PDA

View Full Version : Games Workshops Copyright Naming Question



The Inevitable One
13-01-2011, 22:19
Just out of curiosity, do they own all of the names they use in the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 franchises? Just wondering if they actually owned words like Orks/Orcs, Tau, Dwarves, High Elves, etc.

Thanks

blongbling
13-01-2011, 22:49
http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/content/article.jsp?categoryId=&pIndex=4&aId=3900002&multiPageMode=true&start=5

orlanth1000
14-01-2011, 00:33
"associated races in the warhammer world"?

Too broad to back up in copyright protection, good move to bully lesser groups.

I wonder how hard they are looking at Mantic at the moment.
I assume Mantic have excellent legal advice, could you please elaborate Stu?

The Inevitable One
14-01-2011, 04:11
I read the copyrights to Games Workshop and I still did not understand it. Orks, Dwarves, Elves, Chaos, etc. are used in just about every other fantasy book, movie, game, etc. I still don't see how Games Workshop can claim some of the names are theirs dispite people like Tolkien using the names way in advance.

The Pestilent Blight
14-01-2011, 04:31
Apparently they have trademarked words like, citadel, dark future, epic, fanatic, inferno, inquisitor, maurader, orc, talisman, warhammer. Which are all pretty common well used words.

So here's what you cant do with them:

- Use our trademarks in respect of your domain name.

- Use our intellectual property in relation to any third party products or third party intellectual property.

- Alter our trademarks in any way.

- Use any of our IP without appropriately crediting the IP and using the appropriate disclaimers in accordance with this policy (see below).

blah blah blah and so on

But it seems they have a pretty grounded view of how it infringes on their trademark. Calling your website, The Orc Hideout, won't bother them as much as calling it, Gorkamorkas Hideout.

Llew
14-01-2011, 05:52
They don't appear to have "orc", but rather "ork". The spelling can be unique enough to qualify as something uniquely GW.

The use of "orc" predates GW and even Tolkien by, oh, say, a few days at least. (It has a long history.) They'd have trouble locking that one down. Similarly, "dwarves" IIRC is unique to Tolkien, or at least my spell checker would have me believe it to be.

There are things they can trademark and things they can't. And the specifics of the language in the trademarks matter a great deal.

blongbling
14-01-2011, 09:14
"associated races in the warhammer world"?

Too broad to back up in copyright protection, good move to bully lesser groups.

I wonder how hard they are looking at Mantic at the moment.
I assume Mantic have excellent legal advice, could you please elaborate Stu?

There are some things that you can call your races and some things you can....high elves for instance would be fine, as it is in common usage across several different companies....however going for Skaven would get you a nasty letter in the post, however Ratmen would be fine.......

And yes, Mantic is careful not to tread on the toes of what is copyrighted....not too much anyway

uona
14-01-2011, 09:20
wow I never knew "epic" was trademarked. Privateer Press has a whole line of models with "epic" as thier tagline. Epic sorcha, Epic Kreoss, Epic Eiryss, Epic Caine, etc. Potential lawsuit from GW?

IJW
14-01-2011, 09:37
Trademarked, not copyrighted. :angel:

Gazak Blacktoof
14-01-2011, 10:27
Trade marking doesn't work quite that way uona. The word epic wont be trade marked for all situations, however the EPIC logo associated with GW's specialist game will be covered. Trade mark protection is supposed to stop confusion and trading on another company's reputation and history, so you probably couldn't get away with calling your company "Epic Miniatures" either, even if you don't use the epic logo GW uses.

The use of the word epic in the naming of PP's miniatures is descriptive and because of its attachment to an existing TM means it wont be confused with GW's TM EPIC. As with most things legal I'm sure the line can get a bit fuzzy with which things are fair, reasonable, etc.

Copyright covers a body of work, not a word or phrase.

Grimstonefire
14-01-2011, 10:45
Afaik they own only the registered trademarks, though they would have grounds for trying to defend the unregistered ones as well, which are pretty much the name of every product they actually sell.

lanrak
14-01-2011, 11:32
Hi all.
Are trademarks , specific to a particular product type or usage?

Eg Using 'Skaven' to decribe '28mm rat men' minatures, is trade mark owned by GW.

Would a 'Bucket Seat' for a rally car , called 'Skaven 7' infinge GW trade marks?

Just thougth it might be usefull to know...;)

TTFN

Gazak Blacktoof
14-01-2011, 12:08
Lanrak, the test seems to be one of whether somebody would likely confuse the products as being associated with the same company. If the skaven 7 had a rat-man on it then maybe. Follow the linky and judge for yourself.


http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm/t-other/t-infringe.htm

blongbling
14-01-2011, 12:14
Trade marking doesn't work quite that way blongbling.

wasn't me :) I know how they work :)

Gazak Blacktoof
14-01-2011, 13:12
Heh, sorry, I'll edit that.

AndrewGPaul
15-01-2011, 22:59
Hi all.
Are trademarks , specific to a particular product type or usage?

Yes. The UK trademark registry (available online somewhere) lists the categories in which a trademark has been granted.


Eg Using 'Skaven' to decribe '28mm rat men' minatures, is trade mark owned by GW.

Would a 'Bucket Seat' for a rally car , called 'Skaven 7' infinge GW trade marks?

Just thougth it might be usefull to know...;)

TTFN

Yes, that would almost certainly be OK.

susu.exp
15-01-2011, 23:50
Checking with the Community trademark list (http://oami.europa.eu/), which has all the registered trademarks in Europe (basically the EU members agreed to recognize each others trademark lists as their own - so a EU company only has to register once and can be sure to be protected in the whole EU), GWs trademarks are listed as Nice 2, 9, 16, 25, 26, 28, 35,41 and 42 (varying). Thatīs
2) Paints, varnishes, etc.
9) Various electronics, includes measuring tapes and computer programs.
16) Printed materials.
25) Clothing.
26) Lace and embroidery, ribbons and braid; buttons, hooks and eyes, pins and needles; artificial flowers.
28) Games and playthings; decorations for Christmas trees. (Iīve always loved this particular classification)
35) Advertising.
41) Educational services and movies.
42) Scientific and technological research services.

Mostly itīs 9,16 and 28, but a few trademarks have other categories as well.

As noted, GW doesnīt hold copyright to words, which only protects artistic works and in text this has usually been interpreted to require at the very least a sentence or a short poem (Haikus count).
Trademarks require product sold under the name to work as unregisted TMs (as well as being specific and non-generic), to register you either need to fulfil that requirement or apply for an "intend to use" registration, showing that you do indded intend to use the term as a trademark.