[UPDATED AGAIN] Gary Gygax's Widow & TSR Settle Trademark Dispute

Gail Gygax has just sent me a short statement regarding the resolution of a trademark dispute between herself and the owners of Gygax Magazine. Gail is, of course, the late Gary Gygax's wife, and some of the owners of the magazine are his sons [update - both left the company a while back]. A quick look at USPTO.gov reveals the trademark application by Gail Gygax in 2013, which I'm given to understand was challenged by TSR, Inc. that same year. TSR, Inc. was formed a couple of years ago to produce the (at the time) new Gygax Magazine; it's not the original TSR founded in 1973 and sold to WotC in 1997. The statement reads as follows.

The Gail C. Gygax Revocable Trust, owner of the intellectual property of the late E. Gary Gygax, and TSR, Inc., a corporation formed by Jayson Elliot, Tim Kask, Ernie Gygax, Luke Gygax and James Carpio have reached a mutually agreeable resolution of their trademark dispute at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Pursuant to their agreement, the Trust will license the Gygax Magazine trademark to TSR on a non-exclusive basis.

UPDATE: I've been informed by a representative of Luke and Ernie Gygax that both of them left the company. Mrs. Gygax reached a settlement with TSR, Inc., and Luke and Ernie have both withdrawn from TSR as a result of the settlement. Neither of them are affiliated with the company any longer.

Ernie Gygax has now made a public Facebook post about the matter which makes it clear that this settlement was not arrived at amicably.

It is with a heavy heart that I have had to remove myself from TSR and GYGAX magazine. Benoist and I will continue to share original old school gaming. All of which I learned at my fathers side, just as Luke and I also learned how to repair shoes in our youth. I am awake now at 2:42 AM as foolishness infringes on my ability to even enjoy a sound nights rest. I am proud to one of Gary's many offspring and just wish that I had his drive and fortitude to generate material as he did. Yet the acorn doesn't fall far from the Oak and the work that will be created will be in honor of his memory. I wish it to be said that both Tim Kask and R Scott Taylor refused to sign the deal as well when asked.

So it sounds like both parties have reached an agreement, that's it's far from amicable, that Gail Gygax's trust owns the Gygax trademark, but that the trademark is licensed to TSR, Inc. The statement doesn't indicate how long that license is for, or whether any other terms are attached. And, of course, the trademarked name is the actual name of Gygax's sons Luke and Ernie, which is why they refused sign the settlement.

You can see the trademark applications here at USPTO.gov. Gail Gygax made an application on March 4th, 2013. Gygax Magazine #1 was released the month before that, in February 2013. TSR, Inc made an application for the same trademark on September 30th, 2013. There are some similar entries for other dates.

You'll find Gygax Magazine here. It appears that Gail's trust also made an application for Gygaxian on August 7th this year.

A little background - I know most who read this know who Gary Gygax was, but new people are coming into the hobby all the time. This is the super-short version. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson (both sadly passed) co-created Dungeons & Dragons back in the 1970s. The whole history of Gygax and TSR is fraught with conflict - Gary was ousted from the original TSR, he and Arneson fell out, and of course Gail Gygax and the new TSR, Inc. (which until recently included Gary's sons Luke and Ernie) have been embroiled in the above legal dispute for two years. This long interview with Gary Gygax is a fascinating read. The whole history has been, to put it mildly, litigious!


GygaxMag.jpg
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I just got an update noting that Luke and Ernie have both withdrawn from TSR as a result of the settlement. Neither of them are affiliated with the company any longer.
 


Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I just got an update noting that Luke and Ernie have both withdrawn from TSR as a result of the settlement. Neither of them are affiliated with the company any longer.

Crap on a stick! That really casts a shadow over this entire resolution...to the point where I'm not sure it can even be called that.
 

darjr

I crit!
It has to suck to not have the legality to use your own last name, your fathers last name, for your own endeavors.
 

Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
Yeah that's kind of a bummer. Gygax's stuff has been a mess since he died, hopefully this settlement doesn't end up torpedoing the magazine in the long run.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Yeah that's kind of a bummer. Gygax's stuff has been a mess since he died, hopefully this settlement doesn't end up torpedoing the magazine in the long run.

I feel optimistic in that regard. There are a lot of very talented people working on the magazine, and even if they aren't part of the staff anymore Luke and Ernie can still contribute articles.
 

Mm intra-family disputes are not nice :(

I hope this means that Gygax magazine will continue to sell and, maybe, we'll see Gary's IP opened up to 3P licencing for new products! Castle Zagyg not being finished was so sad .
 

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