Droid, Space Marine and other Trademark Sci-Fi Words

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Trademarking words and phrases is not uncommon but at what point does it become a violation of common sense? 

With the recent battle brewing over the term Space Marine being trademarked by Games Workshop the makers of the Warhammer 40k series where Space Marines are a crucial representation of the genre one wonders where trademarking words and Sci-Fi phrases will end?  Maggie Hogarth an author who had the book Spots the Space Marine published on Amazon.com learned it was removed after Games Workshop filed a complaint with Amazon.

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I admit, this is what I think of when I hear the word Space Marine

The term Space Marine has been used for over 70 years, long before Games Workshop actually trademarked the word in 1995. 

This is not unlike the term First Contact which was trademarked and suit brought against Paramount for Star Trek: First Contact which was settled, or how Lucasfilm now Disney owns the trademark for Droid a simply common shortening of android.  To which Verizon licenses the trademark.

I didn’t realize that Marvel now Disney also owns the right to Super Hero though no major trademark lawsuit I could find came to mind to see if they tried to challenge the usage of that phrase.

It is one thing to trademark phrases and the manner in which they are spoken "Let’s get ready to ruuuumbble" for example which Michael Buffer trademarked.  But common trademarks for individual words or putting two well used words together just seems like a recipe for stifling creativity to me.

Monster cable networks trademarks the word Monster, and they have brought lawsuits against Monsters, Inc. from Disney and others to challenge, winning some and conceding others.  Seriously, the word Monster is trademarked so you can’t use it without risk of being under a lawsuit in the title of your company.

What do you think about these suits against trademark words and names?  When is it valid and should be applicable vs. should not be useable?  Should you be able to trademark a term, phrase or word that has already existed and been printed for decades before you tried to trademark it?

Some of the info for this article was collected from io9.com

Image Credit: Far

Updated: February 8, 2013 — 12:39 pm