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Amazon Reinstates 'Space Marine' Novel After Games Workshop Trademark Scuffle

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Amazon has reinstated a novel it removed from sale after a trademark claim by the board game maker Games Workshop.

Last week it was reported that Maggie Hogarth's novel 'Spot The Space Marine' had been removed from Amazon.

The novel was removed from sale because of a claim from Games Workshop that it had a trademark on the term's use in books.

Games Workshop's futuristic wargames focus on an army of supermen warriors known as the 'Space Marines' who wear heavy armour and fight monstrous enemies.

According to TV Tropes, the term first appeared in 1932 in the short story "Captain Brink of the Space Marines" by Bob Olsen in Amazing Stories.

But a blog post by Hogarth caught the attention of digital rights campaigners, many of whom erupted in anger - particularly since the term 'space marine' has been in wide use in science fiction since the 1930s.

Hogarth said the response was "totally overwhelming", and said her blog had received more than 50,000 views in a few hours after the BBC wrote about the case.

Eventually the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) rights group asked Amazon to "review" the case, which they did before reinstating the book.

"Let's hope Games Workshop will now have the good sense to realize the bullying has to stop." said the EFF, adding that the case represented an example of where rights holders targeted the "weakest link" in order to take potential cases of infringement offline without a lengthy legal fight.

Games Workshop issued a rare statement in which it reiterated its right to assert ownership of intellectual property.

"Games Workshop has never claimed to own words or phrases such as 'warhammer' or 'space marine' as regards their general use in everyday life," it said.

"Games Workshop is always vigilant in protecting the former, but never makes any claim to owning the latter."

Hogarth said in her own blog post that she was grateful for the support, particularly of celebrities Wil Wheaton, Neil Gaiman and others.

"I tell my daughter that there’s magic in the world and that human beings are responsible for creating it. You all have proved that decisively. I’ll never forget the past few days, and for that I and my family thank you earnestly from the depths of our hearts."