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 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.
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


One of the best examples of a Lich is in Taran Wanderer.

The Phylactery is actually a box with the guy's finger bone in it. Breaking the finger bone destroys the guy it is connected to. He also (if I recall, it's been a while) had a moon shaped amulet for power.

log in or register to remove this ad

Confirmed, the 4E Monster Manual has the same thing, almost word-for-word: "...typically takes the form of a fist-sized metal box containing strips of parchment on which magical phrases have been written."

5E is a little less on-the-nose, but retains the basic idea: "...traditionally an amulet in the shape of a small box, but it can take the form of any item possessing an interior space into which arcane sigils of naming, binding, immortality, and dark magic are scribed in silver."

As to the question of whether it's a slight, I'll just say it's a bad idea and they should have changed the name. Calling it a phylactery means you will almost always get one of two reactions when someone encounters it for the first time: Either "Whoa, that's kind of offensive" or "Phyla-what?" I'm not seeing the upside here. Just call it a soul talisman or something.
I think I did accept it as what it was... a cool name for a container for the life force of a lich... but back then I would have accepted any other cool sounding name...

I believe the generally accepted inspiration for the Lich in D&D is Afgorkon from Kothar: Barbarian Swordsman. Undead wizard, called a lich even. But Afgorkon is not hostile to Kothar and does not have a phylactery.


I believe the generally accepted inspiration for the Lich in D&D is Afgorkon from Kothar: Barbarian Swordsman. Undead wizard, called a lich even. But Afgorkon is not hostile to Kothar and does not have a phylactery.
The most direct on a visual level, but the ancient undead wizard trope had a lot of examples in pulp fiction, usually not a skeleton: see Boris Karloff's original Mummy film.

Dessert Nomad

TSR 2 has been reborn as Solarian! PRIASE THE SUN!!!

You know you've screwed up your brand reputation when the company who you were going to license the brand to for $10 per year decides it's better to just change their name completely and register a new trademark (at a cost of about 40 years of licensing) rather than be associated with you.


Morkus from Orkus
I don't think it's up to us to give them a way out. They've dug themselves in very deeply at this point and it's up to them to dig themselves out. Then we can assess the genuineness of their statements and go from there.
I don't normally quote myself, but someone just liked my post and I had forgotten that I made this statement.

6 months later and given the events that have happened in the meantime, including some very recent events, they really haven't done much(nothing) to dig themselves out.

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

An Advertisement