D&D Makers Step Up Lawsuit Against Gygax’s Son for Trademark Infringement and Racist RPG
Wizards of the Coast, makers of Dungeons & Dragons, asked the court to stop D&D co-creator Gary Gygax’s son Ernie from using the trademarks of Gygax’s company TSR and Star Frontiers, his sci-fi role-playing game. Wizards of the Coast purchased TSR and its games in 1997, but Ernie Gygax’s company, which uses the TSR name, says Wizards of the Coast has dropped those trademarks and plans to release a new edition of Star Frontiers.
Last year, TSR LLC and Ernie Gygax were accused of making racist and transphobic remarks (opens in a new tab), and recently, a leaked document purporting to be a copy of TSR LLC’s Star Frontiers: New Genesis included racist rules, describing a “Negro” race with below-average intelligence and a “Nordic” race with above-average stats. mean. (LaNasa company shared a Facebook post (opens in a new tab) alleging that the documents are false.)
As reported by GeekWire (opens in a new tab), that seems to have been the last straw for Wizards of the Coast. The company filed an injunction (opens in a new tab) asking the courts to block the release of Star Frontiers: New Genesis while the trademark dispute is resolved.
Wizards’ injunction rests on the argument that, although they did not renew TSR’s trademarks in the national system, they retained their rights to the trademarks by licensing the old game material. for digital distribution since 2012. Additionally, Wizards argues that the release of Star Frontiers: New Genesis would cause irreparable harm to the brand they own, as would the continued use of the TSR brand and trademarks, in specifically saying it is a “degrading and offensive product containing wizarding marks” and comes in the form of Wizards of the Coast has in recent years “redoubled its commitment to diversity and inclusion “.
Ernie Gygax is one of the six children of the late E. Gary Gygax. Ernie Gygax’s company, TSR LLC, was founded by himself, Justin LaNasa and Stephen Dinehart in 2020. Gygax and LaNasa were at the center of controversy last year when Gygax critical (opens in a new tab) Wizards of the Coast’s condemnation of racism and sexism in older D&D products. (Wizards of the Coast also recently apologized and removed racist undertones in a new book.) Dinehart appears to have left TSR LLC, taking his GiantLands game with him.
LaNasa, meanwhile, is the registered owner of the TSR Games trademark, and TSR LLC is registered to it. LaNasa owns a tattoo parlor in North Carolina, as well as the Hobby Shop Dungeon Museum in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. He once campaigned for political office in North Carolina as a Republican, an effort that was widely seen as sunk when his opponent surfaced. a video (opens in a new tab) LaNasa had posted two employees of his tattoo parlor struggling in a pot of oatmeal to become “head shop girl”.
Star Frontiers: New Genesis sparked widespread outcry in July not only for the content of the leaked test version of the game, some of which was allegedly written by LaNasa, but due to the actions of the other quoted author, Dave Johnson. Johnson has been identified with social media accounts that post numerous neo-Nazi and white supremacist materials and memes. A website called No Hate In Gaming has compiled an extensive list of racist, pro-Nazi and other hate messages (opens in a new tab) made by Johnson.
Contacted for comment, Wizards of the Coast said it does not comment on ongoing litigation. PC Gamer has also reached out to TSR LLC for comment.