The studio behind the original Dungeons & Dragons has returned to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, under the guidance of Gary Gygax Jr. with the help of Wonderfilled,...
E. Gary Gygax Jr. and others are heading a new company called TSR Games, and I'm surprised to see them using the old TSR logos.
I vaguely understand there is something in US trademark law about losing a trademark through disuse, but Wizards of the Coast is selling PDFs with the TSR logo right now.
Anyone informed enough to be able to explain why this wouldn't get them in trouble with WotC, and/or why that trouble might be worth it for a new company?
A bit late to this party, and there have been a number of other threads where you might have found an answer to your question.
But my (tentative, not fully expert, but not completely amateur either) view is that (i) WotC still owns the copyright in those illustrations that constitute those non-word trademarks, and therefore (ii) the new TSR (3SR) is violating WotC's copyright in reproducing those illustrations in its own trademark applications and in reproducing them on its products.
This is different from the word trademark "TSR" which can't itself be the object of copyright, and which WotC has not registered. There are complexities here too, though, because in US law you don't need to register a trademark to enjoy property in respect of it (though registration can generate legal advantages) and WotC is still using the TSR trademark (both the word trademark and some of those illustrations) in its own trade (ie on some pdfs that it is selling). I'm not sure if WotC's continued use is enough to preclude 3SR from using the same TM, or to contest 3SR's registration of the TSR trademark. I'm pretty sure, though, that it's enough to mean that 3SR can't have any complaint about WotC's ongoing use.
(My understanding is that when TSR 2 - now rebadged as Solarian - registered the word trademark TSR, WotC was not
selling those PDFs and hence was not using TSR as a distinguishing mark in the course of trade. 3SR thus finds itself in a different position from what that earlier company was in.)
The summary version is this: 3SR seem to be infringing copyrights owned by WotC, and perhaps infringing a non-registered trademark owned by WotC. Or in other words, their IP situations seems to be as bad as every other part of their situation.