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Friday, April 22, 2016

Gygaxian - Use It or Lose It (in use online since at least 2007)

It's pretty much common knowledge that all things Gygax(TM) are, well, trademarked by The Trustees of the GAIL C. GYGAX REVOCABLE TRUST (what's a "revocable trust" you may ask - that, my friends, is time for another post).

Gygaxian has an application for trademark (from the same The Trustees of the GAIL C. GYGAX REVOCABLE TRUST) with a letter of suspension. Which means, no, they don't have the trademark yet BUT they have reserved their first place in line IF its decided the word is trademark-able.

Interestingly enough, one must use Gygax(TM) itself as an adjective, which would seem to make the trademarking of Gygaxian a bit of a reach, as it isn't in and of itself a product or a brand. Below explains the proper use of Gygax(TM) when referring to the brand and not the man:


Now, of course, there hasn't been a new Gygax RPG product released by the Trust in, like, ever (or never). So using Gygax(TM) as an adjective isn't going to come up much. Unless you refer to D&D as a Gygax RPG,

Back to Gygaxian. Its been in common usage in the RPG community AT LEAST since 2007, and that's where the trademark would apply - with RPGs.

https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?361362-Gygaxian-Dungeon October, 2007

http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/13/off-the-grid-gygaxian-game-design/ March, 2008

http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2008/09/gygaxian-naturalism.html September, 2008

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2iuh6?4Es-Rejection-of-Gygaxian-Naturalism October, 2008

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=gygaxian January, 2009

http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/waxing-gygaxian March, 2012

https://www.reddit.com/r/rpg/comments/2f8blk/serious_why_is_gygaxian_dd_considered_antiplayer/     September, 2014

edit - wow, hat tip to Davrion - mentions here go back to the 90s! 

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/rec.games.frp.dnd/%22gygaxian%22

 (there are hundreds more uses to be found with a nice Google search)

How does the Urban Dictionary define Gygaxian?


If a word is already in common usage, it is harder to claim a trademark on it.

Want to keep Gygaxian free from trademarking? Use it freely and use it well. We still might lose it, but without usage, the odds shift in an ill direction.


24 comments:

  1. If you search rec.games.frp.dnd, there are posts using "Gygaxian" back in the '90s as well:

    https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/rec.games.frp.dnd/%22gygaxian%22

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure I've seen the phrase "Gygaxian prose" written back in the 90's and possibly as early at the late 80's.

      Delete
    2. ...which by the way pre-dates the "trap" definition. "Gygaxian" has always meant "overly descriptive to the point of purple prose."

      Delete
    3. While using archaic or rarely used words and phrases.

      Delete
  2. Suppose you would lessen the chances for a lawsuit if you you intentional used "Ernie Gygaxian" (For his products) but I think people are fearful of lawsuits after the Gygax Magazine outcome... If I was Ernie (and I wish him the best health wise) I would never just use his last name on anything in print

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He can just use Ernie Gygax. Or even Ernest Gary Gygax Jr.

      Gail has not and never prevented either Luke or Ernie from using their own name on a product as long as it's used to define the full name of the author. If that was the case, the big project Ernie is working on would have had to change their name.

      She has just blocked them from using the Gygax on its own as a Trademark, since it's arguably implies endorsement from Gary himself and/or his legal heirs.

      Delete
  3. Here is the thing if they trademark it then stop using it, and Gygax will fade into oblivion. The choice is the Trust's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. they haven't used it yet - there are no products produced by or licensed by the Trust that bear the Gygax name

      Delete
  4. We stated a monster named Gygaxian in Shadis magazine back in the 90's who was clearly based on Gary. Was definitely a word I remember hearing in the 90's

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    Replies
    1. I was going to say something similar Jolly! I seem to remember using the word possibly as early as the late 80s, but I concede it might have been the 90s (memory fuzzy from those says).

      Delete
  5. I use Gygaxian all the time, as it explains our business model in a single word rather than many.

    Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian, Gygaxian!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's kind of like the sentence:
      Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

      Gygaxian Gygaxians Gygaxian Gygaxian Gygaxians.

      Delete
  6. I'd like to know how someone who comes by a surname via marriage can trump usage of that name by those born with it!?! What the fuck is going on with this issue?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The world has fallen to the shadowy web of the Antigygaxian Discordia.

      Delete
    2. Without going into the whole trademark thing again, I am constantly surprised by the people who seem to think the kids have more rights than a spouse when it comes to property and inheritance.

      At least when it comes to US law, the spouse always has first rights to property and inheritance, the kids always come second (and only minors that are dependents get special considerations). You can Google the details but you'll find that this is the legal precedent.

      Delete
    3. I'm not even concerned about estate issues, the kids should have the right to start a magazine called Gygax. They should be able to use the term Gygaxian. If common sense doesn't apply to the law, then there is really something fucked up with the law.

      Delete
  7. Because she paid out more to lawyers than the others.. .and I suspect that that the Gygax foundation is the the actual reason she can hold the name unless a challenge is funded.... I would give to that GoFundMe

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  8. Even if she does trademark gygaxian, that doesn't mean you can't use the word in speech or print. All it means is that you can't use the term in the name of a product. You could say your collection of adventures was gygaxian, you just couldn't call your product "Gygaxian Adventures".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the key thing. Nobody is preventing the use of the name in a declaratory sense, Gail's trust is just preventing commercial exploitation of it. You just can't market a product as being Gygaxian.

      Delete
  9. But if they DON'T have the trademark YET, what's to stop anyone actually using it now? Once/if it does become trade-markable then I can see the problem (and a possible upswing in a 'pre-trademarked' product's value, since it would become rarer) and are trademarks worldwide or does an entity have to file globally?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When it comes to trademarks, the right is first filing if nobody else has filed before. Keep in mind nobody has actually attempted to use Gygaxian as an actual Trademark, the common usage is mostly in internet discussions. The closest use in commerce was by Gygax himself (via Trigee and TLG) with Gygaxian Fantasy Worlds.

      This actually happened in Gaming before. Army Builder is a trademark, even though it's also a descriptive term. Lone Wolf has the exclusive right to use it for software products, so we shouldn't assume usage as an adjective would prevent the estate from restricting its use in commerce.

      Delete
  10. I see your 1990s and raise you a 1980s Specfically a November 1985.
    https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/net.games.frp/gygaxian/net.games.frp/GPBTXvO7_gY/WC6589Ge7ZIJ

    ReplyDelete
  11. Did they register the mark worldwide?
    Trademark registration is nation-based, unless specifically extended internationally (through the Madrid Protocol). So, if Gygax is trademarked in the USA only, you can freely produce (and sell) "Gygax Fantasy" in Europe.
    The complication here is, if the Trust should later extend his registration internationally, it would get trademark (and void your trademark if you used "Gygax" in it - which you can't do for other reasons); but the registration wouldn't be valid retroactively, so you could keep on using "Gygax" on older products.
    Also, if the Trust fails to challenge your use of the name "Gygax" for five years since your first use, it loses any right to challenge it later and you can keep on using it.
    ["Why do you know all this, Luca?" Because I used to work for a firm named The Blues Brothers...]

    ReplyDelete