNSMC, mad at you?

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