Today I got an email from Amazon telling me they have stopped selling Spots the Space Marine because Games Workshop has accused me of infringement on their trademark of the word ‘space marine’.
If you go to the Trademarks Database and look up the word “space marine” you’ll find the Games Workshop owns a trademark on the term “space marine,” but it only covers the follow goods and services: IC 028. US 022. G & S: 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.
Fiction isn’t included in that list, which means Games Workshop has no grounds on which to accuse me of trademark infringement.
I didn’t get my use of that term from Games Workshop. I got it from Robert Heinlein. Apparently the first use of the term was in 1932. E.E. Smith used it, among others. Also there are other novels on Amazon being sold that have “space marine” in the title. I don’t know why Games Workshop decided to complain about Spots in particular, but my guess is because the Kickstarter made it a little higher-profile than the average indie offering.
I’ve sent a polite email to Amazon pointing out the trademark filing and the fact that fiction isn’t covered by it, in the hopes that Amazon and I can work out their issue with the book. If you’re waiting to buy it, hopefully all this will be cleared up soon.
Edit: Thanks for the comments, folks. I’m going to close them for now while I have a discussion with the people involved.
Mirrored from MCAH Online.</div>
If you know any IP lawyers who might be interested in helping with this, please aim them in haikujaguar's direction.