GW Vs. Chapterhouse Goes Bad?

By Rob Baer | June 3rd, 2013 | Categories: Chapterhouse, Legal, Warhammer 40k

I had known about this for a hot minute but couldn’t say much about it cause the Federal Judge hadn’t made his ruling either way, but now we have it and honestly it’s pretty serious IMHO.

I know when happens when baseball players get caught lying to Congress which is also a Federal institution, and it usually pretty bad.

What do you think should happen here?  Has Games Workshop perjured itself before a Federal Judge? Read on. -MBG

Courtesy of Bell of Lost Souls.

It’s been a long time coming, but the GW vs Chapterhouse case is getting its day in court.

Here are the dates and details.  Today is jury selection and the trial begins immediately afterwards.

Games Workshop vs Chapterhouse

U. S. District Court
219 S. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL 60604
Tel: 312-435-5684

Judge Matthew F. Kennelly – Courtroom 2103

The Court sets aside the following dates for trial in this case:

June 3, 2013 (a.m. session – jury selection; p.m. session – trial), 
June 4-7, 2013, June 10-11, 2013, and, if needed for closing arguments, the morning of June 12, 2013.

The trial day typically will extend from 9:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 or 1:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., with morning and afternoon breaks. The Court notes that this is longer than its typical trial day. The Court reserves the right to extend any given trial day to 5:30 if warranted in order to complete the trial within the dates set aside.

Where Both Sides Left Off

After both sides re-submitted their best arguments and taking the new United States Copyright Office wrinkle into account, Judge Kennelly’s updated Summary Judgement is in. 


The gist of the Copyright Office flap from last time can be summed up by both sides here:

“In connection with the Newly Accused Works. Chapterhouse asserts the affirmative defense that Games Workshop has committed fraud on the copyright office by manipulating this court proceeding and the copyright office in order to withhold information material to the Copyright Office’s determination of registrability with an intent to improperly influence the Copyright Office’s determination.”


“Likewise, no facts supporting a claim of fraud on the Trademark Office have been identified in response to Games Workshop’s discovery requests or in Chapterhouse’s pleadings.
Chapterhouse has not even identified any registered trademarks it purports to challenge. As such, it should not be permitted to surprise Games Workshop at trial.”

– Games Workshop

And Judge Kennelly issued the following:

“Chapterhouse has asked the Court to award it $1,039.00 in out-of-pocket costs that it incurred investigating two of GW’s applications to and correspondence with the Copyright Office as described earlier.”

“Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(e) imposes upon a party who has responded to a request for production of documents a duty to supplement its response “in a timely manner” once the party learns that the response is incorrect or incomplete…If a party fails to comply with Rule 26(e)’s requirements, a court may order payment of reasonable expenses caused by the failure, unless the failure “was substantially justified or is harmless.””

“Having considered these factors, the Court concludes that GW should pay the expenses that Chapterhouse incurred in obtaining GW’s correspondence with the Copyright Office. Beyond the duty to supplement that Rule 26(e) imposes, Chapterhouse specifically asked GW to supplement its production of correspondence with the Copyright Office. GW did not do so but instead withheld correspondence that it knew Chapterhouse had not received, while attempting to contact the Copyright Office for further clarification.”

“In his more recent affidavit dated March 13, 2013, which GW’s attorney submitted with GW’s response to Chapterhouse’s second motion for reconsideration, he again states that as of January 4, he “still had received no substantive communication from the Copyright Office (only a promise to respond to my June 26, 2012 email) . . . .” Id. at 1. This statement does not appear to be accurate. Prior to Carol Frenkel’s January 4 letter denying GW’s application, GW’s attorney received several e-mails from various Copyright Office personnel, most of which commented on the copyrightability of the sculptured shoulder pad. Considering the
circumstances, there is a strong indication that GW’s failure to disclose its correspondence with the Copyright Office was deliberate or at least reckless.

There is lots more. Both sides got in a some jabs on other issues in the updated Summary Judgement, but overall it looks like the copyright claims have been winnowed down in number, and several Chapterhouse defenses have survived pre-trial maneuvering and will make their way to trial before a jury. 

~We will be reporting on the trial over the next two weeks.  Have at it folks.

About the Author: Rob Baer

Virginia Restless, Miniature Painter & Cat Dad. I blame LEGOs. There was something about those little-colored blocks that started it all... Twitter @catdaddymbg
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