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"Legal rights to the slottabase?" Topic

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian11 Sep 2023 8:29 p.m. PST

Just curious if anyone knows the origin story of the plastic slottabase, and whether anyone owns the rights to it?

I know there were also metal slottabases (oval-shaped), but I don't know if they were a precursor or not to the plastic slottabases.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2023 8:51 p.m. PST

What rights? There's no "right" to a slotted base; it's not artistic. The only possible thing would be a patent, which if it exists would probably belong to Games Workshop.

Zephyr111 Sep 2023 9:05 p.m. PST

If it was patented, that is probably long expired by now. Trademarked, most likely not, as other companies also put out similar "slottabases" (though not calling them that… ;-)

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2023 11:09 p.m. PST

Subbuteo soccer game used slotted bases beginning in 1950s I believe

Round bottom base with a washer. Over the years several versions of slotted figures went into the top section. Some of the first figure painting I did.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2023 7:34 a.m. PST

If a lawyer smells Money there is.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2023 8:11 a.m. PST

No, there isn't.

Copyright only applies to artistic expression (even if it's bad art). Processes, formulas, functional designs, methods, etc., are solely protected by patents.

A slotted base is not a work of art by any stretch. Thus there are no inherent intellectual property rights to such a thing. There might be patent rights on the functionality, but only if a patent is applied for and eventually granted (neither a trivial nor a cheap endeavor). Absent this, ya got nothin'.

Heck, game mechanics aren't protected by copyright: link
If that's the case, no way in Hades is a slottabase protected, absent a patent.

GurKhan12 Sep 2023 8:12 a.m. PST

The term "slottabase" could be trademarked, presumably. Don't know if anyone ever did so.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2023 8:30 a.m. PST

If GW owned a Patent on slotta-bases, they would have had their lawyers all over every competitor, years ago. Since they have not sent out cease-and-desist letters, they have no Patent.

Patents cost upwards of $10,000 USD, in the USA. Patents are typically only good for 10 years; Copyrights and Trademarks last much longer. I believe Patents are similar to Copyrights and Trademarks, though: if you get one, and you do not defend it, you lose it, before the 10-year expiration. Cheers!

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2023 8:55 a.m. PST

Further to Sgt Slag's wise comments, patents are over-rated; the company that I do consulting work for uses old tech but great tech and their go-to is Trade Secrets (i.e. they make stuff that is hard to duplicate unless you really, really know how to make it)

Griefbringer12 Sep 2023 11:44 p.m. PST

As for the specific term "Slottabase", Games Workshop did trademark registration for it in UK in the early 1990's:


Games Workshop released first plastic slottabases in 1984.

In the 1980's GW also released non-slotted plastic bases to accompany some of their plastic figures (skeletons and 40K figures), though in the early 1990's they shifted to slotted bases for the plastics (perhaps for the ease of assembly). In the late 1990's, GW started largely moving back to non-slotted bases for their plastics, and with the transition from metal/resin to plastic figures, slotted bases seem to have become quite marginal for them by now.

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