This news is a couple days old now, and Bigred over on the Bols Lounge has been keeping the best tabs on this. We have been loosely following this for some time now, so this is just more of an update, since lawsuits like this take an extremely long time to hash out.


I am not going to go through any of the details or give my opinions here. Lets keep it civil.

via Bigred on Bols Lounge
Hundreds of pages dropped into the public record this week from the ongoing case.

Both sides submitted 25 page motions for summary judgement to the Illinois District court with their strongest arguments. The discovery process is over, and high ranking Games Workshop and Chapterhouse staff, as well as expert witnesses testimony is now on the public record.

Here's a brief guided tour:
Partial Index of Recent Exhibits

Games Workshop Motion for Summary Judgement
Chapterhouse Motion for Summary Judgement

Expert Witnesses Testimony
- British Copyright Law Experts (supporting GW) Exhibit 8
- British Copyright Law Expert (Supporting CHS) Exhibit 9
- Military Symbology Expert (supporting CHS) Exhibit 12-13

Staff Testimony
Andrew Jones - GW Head of Legal, Licensing Exhibit 15
Alan Merrett - GW Head of IP Exhibit 17-19
Gillian Stevenson - GW Chief Counsel Exhibit 22-23
John Blanche - GW Art Director Exhibit 27

Master Case Archives
There are hundreds of pages of unlabeled supporting documents from both sides from document 204.0 on downward.

The case is ongong.


63 Comments:

  1. Replies
    1. And only a 2 min difference :)

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    2. Woot? And you Captain about DA Trolls??? :D

      My 2 Cents on this. Chapterhouse does nothing but GW nockoffs. They had i comeing! GW allready was forced to Delay WolfCalv. & trevgon. According to Rumors nid Pod and Doom are finished for a while. Its GW right to sue to protect their Profits and ideas. They prob wont be able to forbid chapterhouse in America but maybe their EU Sales. For use this means New Units only in Dex if Models apear right away and everything els via WD. Other than that i doent See why we should care. All this is is Free Promo for chapterhouse! :/

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    3. Ouch, I tried to read this and now my brain hurts.

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    4. I found reading your post hurt quite a lot too. I'm not sure if it's because you are so obviously dumb, or just because you type like a semi brain dead 5 year old.

      Most of the IP that GWS protects isn't even theirs, they stole it from various other sources and now seem to think they own it. There are plenty of cases in which a mythical beast that has been in literature for hundreds if not thousands of years (including illustrations) being claimed as copyrighted by GWS as they have a single model based on it, followed by them suing/shutting down other producers.

      Very very unhealthy for the industry. Unfortunately the courts are incredibly corrupt in these kind of cases. We have seen across the world smaller producers have all their rights and production stopped because some bigger player with more clout decides to claim copyright/IP.

      Hopefully Chapter House kicks GWS's arse and then gets damages/court costs.

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    5. Let's see if we apply this same kind of "it's clearly designed to used with GW's stuff" or "they're reselling GW's stuff" mentality to over industries.

      So this would mean that GM (Ford, HD, Toyota, etc)has the right to sue into the ground every aftermarket parts manufacturer. In addition, all re-manufactured parts are illegal.

      Or that you would need to get your new door/roof/etc from your home's builder's, rather than the local Home Depot or Lowes.

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  2. Whilst I do enjoy a good jaydee comment I must admit that this entire "first" thing is now incredibly old and irritating. No offence mate but this article is serious and has big implications for our hobby and I was hoping to read some sensible grown up comments on it. I'll check back later and see If the adults have woken up.

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    1. Im not really going for first as much. But when the oppurtunity arrives....that being said I think this wholr issue could easily have been avoided by GW. They are reaping what they sow. If they are not willing to take initiative and be in 100% control of their product line that is on them.

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    2. I agree with JayDee, waiting for The Tyranid releases was just and still is pathetic.
      At least they seem to be getting their act together now. GW should just drop it and learn from thier mistakes and start being a better company.

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    3. GW created this situation for themselves with the tyranid units that to this day have not been released. The shoulder pads are a little more nebulous but as a consumer & slave to GW "goblin-standard" pricing, It's hard to view them as victims. A little competition in my favorite hobby is a good thing.

      JDee quit it man, I don't remember seeing all these firster' posts a few months ago. Thanks for your contribution to this site. >; |

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    4. -.- sorry

      Im not trying to be first in every post but apparently to some I am the standard(?) For firsting. Not my intention now honestly...

      But if the post is blank......i mite just have to do something about it....

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    5. If being 1st in something, anything, is so important to the guy...let him have his feeling of victory. What harm does it have? Even if he is the only one running the race and no-one else really cares. Lol. Still, it is kinda juvenile. Woot! To you JayDee

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  3. Hmm I must have missed this the first time around but what happened precisely?

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    1. If I remember correctly it is a copyright thing over should pads. Gw is suing over possible infringement. If this is the one I'm thinking of Che makes bits ( specifically big shoulder pads).

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    2. There were unreleased Tyranid models as well as thunder wolves that GW had not yet released models for. Chapter house released the models and labeled them using their actual 40k names instead of space warrior cyber wolf or some such.

      GW said change the names and Chapter house said screw you and thus the lawsuit. Basically it comes down to whether or not the models are copywrited by GW or Chapter house since GW never showed pictures of completed models.

      This supposedly is one of the reasons GW has been releasing the full range of models for a codex so quickly now.

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    3. Seems like that's a good thing, is it not?

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    4. One of the things that GW has been trying to argue, as far as I understand, in this case is that they own a specific style or aesthetic, and creating something similar, or based on their previous work is not permissible. Their examples are the 'Eldar'-ish models that Chapter House has produced (like a female farseer and female scorpion exarch. Though they didn't call them that literally.)

      From my understanding of the law, it's bunk and Chapter house can produce what ever they want as after market parts assuming they don't use GW copyrighted iconography, And by that I mean using GW's own parts in the sculpting of their models.
      The Skull, the Eagle and even the double-headed aqualia and the Chaos Star are NOT unique to Games Workshop and have existed in history and literature before GW's use of them. even the name Space Marine I suspect isn't as unique as GW would like to have us believe.

      In the end, it's a very important lawsuit and I'm glad it is being done in the courts, even if it may be for the wrong reasons. Groups such as Privateer Press and Manic Games, and other game companies will undoutably be following this closely, as it will set president for them as well.

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    5. It is a good thing because now we will see or models on codex release and we dont have to wait for years to play the game

      Its bad because gw can afford to Bring us alot of units in the same wave which will result in a decrease in the number of units per codex

      But they can now if they want release waves with the help of digital codices, they just update the codex when they have models which is good but no more competition from 3rd parties could make gw totally blind to consumer threashold and highten the prices even more insanely untill they have no fanbase what so ever.

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    6. Yeah, and you remember that the name 'power armour' is ripped off from Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Even the concept of drop pods come from that book.

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    7. One of the big things that CHS did that caused the problem, was naming models and what not the GW names. So had they for instance said that the Thunderwolf cav model was Space warrior on Giant wolf, there would have been no problem, as can be seen from the numerous other companies that make their own version of it. But no CHS went ahead and named it Thunderwolf Cav. Same with the Tyranid and Eldar stuff. To me that is the heart of the matter and if a company like CHS is not smart enough to use alternate names for their models then they should get hit.

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    8. GW GAVE Chapterhouse an opportunity, just change the names, they refused, and Chapterhouse doesn't have a right to release unreleased GW IP and call it their own, Chapterhouse is going to lose, and lose hard on this one

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    9. I also think Gw will win, lawsuits (especially americans) are a huge mess to get into finansially, a big company like gw have good lawyers and those lawyers wouldnt have pulled the trigger for anything less than an expected win. I worked with a huge company some years ago helping thier legal departement in a patent dispute. It was bloody and the fine for the other company was unbelievable

      These are just toys though, so the impact will be less, but GW will still keelhaul them.

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  4. I don't see how Chapter House is any different from the companies making after market parts for cars.

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    1. On this, I agree with you. And in reality, I expect that the final result will be that GW still owns the rights to their IP, and that Chapter House can make models that are similar to GW product, but without the use of copyrighted GW iconography.

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    2. If the after market car parts started showing up with Ford, GM, Corvette, etc logos and branding, they they would get sued as well, but as they are just a generic or self branded part, no they don't. Had CHS used other names then the specific GW names for the items, then they most likely would not have had GW sue them. Look at all the other companies that make models that are clearly space marines and other GW like models, but they don't use any GW names, they are not being sued...connection...I think so.

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  5. Had to put down Path of the Outcast to read this. First thing I notice is sealed parts of the record. Uhh, really? Anyone have any idea why, discussion of unreleased product?

    -Fred

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  6. This Also would have never happened if GW still had a bits service. I'd actually be shopping through them!

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  7. I just hope that someone points out how much of GW's stuff was borrowed from others. And much of this hobby is taken from many different sources.

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    1. They did. The "military symbology" expert up there basically said all of 40k's defining aesthetic choices are derived from human history. Romans had bug pauldrons, etc.

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    2. There's a difference between being inspired by an ancient civilization and blatantly ripping off a present day comapany's IP. If you don't see the difference you're probably a lawyer.

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  8. well, i suggest GW apologists take a look at laserburn with its tactical dreadnought armor, bolt guns and all that.

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    1. From Wiki:
      "Laserburn is a set of wargaming rules written by Bryan Ansell in 1980"

      And who is Bryan Ansell....

      "Bryan Ansell is a British role-playing and war game designer. He founded Asgard Miniatures before creating Citadel Miniatures in the late 1970s. Around 1982 - 83, he became Managing Director of Games Workshop, and bought Games Workshop from Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone."

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    2. We used to play Laserburn at school, a great game. Even had an Imperium and a Chaos style Red Redemption faction. Plus power armour, conversion beameers etc etc.

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  9. There is one great thing that is partially result of that law suit. 2 waves of minis and whole range of codex released in 6 months.

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  10. GW has made claims that they can copyright the aesthetics of the Tyranids. I'm just waiting for H.R. Giger to come along and kick GW in the nuts for stealing his aesthetic. Maybe then GW will be more forgiving of others that make Tyranid after-market parts.

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    1. False analogy. Inspired by is not the same as 'Blatantly ripped off from'. The nids have an entirely developed aesthetic and story that is distinct from Giger's aliens but evidently paying homage to them. Heres a better analogy. If I take a commonly used lick or technique from BB King and incorporate it into a solo on my latest record that's inspiration (I agree that some of the shoulder pad designs fall into this category). If I use entire bars of a solo which is recognisably from that artist, that's a different matter. If I take an entire solo, name it after an unreleased BB King track that I heard about and then publish it under my name then I think that the old man might be a little upset by that.

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    2. I think a Lot of it is that they did Not just rippoff 1 Thing but everything. Microarts or kromleach make stuff that you can use with 40k but its Not so closelly ripped off as the chapterhouse and they dont use the names. Chapterhouse is clearlly all about 40k rippoff and nothing els.

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    3. Let me tell you, Puppetswar has been FAR more blatant in ripping off GW stuff. And I read the initial filing on this case. GW went after Chapterhouse AND Paulson Games because paulson created Tau-esque models and sold on Chapterhouse.
      As for Nids, look at 3rd ed nids and tell me they weren't a blatant ripoff of Aliens. Hell, the current Warriors still are. GW got slammed hard for IP infringement, thats why the current line of nids looks completely different now. Look up a 3rd ed Hive Tyrant on Ebay. If thats not a Queen, I dont know what is.

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  11. Just checked all this out, I'm a big fan of alternatives from the normal GW range, but this guy at chapter house studio really did go too far. It's got blatant IP infringements all over the damn place.

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  12. I'm afraid I'd rather games-workshop win this battle. I've heard plenty of idiots on the Internet who think this is an opportunity to 'overthrow the pricing overlords' by letting anyone make their minis, but no money means no GW and everyone loses. I love having independent companies make bits we can use, I mean how many ork armies are more characterful because of independents like Maxmini and Kromlech? But Chapterhouse went too far, I mean they built a Tau inspired superheavy (fine, although the railguns might be too copy and paste) and then made their own rules for it using Games-Workshops format. I know house rules can be fun, but using them commercially to sell product is very different! I hope they lose and that's my two cents whether I'm wrong or right, but I believe it'd be best for the hobby. Ok, here comes the hate...

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    1. You want them to lose just so GW isn't hurt?

      Just about every company in wargaming is doing their damnest to show how much like GW they AREN'T. That's because GW's lack of transparency, slow release cycle, high prices and terrible product support are bad for their customers. Because they're the biggest they can get away with it but companies like Chapterhouse can force GW to pay heed to its customer's demands by creating a competitive market environment.

      GW doesn't lose money if they give us a reason to choose them over companies like Chapterhouse but so far they haven't.

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    2. Terrible product support? Are you talking about the same company the rest of us are? The company that will give you a new product and let you keep the old one, which might still be useful, with no quible?

      The prices are high, but they aren't just a miniatures company, they're a hobby company, they sell the whole thing, they teach you to play and paint and they give you a place to do that if you want. They host games in most major cities in the UK and all across the rest of the world on top of producing some of the best wargaming miniatures ever. They release models every single month, thats hardly slow, its just that its a huge range of games. You're a hater, fuck off and play something else if you don't like it, GW owe you nothing.

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    3. I just checked out CHS website, they did go a little to far. I mean when you look at the man page you see elder bits, imperial guard bits and conversions, space marine bits and conversions, tau (gw copyright? Dunno off top of my head) bits and conversions, tyrannies bits and conversations. I think that is a blatten ripoff of gw material. I mean under the ig section first one is chimaera wheeled conversion kit. That's not a parody or homage that's a just a ripoff. I mean I love alternative bits, but use subtlety call it apc

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    4. That Tau superheavy was made by Paulson games...

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    5. I'm interested to know what you mean by saying gw has terrible product support ? Are we talking about their no quibble returns policy on unopened boxes? Their no questions asked fine cast replacement policy? Or their hundreds of shops that you can got to to get not only advice but actual help with any aspect of the game from medelling to painting? Show me a company that does this much after sales support for their product or shut up!

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    6. I've always found GW support excellent! Yes the product cycle was a mess but this Chapterhouse venture has (hopefully) given them the kick up the a*se To sort it out. The tyranid/space wolf lack of miniatures was atrocious, but without GW there is no hobby.
      My bad, I didn't know the super heavy was made by someone else, however they DO sell it WITH RULES to encourage sales! They aren't forced to post rules up, especially WITH the product for sale, it is a conscious decision made purely to sell miniatures

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    7. The 'support' you are talking about is actually a legal requirement in many countries.
      If the product isn't up to standard it MUST be replaced. You should always be able to get a refund or return an unopened item.

      There is nothing special about this 'support' and it is not in fact support at all. It is the bare minimum required in order to be in business.

      A good company wouldn't be releasing rubbish finecast models that needed to be returned 9/10 times when first released. It speaks of how little the production cost is when they can afford to replace 90% of the first batch because they are unacceptable, and continue to replace bad mini's rather than just implement some kind of Q/A system.

      Good to see all the GWS fanbois/employees posting here. If you think you are in any way protecting the hobby, GWS or anything worthwhile you really need to get a reality check.

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    8. GW pricing is obliterating my wallet. When I started a blister with 1-3 models in it was $5-10 & that was considered ridiculous. Now you pay $25-30 for a single model that's 1/2 a cent worth of resin, which used to come in a $25-30 boxed unit of 3. & they have discontinued their bits sales which used to be the best thing about the company.

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  13. I think GW has the moral high ground here and I don't think it will be good for the game if this activity is allowed. GW's money from minis is used to further the game. Third party rip offs are just selling the plastic without helping develop the game. In an age of nearly everything being on torrent sites, it has become hard for us to recognize harmful theft of ideas when we see it.

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  14. .... Wheeled conversion kit.

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  15. The lads at CHS took the piss with the use of GW names (Raven Guard and Salamander Rhino kits, Tyranid Lash Whips etc) but since there were no models for these at the time (only designs), it looks like CHS are onto a winner.

    I'm a fan of having small companies pump out alt-sculpts for models, especially if they're cheaper, so I was hoping it might be settled and CHS given a slap on the wrist but GW's case has been presented sloppily and their understanding of IP law has appeared to be woefully poor.

    GW were trying to rely on drawings in their Codices for unit entries as being their copyright when designs don't count and now they're trying to say that they are producing sculptures (copyright-able) which has been shown in a previous British case (name eludes me now) that mass-produced toy soldiers cannot be classed as sculptures.

    TL;DR - GW are onto a loser here, despite CHS taking the mick. GW can claw it back but their work is cut out for them. They can thank their legal team for that.

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    1. Mass produced might not be but remember that each model has a master.

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  16. my 2p i don't mind not-chaosdaemons really models (banelegions stuff for example)but blatant ripoffs do annoy me i hope chapter-house suffer

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  17. I think that GW should win this. CHS blatantly went too far. Iconography ARE ideas and Artwork ARE ideas. How GW is handling the case is somewhat poor but from what I understand they recently changed in house counsel and they are not suing on their own turf even though both companies are UK.

    If GW loses then you will likely see a whole lot more blatant ripoffs with poor quality but low prices. GW will have to lower prices but the quality of their services will go down. And what is to say that the other companies that create miniatures will not lose out? Their products can now be copied by name without repercussions.

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  18. It was my understanding that because Chapterhouse released a Harpy model, their copy-write prevented GW from releasing their own model. Is this not the case?

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  19. Hey,if gw is gonna put out new units in the new codexes and then make us wait three years for the models-then screw em...you snoze you lose.I don't feel sorry for them one bit.just like the rumors that upgrade kits for csm aren't coming out till next summer..ridiculous.

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  20. Just for clarification here folks, Paulson actually had nothing to do with the super-heavy walker. In fact, he had no business association with CHS at all.
    Unfortunately, it seems that GW legal got themselves in a mix over this. They did file against Paulson for his own products being a derivative of GW IP, though this is a very different state of affairs to the CHS case (also much harder for GW to prove).
    Mr Paulson previously made a few posts clarifying the situation on the Warpshadow forums.

    Just wanted to point it out as he's being tarred with the same brush here rather unfairly. (though through no fault of those commenting!)

    -Dusty Fox-

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  21. Actually, without GW we wouldn't have rules/codex writing to sell models, delays in FAQ releases to sell models, having a substandard resin models that reuse old metal model molds (and it shows in the flash) at the same or higher price than metal models.

    Just think, no GW, we can pay $1-1.50US for an infantry mini. True, it won't have all the super duper details. You also won't have to use a magnifying glass to see all those super duper details.

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  22. Hmm did many of the posters here read most of the docs in the post above?

    I read a good bunch of them. GW don't seem to be helping themselves win, when asked for evidence they don't produce much. A bunch of CHS product have already been knocked of the list as un-infringing.The rest do seem pretty tenuous.

    An idea or name not copyrightable?! Making products similar to another companies not against the law?! These are seeming to be a big part of it.

    The copyright situation is far from certain, mass produced toys don't count under the sculpture category- that's a big hit already before any rulings made. Its gonna be interesting whatever happens.

    For me, I reckon each side will take a small hit. CHS will have to change some parts of site and descriptions but probably not models, GW will be told exactly what it's copyright covers in the US court at least and we can all relax a bit.

    'Harpy' is not a copyrightable name or idea. What is, is one companies implementation compared to the other. It doesn't stop GW but they don't want to play with others.

    TH

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  23. can't speak to the rest of the world but in Canada where I reside you can't copyright a name. Imagine if you could? Any idiot with a random number generator & a look up table could copyright EVERYTHING EVER! To be protected as an intellactual property, trade secret, industrial design (which an injection mold is) the thing must exist. Simply creating a name and saying "we plan on maybe releaseing a product that meets this vague description at some point in the next several months / years" is not sufficient. If however a proof sculpt or concept art was made public then GW has a case. Simply because Jes Godwin has a sketch somewhere of a space marine riding a wolf doesn't mean anything, that document must be verifiably dated / registered / logged into some type of system to ensure it is accounted for.

    CHS's "iron snake" / "salamanders" / etc gear is probably a no go simply because the logos have been used by GW / FW / BL on some of their products to date. But items such as the combi-weapons or the farseer and the physical item / mold used is different enough from the GW product AND YET similar enough to any number of "equivalent" products produced by a variety of other manufacturers that CHS would almost certainly be found to be secure from any infringement.

    My experience with this type of thing is limited to a Canadian engineering & design perspective.

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  24. I fully support Chapterhouse on this one. Their stuff is great and they do what GW doesn't. Put out models for their own codices. Not interested in waiting 3+ years for models available in my codex, that's GWs fault for being morons.

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