It's a hard enough life making a living as a writer and artist -- now imagine that your characters and your writing has suddenly been declared to be in violation of trademark laws by a company that created a product AFTER you wrote your book. Now, imagine that this company swaggered up to Amazon and demanded that your little book be taken off their sales list because you were violating THEIR rights and hurting THEIR multimillion dollar sales.
...because THEY just decided that the concept "Space Marines" was owned by them.
...and everyone who reads science fiction is probably saying, "What?? WHAT????" by now. But it's true, and it's happened to my friend, Maggie Hogarth: http://mcahogarth.org/...
Games Workshop, in their infinite love for all creators, came back with fairly weak response that "it's trademarked under EUROPEAN law" http://mcahogarth.org/... (the term is neither copyrightable nor trademarkable under American laws http://www.uspto.gov/... )
Now, while I'm reasonably sure that they can't actually retroactively claim "space marine" (used by Heinlein, Pournelle, and a host of others), what they CAN do to show that they're "actively protecting their trademark" is to go after little writers who don't have the protection of large corporate lawyers and publishers. Maggie's talked to lawyers (it'd take over $2,000 to pursue this, and as she says -- that takes time away from her income producing activities (writing and art) to devote her life to trying to get justice with no real confidence that anyone would hear the case or rule in her favor:
I think that's ridiculous. I think it's outrageous.
I'd like to help her and send a strong message to Games Workshop.
However, I'm not all wise and all knowing. I would appreciate suggestions on how she might be helped.