Amazing Stories

(The) Winter (2018 Issue) Is Coming

The Winter 2018 issue of Amazing Stories is almost here.

We’re now doing final look-sees at the copy being prepared for the printer and I thought I’d share the contents and TOC-blurbs with you all to whet your appetites and remind you that the gift-giving holidays will be following the mid-term elections (VOTE) by only a few short weeks.  For some reason, we all here believe that a subscription (electronic or print) to Amazing Stories makes for a wonderful gift. (Here.)

But first I want to take a detour into Trademark Land.

The other day I happened across a news item mentioning the “misappropriation” of HBO’s iconic Game of Thrones trademark “Winter is Coming®” by the Trump campaign.

In a statement to CNBC, HBO said, “We were not aware of this messaging and would prefer our trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes.”

HBO’s official Twitter account followed up soon after, asking, “How do you say trademark misuse in Dothraki?” referring to a fictional language used by one of the groups in the show.

HBO stated that they weren’t taking any further action.

Could they have taken action?  It’s a good question.  HBO would argue that such usage diminishes their brand’s value and associates their brand with things they’d rather not be associated with, such as a toxic presidency.  The campaign would argue some variation of fair use and also, probably, that it is unlikely that most of their constituency are not the highly intellectual, broadly read and genre-media engaged types that enjoy such fare and are therefore unlikely to make the connection between the campaign slogan and the show, preferring so-called Reality-TV shows instead.

But it did prompt me to take a look at the trademarks that have been registered for the phrase “Winter is Coming®“.

Seven applications were made, five have been granted.  Of those five, four are owned by HBO.  They cover – slot machines, online and retail stores, mugs and drinking glasses, and clothing.

The fifth is registered to a Chinese company and cover – antennas, bags for laptops, phone cases, electronic couplers, plugs, eyeglass cases, eyeglass chains, sunglasses, protective helmets and related products.  Which probably won’t be sold in HBO’s online store.

The remaining two applications that have been abandoned are for wines and clothing and fabrics, neither application being made by HBO.

Which reminded me of the recent attempts by some parties to trademark broadly used phrases in the romance genre, probably attempts at semi-legal extortion.  (Get the phrase trademarked and then send around cease and desist threats to a lot of people who likely aren’t familiar with trademarks and willing to settle for small fees.)

Which reminded me of the fact that the use of intellectual property rights – specifically trademarks – are probably an under-utilized resource witthin our fields.  A few long-running conventions have trademarked (or service marked) their names, Worldcon℠ being one of them (Organizing, Promoting and Conducting Conventions in the Field of Science Fiction and Fantasy.) as well as the Hugo Award℠ (the Designation and Recognition of Achievement by Persons in the Field of Science Fiction and Fantasy Through the Presentation of Awards) and a very small number of authors including Miller & Lee’s Liaden Universe® (Series of science fiction books; magazine stories, featured in publications of others, in the field of science fiction).  This, in large contrast to related fields such as comics, gaming and media.

Experimenter Publishing (us, here) also engage in utilizing intellectual property.  A handful of other publishers do as well.

This lack of engagement is probably owing to a lack of familiarity (why bother?) and concern over complicated and likely expensive legal entanglement.  Well, “why bother” is easily answered, especially for authors:  you assert copyright to protect your works and maximize your return, not to mention protecting, preserving and enhancing your brand.  A Trademark, of the proper kind and registered in the appropriate class(es) can support, enhance and add value as well.  (And it can’t hurt when selling subsidiary rights, such as film options.)

The expense thing?  Yes, it can be expensive.  There’s the per-class filing fee, the research fee and the dollars you pay to an attorney to write up the application and the statement of use description (several of which can be seen above next to their trademark names)  You’ve got to provide appropriate “samples” of the goods/services using the trademark(s) and other related expenses.

There is, however, a way around a lot of that.  I, your humble publisher, have successfully applied for and been granted numerous trademarks (patents too) both for myself and for others, and have done so for much less (and in less time) than the formal process most people go through.

I may sound like I’m edging off into “inventhelp” territory (we can help you patent and bring your ideas to market!), but I assure you, I am not.  I’ve got over twenty years of working in intellectual property – managing an IP portfilio, creating and shepherding trademark and patent applications through the process (working with attorneys) and have the grants that demonstrate I know what I’m doing.

I’m seriously considering offering a service to authors (small press too), one that will not cost nearly as much as using an attorney (or will reduce your attorney time when you use an attorney), by someone familiar with the needs of authors and publishers.  I use what I’ve learned for myself (Amazing Stories, Amazing Stories, AmazingCon) and there’s a host I’ve prepared for others.

I’ll belabor the point that I have successfully licensed the Amazing Stories name several times, acquiring revenue from sources that have little direct relationship to the business of publishing a magazine.

If you’d like to explore the possibilities of what I might be able to do for your brand with trademarks, .

And now that I’ve dragged you through all of that – here’s what you’ll find in the very next issue of Amazing Stories:

Cover:  M.D. Jackson illustrating part 2 of Allen Steele’s Captain Future in Love

Editorial Ira Nayman
There are always new ideas in science fiction, but those who crave them must look in new places.
ARTIST: MATT TAGGART

Nina Allan Interview by Gary Dalkin
An interview with Nina Allan, author of The Race and The Rift, and winner of the British Science Fiction Association Award.

Citizens of the Solar System by Jack Clemons
Science columnist Jack Clemons explores why we’re here and where space exploration could go.
ARTIST: AL SIROIS

Captain Future in Love (conclusion) by Allen Steele
Curt Newton’s story of his youthful encounter with Ashi Lanyr on the orbital Venera Stratos concludes.
ARTIST: HMW / NIZAR

Robot on Rampage by Lena Ng
Not only can girls build robots, they can outsmart them.
ARTIST: RICHARD MANDRACHIO

The Asteroid Contention by Marina J. Lostetter
Two asteroid-prospecting sisters get more than they bargained for when they lay claim to a strange space rock.
ARTIST: TOM MILLER

Bold New Flock by Neal Holtschulte
A young idealist pushes for a new and unique method of thought and collaboration, but others think his idea is for the birds.
ARTIST: IVAN MONTOYA

The Ransom of Red Robot (Beta) by Daniel M. Kimmel
With a nod to O. Henry, a tale of a kidnapping that doesn’t go as expected.
ARTIST: JOE ENO

Reset in Peace by Julie Novakova
If you could revive your loved ones who’d passed, albeit in the form of a software simulation, would you?
ARTIST: M.D. JACKSON

In the Republic of the Blind by G. Scott Huggins
When their colony is offered the “mercy” of genetic perfection, no one will fight harder than the midwives of station Stillhere.
ARTIST: SEAN CHAPPEL

Alison’s Bluff by Noah Chinn
What do elite psychic agents do when they’re off duty? Take a night of poker to a new level, naturally!
ARTIST: MATT TAGGART

A Horse and Her Boy by Vonnie Winslow Crist
William’s parents have an equine automaton made to keep him company on their lonely space habitat.
ARTIST: RON MILLER

SF in Film by Steve Fahnestalk
Film columnist Steve Fahnestalk interviews Miles Teves, who has been responsible for some of films most iconic visuals.
ARTIST: STAFF

Off the Top of My Head by Shirley Meier
In her first column on the writer’s life, Shirley Meier tackles the age-old question, “Where do you get your ideas from?”
ARTIST: STAFF

Maybe we’ll have a cover reveal in the next few days….

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