I've registered the Boot Hill trademark (which WOTC let expire long ago) and I'm working on a Western game with 5e compatible rules. Question: which would you rather buy -- a box set (with rules booklet, regional maps, town map, and tokens/chits for characters) or a standalone book (with optional maps you'd buy separately for maybe $10 per map, but no game tokens)?
Everyone who is interested in seeing a 5e Boot Hill retro-clone ought to visit his site and comment!
Nothing reveals humanity so well as the games it plays. --- David Hartley, 18th c. English Philosopher
IANAL, but I know from my own business experience that there's a difference between registering an IP/TM, and putting it to actual use. The same is with other IPs in the field, by the way. But good luck to anyone trying to take something from WotC/Hasbro that they consider theirs to own.
I don't know anything about Mr Shinn, but if he manages to pull this off the way he'd like to, I consider that pretty remarkable.
Well, I assume that he has put in to own the rights to the name "boot hill" on an RPG, but that wouldn't give him the actual rights to the game. Sounds like he wants to make a 5E western game which he can then call Boot Hill. I agree that Hasbro will likely have something to say about this if it gets to the actual game sales point in the design process.
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Post by thegreyelf on Jan 10, 2019 18:07:01 GMT -6
I will be interested to see how this plays out, as trademarks do not "expire," per se. He will need to argue that WotC has abandoned it, should they sue him for trademark infringement. And I suspect Hasbro has more money to pursue it than Rogue Commet, LLC, does.
Then again, WotC may decide to just let it go, if they don't care. But that could go bad for them regarding any other trademarks they own from TSR that they haven't used.
Last Edit: Jan 10, 2019 18:07:28 GMT -6 by thegreyelf
My personal, respectful opinion is, this is friendly nonsense. The kind of over-enthusiastic stuff that hobby writers put out before getting legal advice on things. Those hundred bucks Mr Shinn spent for registering that TM, they are equivalent to, whatever, me buying used copied of all Angus Wells fantasy novels a few years ago, "because I am sure I will need them some day". (Spoiler alert, I didn't need them.)
Rogue Comet has published and otherwise started quite the number of projects since 2016. None of them were related to Boot Hill, from what I understand. - Now, please understand that I am not belittling Mr Shinn, or his efforts, at all: If he manages to do this, the better for the entire hobby, as it would create an interesting legal precedent. - But, personally, I don't believe this is possible, at all.
Last Edit: Jan 11, 2019 9:50:31 GMT -6 by Rafael: Wrote "stuff" like, five times in my original post.
Post by Sean Michael Kelly (SMKSensei) on Jan 11, 2019 8:57:16 GMT -6
As far as I'm concerned, and I may have stated this in my G+ Boot Hill community, a 5th ed compatible western style game by any name isn't "Boot Hill" any more than putting rum in a whiskey bottle makes it whiskey. Call it whatever you'd like!