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TSR TSR (2) Confirms TSR (3)'s Acquisition of Trademark (Updated!)

Jayson Elliot registered the TSR trademark back in 2011 and used it to launch Gygax Magazine along with Ernie and Luke Gygax. The two Gygax's left the company a few years later after Gary Gygax's (co-founder of TSR (1) back in the 1970s) widow, Gail Gygax, forced the closure of Gygax Magazine. Then, earlier this year, TSR (3) swooped in on the TSR trademark, after Jayson Elliot accidentally...

Jayson Elliot registered the TSR trademark back in 2011 and used it to launch Gygax Magazine along with Ernie and Luke Gygax. The two Gygax's left the company a few years later after Gary Gygax's (co-founder of TSR (1) back in the 1970s) widow, Gail Gygax, forced the closure of Gygax Magazine. Then, earlier this year, TSR (3) swooped in on the TSR trademark, after Jayson Elliot accidentally let it lapse, as TSR (2) confirms:

We have owned the TSR trademark since 2011. Last year, we missed a filing date, and another company registered it, though we are still using it in commerce. While we could win a lawsuit, we frankly don't have the money to litigate. So, we're licensing it back from them.

As a result, there are two companies now using the name TSR. You can tell when it's us because we're the only ones using the new logo.

They're opening a museum in Lake Geneva at the old TSR house, and we wish them success with it, it's important to celebrate the legacy that Gary Gygax created.

Ernie Gygax, formerly of TSR (1) under Gary Gygax, then working with Jayson Elliot as part of TSR (2), is one of the founders of of TSR (3), and confirmed in his (now infamous) interview --

The other TSR is a licensee because [Jayson Elliot] let it lapse. But he had absolutely ... love for the game and the products. There was no reason to say 'oh you've screwed up, oh it's all ours, ha ha ha ha!' Instead, Justin [LaNasa] came to him and said ... we love that you're doing Top Secret things, we have a much broader goal for the whole thing. But there's no reason for you to stop or even have any troubles. Justin said, I'll take care of the paperwork, you just give me $10 a year, and you put out all this love for old school gaming that you can. And we appreciate that you were there to try and pick up things, and you produced Gygax Magazine, for in its time that you're also working on a game that you love to play ... because Top Secret was Jayson's love, as a young man.

TSR (2), still run by Jayson Elliot, publishes Top Secret, and is not connected to TSR (3) other than now having to license it’s own name from them. TSR (3) has also registered the trademark to Star Frontiers, a game owned by and still currently sold by D&D-owner WotC.

In other news the GYGAX trademark appears to have lapsed.


UPDATE! TSR (2) has decided NOT to license its own name from TSR (3):

Update to our earlier tweet - we will NOT be licensing anything from the new company claiming rights to the TSR logos. We are not working with them in any fashion.

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BEFORE people start attributing Gary Gygax with saying things he never did...and acting in ways he did not...which I have seen done to others in this forum....

From what I recall (from over 10 years ago now) Mr. Gygax WAS willing to change his views with the times and DID change his views with the times.

Near the end of his life, if I recall, he was no longer a practicing JW (and in fact, I do not think he even acknowledged being a part of them anymore) and had started attending a Unitarian church (not sure which one, universalist Unitarian is the one I think comes to mind).

It had been over 20 years since he had been involved with the creation of AD&D and it is very possible he would have created something very different (though perhaps more similar to OD&D) at that time if he actually had control of the game and it's creation.

From all appearances that I've seen and heard, in the late aughts he was a very accepting man of others. He tried to answer others questions and gave them time at conventions and other locales when approached by D&D players, fans, and aficionados.

AS for his politics...I don't think that is really pertinent here and have no desire to really discuss it anymore than to address this remark...but there are MANY different types of people as Libertarians...but most of the time they are for less goverment though more liberal economic policies...thus I think he probably would have adapted rather easily to the modern climate of the United States and it's current morales.

We may not know for sure because he has passed away, but this beginning where people it appears there is a spark to try to start to trying to make him appear as something other than what he was is concerning.

Edit PS: There MUST be those on this site, fans or others who encountered him at Cons or elsewhere, that can vouch that he was a very pleasant guy normally with their interactions with him regardless of who they were.
Gary, very early on, was also a precinct captain during the reelection of Democrat Mayor Daly in Chicago. Gary was very accepting of others and their POVS. Lin Carter once referred to him as, "Gygax the gregarious." A lot of head-hunters these days. I fear the divisiveness lies with those who hunt rather than with those who seek.

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"Give them a way out" implies action on our part.

When I plan an encounter that involves a monster way out of the league of the players, I make sure that I give them a way out. They may not take it, or they may come out with another way out, but I'm not going to stick them into a potential TPK situation without knowing that there was something they could do.
Nope. No action required. Just not signal that an apology would not be accepted no matter what. If you do, then why should they apologize if it does not change anything? Then you get into a state of us against them instead of a dialogue where one party can learn from the other (I explicitely do not say both can learn from each other in this case).


The Elephant in the Room (she/her)
And I give it high odds that if they do try, it will be out of a realization of how badly they hurt themselves, rather than out of a sincere desire to change.
As a Trans person, let me be the first to say that, while the latter is always the goal, the former is the next best thing.

It'd be nice if nobody were transphobic. But learning that being transphobic out loud will get them ostracized and their businesses crashing and deciding to shut their faces instead is a pretty solid consolation prize, and does make the world a measurably nicer and safer place for folx like me

Dessert Nomad

If you do, then why should they apologize if it does not change anything?
If someone apologizes only because the apology benefits them, then it is clearly not a legitimate apology and should not be accepted at all. A genuine apology is one where the person realized they did wrong, not one where they think "I" will owe them money or time if they make it.

I'm also not sure where this idea that people operating a business or in the entertainment industry are owed my money, attention, or support just because they want it. The traditional idea of business is that you provide a product or service that people want and they choose to pay you for it, not that you insult your potential customers, deliver an insincere apology, then the insulted customers owe you their money.

The fact that he didn't choose to give a genuine apology and make amends for the earlier kickstarter shenanigans and instead tried to act like the aggrieved part also doesn't help here. From a simple financial perspective, this venture is a significant risk based on his past financial dealings with the public.


Obviously, yes.

The trouble is, in that thread Gary is talking about the ethics of an in-game character in his fantasy campaign world, not his personal ethics. He's talking about what a Lawful Good Paladin in his game world would think, and what the in-game, fantasy world that he imagines would consider Lawful and Good (both defined terms with special meaning, especially in 1e), not what he himself thinks is lawful or good under their plain English meanings in our world.

Gary's games and his table were always interested in historical simulation, so his games were interested in emulating their perceptions of medieval ethics and morals. That was part of their original purpose when they created D&D, so obviously his definitions for his campaign worlds suit that purpose.

If the comments are being used as an example that Gary intended or assumed that the morals and ethics of D&D settings would be sexist and racist, that's valid. If being used as evidence that the mechanical game design had anachronistic assumptions baked into it that are sexist and racist, that's valid, too. But -- and maybe I've lost track of the thread context, which is why I asked what the intent was -- that's very different than it being an example Gary's personal ethics or morals.

Because, yeah, I agree with him that a 1e Lawful Good Paladin using medieval ethics and morals would justify slaughtering orc and goblin children with phrasing similar to Colonel Chivington or Andrew Jackson or any number of European colonial conquerors. And the society that that Paladin belongs to would agree, just like the societies of the above individuals did. That's one reason why many players didn't like that scenario, and it's why the contemporary game largely does not try to emulate medieval ethics or morals.

Don't misunderstand. I'm not defending Gary or the ethical and moral assumptions that were baked into the early game. I'm saying that if you're looking to criticize Gary's personal beliefs, these comments are an extremely poor example. You're intentionally conflating what he says an in-game, fictional character would do in a world that by design has medieval ethics and morals, with what Gary himself personally believes about the real world. That's so much of a stretch that it's disingenuous. Even if he is stating his own personal beliefs, it's impossible to tell in that thread.

It's like taking Humbert Humbert's words and actions as Vladimir Nabokov's personal beliefs. It can be done (and absolutely has been done), but you're going to be taken as a fool making that kind of claim. Authors and creators do create worlds with morals and ethics that don't match their own morals and ethics in the real world, and they don't always put an Evil or Renegade label on everything that our contemporary morals would object to. That's not glorification or approval. That's fiction.

The argument about "in-character ethics" kind of falls flat when you then say that "nits make lice" is an observable fact, and then go on to use a real-world example of an indigenous American soldier "dispassionately killing an enemy squaw."

Given that the person who said "nits make lice" was saying it in context of justifying genocide and killing civilians and children, that doesn't put Gygax in a good look.

Talking about how morality works in a fantasy world is all well and good, but it becomes a less convincing argument when you start bringing in real-world examples uttered by those who contributed to some of the darkest moments in American history.

And in regards to an earlier post about being born in the 1930s, that very same decade saw a significant upswelling of sympathy for indigenous Americans and contributed to the giving back of many traditional lands to various tribes. And 40 years later in the 1970s, the American Indian Movement was in the news, and notable actor Marlon Brando boycotted the Oscars to protest Hollywood's treatment and portrayal of said groups.

Gygax had plenty of decades and exposure to evolve on his views. Age is not necessarily an excuse; even senior citizens can become more progressive and accepting of groups that for earlier decades in their lives never crossed their minds.

I don't know if Gary Gygax changed his views on the subject between then and the last 3 years of his life. I'd be happy to find out if he renounced his racist and sexist viewpoints held at the time. But it was a statement that many took issue with, and seeing it said by a beloved figure in the tabletop hobby was very demoralizing and disconcerting to many gamers.
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Dire Bare

I fear the divisiveness lies with those who hunt rather than with those who seek.
There's some of that going on, certainly. Folks hunting for divisiveness. There always is. But Gygax Sr is on record with some pretty dodgy statements, including doubling-down when called out on those statements. Still, the current bruhaha shouldn't be focusing on Gary, as he's left us and can't respond to folks discussing his views.

Regarding Gygax Jr . . . all this current mess is on him and some of his partners, LeNasa primarily. They are advertising their divisiveness proudly.

Dire Bare

Twitter. He didn't say anything, but he retweeted a video from a fairly infamous YouTube channel defending Ernie from the "Twitter mob"
I'm not ready to get out my torch and pitchfork for James Ward quite yet, but . . . that was ill-advised. I tried watching the video in question and I couldn't make it past the first few sentences. Ugh.

For those interested, here's the video in question. It's from the "Clownfish TV" YouTube Channel. It was tweeted by TSR Games 3.0 (LeNasa), then retweeted by Ward without any commentary.

Ward has distanced himself somewhat from the fracas by clarifying his involvement with TSR and Giantlands is work-for-hire, that he's not "part of the team" . . . . but he's also beginning to defend TSR Games (3.0) against their detractors over this mess. I understand he's justifiably proud of his work on Giantlands, and he's been promoting the game for quite some time now . . . he's certainly in a tough position, regardless of his own personal views on race and gender in gaming.

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