"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane
Okay, I am going to list (for the benefits of the eejits at polymancer) why they can’t win.
While I would love to take everything they own from them in a lawsuit, I would rather that the silliness just ended.
1) The date of application is not the go by date in a lawsuit. The date that the trademark is granted is. And that date is August of 05. My first novel with polymancers in it was published in March of 04. The magic system shown on my website is based upon those novels. The short fiction in which I mentioned polymancers goes back to 1980.
2) The precedence that would be set if they won would create a dangerous situation for the publishing industry at large. Therefore I would easily have every writers organization and publisher behind me in going up against them and could easily get the ACLU involved. Language belongs to the people. Even the Supreme Court agrees with that. If a trademark can retroactively remove a writer’s use of a term that writer (or previous writers) coined then most works of speculative fiction could be destroyed by anyone who cared to acquire the author’s word for their trademark.
3) Neither a trademark nor a copyright removes a word from the language. A trademark applies only to the object it is applied to and the statement in their application is that they are trademarking it as the title of a magazine. Title of a magazine. Nothing more.
4) No one over at EN World has ever heard of them.
5) Copyrights do not remove a word from the language either. Witness how many authors have battlemages, orcs, and dragons in their work? Or how many times you see Greek and Latin used to create new hybrid words? It’s commonplace and fails to take the word out of the language. A copyright relates not to the words in the text individually, but to the entire aggregate of those words.
6) Now, they wish to claim libel and slander in my posts here and elsewhere. I freely claim my right to refer to them as ‘polyfuckers’ but that falls under a different rule. This is the US and we are free to express our opinions, especially of public figures. Owning a trademark and attempting to enforce it inappropriately is subject to ridicule in many places. And it’s legal. Not even the President of the US can stop people from ridiculing him if they so desire to.
I could go on, but I’ll stop here for an editorial.
Mr. Bernstein, if you are smart, you will now walk away quietly and we will both forget this ever happened. If you really want to give me all of your worldly goods, then please continue and make good on your threats. I would not mind owning all of your stuff. (Except, of course, your dirty underwear. Please wash it first.)