Games Workshop registered a trademark for “Space Marines” some years ago and is now using that to force Amazon to pull a sci-fi ebook from their store because it uses the term “space marines” in the title. Normally I avoid dipping my toes in anything to do with GW’s legal adventures, but this is egregious. GW has every right to trademark/copyright “Adeptus Astartes” or any other original name they come up with. “Space Marines” pre-dates the creation of GW by decades. More intrepid investigators pin the date around 1934. I like this Amazing Stories cover myself.
GW has a reputation of forceful defense of their intellectual property, but I find this attempt to legally prevent anyone from using the very old and extremely generic term “space marines” pathetic. I suggest you take a look at the excellent post on Popehat. The Popehat site is run by a former federal prosecutor that is also a gamer. He has a long track record of pushing back and pushing back HARD against these types of hollow legal threats by organizing pro-bono lawyers to defend the “little guy.” (The “Popehat Signal”) Looks like he might have some volunteers in the comment thread already.
For my part I have never purchased any GW products. I am not a miniatures fan, so I have no real leverage with them. Other than some verbal vitriol there is very little I can do. I just hope that GW’s continued unfriendly behavior towards the gaming community someday comes back and bites them right in their Space Marines ® asses!
Trask, The Last Tyromancer