Games Workshop sues Warhammer Alliance

#1Smoking_HamsterPosted 5/14/2010 3:49:57 PM
Games Workshop, creator and owner of the Warhammer games franchise, recently filed a lawsuit against the Curse Network for "operating and maintaining WarhammerAlliance.com," according this announcement at Curse's forums. WarhammerAlliance.com is a Warhammer Online forum and fansite created in 2005 and owned by the Curse Network. In the recent forum announcement, Curse described the lawsuit from Games Workshop as citing "trademark infringement, cybersquatting (on the domain name), dilution and unfair competition," according to the post. The announcement also provides a link to a PDF copy of the official complaint, which Curse is hosting on its servers.

The complaint was filed on March 29, 2010 in the District of Maryland Court by Games Workshop's attorneys and indeed cites trademark infringement related to Curse's use of the "Warhammer Alliance" name and domain usage. In the complaint, Games Workshop asserts its claim to the Warhammer franchise and applicable trademarks since 1984. That information will come as no surprise to most Warhammer fans, who have played GW tabletop games like Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40k for years. So why the lawsuit, and what motivated it?

The following excerpts from the official complaint could be the most likely reasons why Games Workshop filed the suit:

"The domain name warhammeralliance.com and the mark WARHAMMER ALLIANCE itself literally states and implies that Defendants and their business are in an "alliance" with Plaintiff and its products and services offered under the WARHAMMER Marks."

"Defendants' website at the URL warhammeralliance.com displays HTML links featuring banner advertisements, and, upon information and belief, when Internet users click on one or more of the displayed HTML advertisements at the warhammeralliance.com website, Defendants receive payment from one or more advertisers, search engines, or affiliate programs."

The complaint includes seven Causes of Action in all, including a few allegations about Curse's acquisition and operation of the actual Web site domain. Games Workshop claims that Curse registered the site via the "Domains By Proxy" service, in which "registration is maintained anonymously to conceal the identities of Defendants," according to the complaint. It also alleges that Curse "knowingly provided incomplete or materially false contact information in maintaining the registration for the warhammeralliance.com domain name."

According to older copies of the site's "About Us" page as it was hosted in 2006 (via Archive.org), the Warhammer Alliance was "originally formed back in 2004 in omage to the orginal [sic] Warhammer Online." The page is signed by Shelby "Garthilk" Cardozo, a former community manager at Curse, Inc., according to his LinkedIn.com profile. Cardozo posted a comment in the Warhammer Alliance forum yesterday, shedding some light on his history as the site's founder. In his post, Cardozo explains that Warhammer Alliance was a re-launch of the older forum community, WarhammerOnlineForums.com, which closed shortly after Climax Entertainment stopped developing the originally-planned Warhammer Online MMO (later picked up by Mythic Entertainment). He also mentioned his communication with "Sanya Weathers of Mythic Entertainment and Erik Mogensen, the Licensing Manager for Games Workshop," which prompted Cardozo to add a "proper disclaimer at the bottom of the site."
#2ShadygrovePosted 5/14/2010 6:14:45 PM
Thanks Hamster, informative and interesting.

I am a mature gamer (4/22/44 and probably older than 1/2 of the grandparents of anyone who reads this). I never assumed that Warhammer Alliance was in any related to Games Workshop or EA, but merely a fan run site.

But then again I do have a college education. If that means anything. Being a skeptic probably means more in this regard.

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Available as a witness BTW.
#3CoryanisPosted 5/17/2010 12:50:20 AM
i got college education , im old and blah blah blah ...


show off !! :)

lol im messing with ya shady :)

but it s something i like about this game , the population is mostly mature .

Ok , i don t totally blend in the population ... since im high and do silly stuff all the time lol

Ever tried jumping at each passing seconds of a BO timer ?
Putting a banner on the ground and try to run around and do a pole dance ? :)

anyway :)
#4ShadygrovePosted 5/18/2010 11:52:49 AM
Being a mature gamer has its drawbacks, and I don't mean the aging process.

I was not born with a game controller in my hand, I still find them awkward. I never played FPSs, and cannot kite or strafe kite worth a ****. Sometimes I feel I should go to game camp.

Other than the lack of young hotties of the opposite sex... oh, wait, you younger gamers don't have any of those either do you?

/laugh

Just messing with you Cory.

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#5CoryanisPosted 5/18/2010 11:10:28 PM
maybe i prefer old men over young hottie women ? :)

didn t think of that one , right ? :)

now come over here daddy , i need a hug :)

lol

And i gotta admit , i was born with a controller in my hand lol My folks , when they were fighting , wich was all the time since my father was always drunk , well , when they fought , they used to put me in front of a video game or a tv show . It s kinda sad , but now i find video games so easy to get into .

Of all my friends , im usually the guy people go see when they are stuck somewhere in a video game lol sad too eh ? :)

As for kiting in warhammer , to be fair , the game is against you . So it s normal you can t kite too well lol Melee hitting you at a range of 15 to 20 feet with a 5 feet range attack is so commun now lol kinda why i went assault . Now i can kite but when a melee come too near me , he usually find it weird that the shadow warrior start fighting melee ... and giving him troubles :)
#6slimjimbadboyPosted 5/19/2010 11:50:00 AM

Gamesworkshop is ran by the most idiotic business people I've ever come across. Instead of banking on the universe they have created and opening new venues they constantly close doors. This isn't the first lawsuit by GWS and I wouldn't be surprised if they ended up sueing Mythic, I know, and LEGO for having ties with their up coming movie.

#7havok718Posted 5/23/2010 7:57:18 AM
What a **** move. Going after a fan site? No one takes website names literally.

Anyone else think GWS is just mad WAR did so poorly? They want to erase every trace of the game to their brand, but can't legally do anything about the actual game since EAMythic has a contract for the license. If they're so worried about their precious brand, they should have stopped EA from rushing the game in the first place.
#8Visani_ChantePosted 5/24/2010 8:55:35 AM
Isn't this complaint just a little late?
#9N0tYrBeezinPosted 6/5/2010 6:45:16 AM

I think they don't like the fan site taking a buck through ads using the warhammer name without paying them a dime.

#10AllFlarusPosted 6/11/2010 1:10:04 AM
Games Workshop hate their fans.
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