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Disgruntled shop owner sues Games Workshop for $62.5 million

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A US hobby store owner has filed a lawsuit against Warhammer maker Games Workshop to the tune of more than $60 million.

David Moore, a law school graduate who is representing himself, has accused the publisher of several offences including fraud, price fixing, breach of contract, tortious interference, conspiracy and anti-trust violations.

Among the finer details of Moore’s filing (uploaded at Spiky Bits) is the claim that Games Workshop ‘stole’ the ideas for its Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 models and games from J.R.R. Tolkien, Alien designer H.R. Giger, ‘80s wargame BattleTech and author Robert Heinlein, who helped popularise the concept of ‘space marines’.

Moore also alleges that the company “connives to steal from we retailers by illegal price fixing” and “feigns an ‘accidental’ Monopoly on sci-fi/fantasy wargaming”, criticising the apparent ‘pump and dump’ sale of models at a 50,000% markup after being cheaply produced in China.

Moore’s complaints are varied and many, attacking Games Workshop for everything from enforcing a limitation on advertised price discounts and limiting stock for shops in order to drive customers to its online store, to the publisher’s own claim that Moore was selling counterfeit Warhammer products and subsequent limitation of stock, leading to the ‘all but destruction’ of the retailer’s shops after two decades.

“They have intentionally re-tasked into a criminal scheme fronting as a ‘game manufacturer’ to carry out a racketeering enterprise of organized crime, lies, fraud, misrepresentation, price-fixing, credit card/billing fraud, intimidation, unfair trade practices, bait-&-switch tactics; and, theft of intellectual property, merchandise and monies – against their own distributors and retailers,” Moore writes in one particularly inflammatory paragraph.

All in all, Moore is seeking $62.5 million from Games Workshop, including $12.5 million in damages, plus the nullification of all of the publisher’s copyrights.

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