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Protection of intellectual property is an important concern in this forum, but I've noticed that the same questions are regularly asked followed by some of the same wrong answers, often finally corrected.

I am not a lawyer, but have run my own book publishing and apparel company for over 6 years, and am now getting into game publishing. I regularly encounter people - even veterans in the publishing industry - who have little clue how copyrights, trademarks and patents really work. US law is a bit of a mess (thanks to some Mickey Mouse lobbyists).

I highly recommend the sources that have I have learned from, Copyright.gov and Nolo Law Press (whose books are very cheap as PDFs).

Copyright

Copyright protects printed works of artistic expression. You do NOT have to register a work for copyright protection, nor are you required to put a copyright notice on your work. You are automatically protected when your work is published (i.e. offered to the public).

Games, however, have virtually no coverage under US Copyright Law:

According to the U.S. Copyright Office:
Quote:
Copyright does not protect the idea for a game, its name or title, or the method or methods for playing it. Nor does copyright protect any idea, system, method, device, or trademark material involved in developing, merchandising, or playing a game. Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles. Copyright protects only the particular manner of an author’s expression in literary, artistic, or musical form.

Material prepared in connection with a game may be subject to copyright if it contains a sufficient amount of literary or pictorial expression. For example, the text matter describing the rules of the game or the pictorial matter appearing on the gameboard or container may be registrable.


To rehash: You can copyright your rules booklet and your artwork, that's about it.

Vanderdecken added some useful information regarding registering copyright in this thread:
Quote:
Great thread and good info. As has been said before, copyrights do not cover game ideas, mechanics or trademarks, but in my opinion registering copyrights are very much worth the small effort and fee to cover the text in rules, cards, and other components, as well as the original art and graphic design used in your game design.

Currently the cost is only $35.00 (in the US) to register online and it's easy enough that you can do it yourself without the assistance of counsel. I've registered a number of copyrights and also found that the folks at the US Copyright Office are easy to reach by phone and very eager to answer questions and offer assistance with the forms.

One benefit of registering is that it creates a definitive time-line and presumption that ownership of the copyright is as set forth in the registration. In addition, if you registered the copyright on a date earlier than the date of an act of unauthorized copying, or under certain other circumstances set forth in the copyright law, then if you prevail in court against the unauthorized copier, you can be eligible for statutory damages and for recovery of attorney's fees.

The benefit of statutory damages and attorney's fees that come from registering a copyright in advance of infringement far outweigh the small bit of time and cost it takes to register a copyright. Lastly, the financial impact of those benefits add an additional level of consequence that an infringing party must contemplate when on the receiving end of cease and desist letter.

http://www.copyright.gov/register/



snicholson explained rather well elsewhere that the idea of mailing yourself documentation of your idea is rather worthless, aka "Poor Man's Copyright"
Quote:
I'm not a lawyer, but I teach copyright basics. You are talking about Poor Man's Copyright. In general, it does not hold up in the courts and should not be relied upon.

From http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html:
"I’ve heard about a “poor man’s copyright.” What is it?

The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration."

From http://www.snopes.com/legal/postmark.asp
"Not in the U.S., but might be of some assistance in Britain"

From http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2006/08/25/the-myth-of-poor-m...
"In the end, PMC has no place in the arsenal of copyright holders, especially if they are American. Other countries, depending on the nuances of their copyright statutes, may have some use for it. However, even then, there are much better, cheaper and easier methods available. I seriously doubt that PMC is a good option for anyone, let alone the best.

It is time to crush this myth once and for all. If we, as copyright holders, are going to get serious about protecting our works, we can't let ourselves cave into convenient myths and misguided ideas. PMC is useless and, no matter how much want it to be a practical solution, it never will be."


Related: Public Domain
Works in the public domain have no copyright. Books and images published before 1923 in the US, as well as all works produced by the US government (including NASA photos) are public domain and can be used for any purpose. Public domain pictures are a great source of artwork for those of us challenged in the visual arts. (For more details, see this post.)

To put something in the public domain, you should issue a written statement to that effect, dedicating the works. You then have no control over the work and cannot reclaim them.

Related: Creative Commons
Creative commons is a rather new development which provides a template for a designer or artist to license work to the general public and choose which rights they want to keep, without micromanaging individual requests. For instance, you can say you will allow the public to reproduce your work, but not profit from it or remix it. This is perhaps the best option for Print & play games.



Trademarks

From the U.S. Government:
Quote:
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Throughout this booklet, the terms "trademark" and "mark" refer to both trademarks and service marks.

Do Trademarks, Copyrights and Patents protect the same things?

No. Trademarks, copyrights and patents all differ. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work; a patent protects an invention. For copyright information, go to http://www.copyright.gov . For patent information, go to http://www.uspto.gov/main/patents.htm .


Thematic elements of games can be trademarks, names, character names, or even fictional tech terms. Examples include Star Wars, Pokemon, or even the word "Droid," which you may have noticed in recent Verizon commercials. Also, MTG Mana and Tap symbols are Trademarks of Wizards of the Coast. The name of the game can also be a trademark (which I have heard is why MtG is called "Magic the Gathering" and not "Magic")

If you have specifics of a theme to protect, a Trademark (which also does not have to be registered to be in effect) is what you want. Also, be careful not to infringe on Trademarks of others.

Patents

Patents protect inventions, which for us game designers translates into mechanics.

Two well-known patents are Magic: The Gathering 's tap mechanic (U.S. Patent 5,662,332) and the patent on board printing mechanics used in Scrabble for scoring. [Updated: WoTC's patent is for several claims that describe the whole game of Magic: The Gathering]

Unlike trademarks or copyrights, patents DO have to be registered.

Unlike trademarks and copyrights, there is a deadline for registering a patent (1 year from the "public" being given the chance to know about it), so if you are considering patenting talk to an attorney early in the process.


What does this all mean?

How do I protect my work?

Just by making your game available to the public, you have claimed copyright protection for the artwork (unless you licensed it from someone else). By continually using certain elements, you will have a trademark defense.

If someone violates your copyright, you can send a Cease and Desist letter. One is provided in the Nolo Press Copyright Handbook. That is usually enough.

You can far better protect your game by making a superior product. Playtest, procure premium components, do something different. Fantasy Flight's Games are hard to produce due to the quality of the bits they procure. Puerto Rico's simultaneous role selection mechanic has defined a new genre (notice how we sometimes refer to Race for the Galaxy as "Puerto Rico in Space) or refer to tile-laying games as "Like Carcassonne."

What should I register?

If you are going to create a line of games on a similar theme, I'd consider registering a trademark. If you have a very unique new mechanic, consider filing for a patent. In my humble opinion, it is not worth registering any copyrights for games.

What does registering give me?

Registering a copyright, trademark or patent gives you a slightly stronger defense. If you made a game available to the public, even as a print and play, and 2 years later someone registers a copyright on the rules sheet, you may very well have a stronger case, since you published it first and were the first to obtain the de facto copyright.

Can someone steal my game/Can I use elements from someone else's game?

Sure, as long as:

1) The artwork is different
2) The "expression of the rules" are different
3) No trademarks are infringed
4) No patents are infringed

This is may be why web developers such as ASObrain can offer Settlers and Carcassonne clones without paying royalties or requiring permission.

So sure, you could publish a game that works exactly like Settlers of Catan or Star Wars: Queen's Gambit as long as you did not use the name, artwork, or licenses.

Straight up copying a game is generally not a good idea though, as you will have a hard time marketing and selling a game that already exists in a more popular incarnation.

Will such-and-such be ok to do? Will it hold up in court?


No one knows, even the lawyers. It's up to the judge to interpret the law in each case.

For this reason I like the Nolo law books, as they are legal reference books written by lawyers and used by lawyers, but down to earth enough for us lay folks. Even those authors admit they don't know how every case would be handled by the judge, but they cite a lot of precedent.

If you make a clone of a game that seems legal in every way, it will not stop a zealous IP lawyer for a company sending you a Cease and Desist. Games Workshop is a prime example most of us are familiar with, sending C&D letters when fair use may have been a legitimate, even strong defense. But legal battles are costly, and often a C&D is all it takes to get someone to back down.

Also, since trademarks and copyrights need not be registered, a company can suddenly argue that a particular color scheme, use of a font, or term are trademarks of their company, and the judge can rule either way on that.

How do I lose my intellectual property?

Here's the US expirations:

Copyright: 70 years after creator's death (make sure you specify beneficiaries in your will)
Patent: 20 years (from date of filing, if filed after 1995)
Trademark: Registered, 10 years. Otherwise, as long as you use and defend it.

Giving them away:

You can license your work, giving another person or company the rights to use your work, exclusively or non-exclusively. This is what happens in publishing. You can outright sell the IP too, but this is generally not a smart thing to do. License rights can be restricted by territory too. There is a lot out there on different options, best to have an IP lawyer look over the terms of the contract.

The company may have you sign a non-compete agreement, that bars you from marketing or selling a product that is similar. It works around the IP rights to protect the publisher from having you market the game elsewhere.

You can dedicate your work to the public domain.

If you create the work for an employer, it may be considered a work for hire, and your employer owns the copyright not you. Review your contract with your employer on this; I have had some employers who claimed work for hire on ANYTHING I created on company time, even that which was unrelated to my job or their products and services.



------------------------

I will try to keep this post updated with relevant gems of knowledge from the thread below. Please correct me where I am wrong (and cite sources) and add other relevant information I might have missed. I know that there are many of you more knowledgeable that I on this matter.
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Philip Lewis
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Well said, this is right on the nose with what I learned in various intellectual property courses in law school.
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Lacombe
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overtheboard wrote:
Related: Creative Commons
Creative commons is a rather new development which allows a designer or artist to license work to the general public and choose which rights they want to keep. For instance, you can say you will allow the public to reproduce your work, but not profit from it or remix it. This is perhaps the best option for Print & play games.


Note that from time immemorial, authors have had the ability to relinquish or maintain whichsoever "exclusive rights" of copyright they chose.

All Creative Commons does is provide a template for doing so in a number of configurations which are commonly used by people wishing to freely license some, but not all, of their exclusive rights to the general public.

If you want, you could part out "page 4" of your rules but not "page 5", or license the reproduction of tile art but require purchase of counter art, etc, etc or anything else that is not explicitly covered in a standard Creative Commons license. You can build your own template.


Quote:
Themes of games can be trademarks, such as Star Wars, Pokemon, or even the word "Droid," which you may have noticed in recent Verizon commercials. Also, MTG Mana and Tap symbols are Trademarks of Wizards of the Coast.

If you have a theme to protect, a Trademark (which also does not have to be registered to be in effect) is what you want. Also, be careful not to infringe on Trademarks of others.


This is kind of misleading, because we tend to think about "theme" as ideas, which are not copyrightable, trademarkable, or patentable.

If you can make a "Star Wars themed" game and somehow manage not to mention "Star Wars", "Princess Leia," "lightsabers," "Skywalker," "Darth Vader", or use any of the logos, trademarked graphics, copyrighted lines of dialogue, or otherwise representational material that defines the "theme", you're scot-free.

Of course, at that point, the theme will only be implied, but that's what most "themes" are anyway. They're only as "strong" as we make them.
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Paul Nowak
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Thanks guys. Tweaked the verbiage in the original post a bit.
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overtheboard wrote:
Thanks guys. Tweaked the verbiage in the original post a bit.


Cool.

Something tells me that NDAs and exclusivity contracts might actually be more important to game publishing than all this, though, but I'm not familiar with the insides of the business.

I can see a publisher saying "Ok, we'll publish your game, but we want the exclusive publishing rights for all future reprints." That could be death if they botch the job and you need out.

Contract negotiations seem the much more important "intellectual property" topic, to me, for board game publishing, where it's not really likely or easy for someone to pirate your stuff.

Are there stories of actual copyright or trademark infringement to speak of in board game publishing history? Except for the infamous rumors / speculation surrounding Monopoly, are there others?
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overtheboard wrote:
Themes of games can be trademarks, such as Star Wars, Pokemon, or even the word "Droid," which you may have noticed in recent Verizon commercials.

That said, trademarks are specific to the context in which they are used. That's why you can have both a football team and a line of SUVs called "Broncos" (okay, Ford doesn't make Broncos anymore, but you get it).

The key issue, as I recall, is whether the duplication of name is likely to cause confusion in the minds of consumers. So, for example, unlike the situation with the word "bronco," nobody's going to expect that if you call your product "Spider-Man" you're not associated with the Marvel Comics character (even if you manage to find some product market that Marvel isn't already in).

So it's possible that Motorola could have defended itself from questions of infringement over "droid," since LucasFilm would not reasonably be expected to be in the mobile phone business. But a license agreement certainly ensures that they don't have to find out.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
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Benjamin Maggi
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As a guitar collector, one of the easiest ways to understand "Trademarks" is to look at two brands of guitars: Fender and Rickenbacker.

Fender didn't try early enough to protect its trademarked shaped guitars (like the Strat and Telecaster) and as a result anyone can market guitars shaped like them, though they cannot put the words "Fender" on them. (Some Asian import brands illegally do though).

Rickenbacker, from the very beginning, fought hard to proect their trademark shaped guitars (including the headstock shape, guitar body shape, bent triangle truss-rod cover shape) and they take anybody to court who creates guitars that look like theirs. "Clones." They know that they must do this, because if they let a few get in then they will lose the protection of their Trademark.

NOTE: Trademarks only are valuable in countries that protect them. Many countries in Asia, for example, have very loose trademark protection laws and any knock-offs can be produced there.

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Paul Nowak
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NateStraight wrote:


Something tells me that NDAs and exclusivity contracts might actually be more important to game publishing than all this, though, but I'm not familiar with the insides of the business.

I can see a publisher saying "Ok, we'll publish your game, but we want the exclusive publishing rights for all future reprints." That could be death if they botch the job and you need out.

Contract negotiations seem the much more important "intellectual property" topic, to me, for board game publishing, where it's not really likely or easy for someone to pirate your stuff.



I'd like to see someone take up NDAs too (generally I think they are worthless for games, since the publisher could copy it anyway, or will be honorable enough not to require it, rater like a prenup).

With the growth of ease in self-publishing and the print-and-play concept, it does seem the best way to protect your work is release the prototype as a print and play, get playtesters, refine the idea, give people a taste of the game, evaluate the market before committing capital to production. Besides, one the P&P version is available, your game is "published" and any trademarks or copyrights in that edition are protected form that point on.

If you only show a publisher your prototype, you have NO claim to copyright or trademark rights unless registered since the work is not public. I was wrong. Copyright starts from when you originated the work (if it ever was applicable).
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Tim Stellmach
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Alongside with how various IP rights are acquired, it would probably be a good idea to note how they can be lost. In a nutshell, copyright basically lasts forever these days, patents last a good while but not your lifetime, and trademarks need to be both used regularly and defended from infringement.
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Here's an interesting example from DealExtreme in Hong Kong:


Regarding copyright and trademark, it seems they did nothing wrong.

However, the publishers of Blokus might win a case stating that the colors used in the packaging are similar to their "trademark" packaging of their game.

Then again, the foreign publishers might have succeeded even if they had called their game "Block Us" or "Block You" (which is how my 5-year-old daughter plays it anyway), using a different font.

Either way, I think it was a bad publishing move since the knock-off costs as much as the original. Why by the clone when the original is just as cheap and readily available?

Production costs are actually board games' best IP defense.

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timstellmach wrote:
Alongside with how various IP rights are acquired, it would probably be a good idea to note how they can be lost. In a nutshell, copyright basically lasts forever these days, patents last a good while but not your lifetime, and trademarks need to be both used regularly and defended from infringement.


Certainly. And, what I was alluding to [really] in talking about NDAs / exclusivity / non-competes, how they can be given away. Licensing / negotiations / contracts seem, to me, the real heart of IP discussion in board game publishing, but I could be mistaken.
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Randy Snyder
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I thought part of the reason for creating "Creative Commons," was due to the fact that there is no way to actually put something into the "Public Domain."

If there is a way to do this, can you give a brief description of how that is done?
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randusnuder wrote:
I thought part of the reason for creating "Creative Commons," was due to the fact that there is no way to actually put something into the "Public Domain."

If there is a way to do this, can you give a brief description of how that is done?


From http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/...
Quote:
If, upon viewing a work, you see words such as "This work is dedicated to the public domain, " then it is free for you to use. That's because sometimes an author deliberately chooses not to protect a work and dedicates the work to the public. This type of dedication is rare and unless there is express authorization placing the work in the public domain, do not assume that the work is free to use.


I know I've seen websites where the author has done this with their works, but cannot find the example. Basically, instead of putting a copyright notice, you put somewhere on the work, "I dedicate this work to the public domain."

That's it!

The dedication only applies to that version of the work though. If you change anything in a later edition you have a copyright on that new edition.

Interesting note from the same page (since P&P is not unlike Shareware)
Quote:
Shareware is a system of marketing software. It is distributed at no charge on a trial basis and if the recipient likes the software and intends to use it, a fee is paid. Freeware is software that is made available to the public for free. Unlike shareware, there are no fees. Both of these forms of software are protected under copyright law and you cannot reproduce or distribute these programs unless authorized by the copyright owners --even if you got them for free. For example, in one case, a company gathered various shareware programs and offered them in a CD-ROM collection, despite warnings on the shareware prohibiting such use. A court ruled that the shareware, originally placed on the Internet for free distribution, was entitled to copyright protection. Therefore, do not assume because you acquired a work for free that it is in the public domain.


This is where Creative Commons is useful. Instead of just giving the work away, or keeping all rights, it provides a framework so the public knows what they can and cannot do with your free work.

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randusnuder wrote:
I thought part of the reason for creating "Creative Commons," was due to the fact that there is no way to actually put something into the "Public Domain."

If there is a way to do this, can you give a brief description of how that is done?


Copyright owners can freely abandon any or all of their exclusive rights as they so choose, and have always been able to.

To put something in the public domain, you just say so [basically]. Or, alternatively, you can imply it and just never enforce your copyright which accomplishes effectively, but not legally, the same thing.

And, as Paul just pointed out, it's important to define phrases like "free to the public" and "in the public domain" very carefully.
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NateStraight wrote:
timstellmach wrote:
Alongside with how various IP rights are acquired, it would probably be a good idea to note how they can be lost. In a nutshell, copyright basically lasts forever these days, patents last a good while but not your lifetime, and trademarks need to be both used regularly and defended from infringement.


Certainly. And, what I was alluding to [really] in talking about NDAs / exclusivity / non-competes, how they can be given away. Licensing / negotiations / contracts seem, to me, the real heart of IP discussion in board game publishing, but I could be mistaken.


Good point. Work for hire comes in here. For example, the copyright on everything I create for my employer is held by the company, not me personally.
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Paul Nowak
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timstellmach wrote:


Good point. Work for hire comes in here. For example, the copyright on everything I create for my employer is held by the company, not me personally.


Yeah, work for hire is one of the last forms of legal slavery. Sometimes the employee contracts are stated as "anything you create on company time."

So if you make a game on your paid lunch break at work, technically your employer owns it, not you, since they have sold yourself to them for that period of time. devil

But that's another issue - but be careful about when you do game designing if you work for someone else.
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Philip Lewis
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Work for Hire has to be specifically declared or within the scope of employment. Most contracts will do that with a provision to that effect.

However, that contract provision is likely to only relate to the field in which the employer practices. i.e. a software company may have a reasonable claim on software or software related documentation you write while on company time but barring strange contract construction, it likely will not be able to reach, say, a portrait that you painted on company time.

*edit for format
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philewis wrote:
Work for Hire has to be specifically declared, most contracts will do that with a provision to that effect. However, that contract provision is likely to only relate to the field in which the employer practices. i.e. a software company may have a reasonable claim on software or software related documentation you write while on company time but barring strange contract construction, it likely will not be able to reach, say, a portrait that you painted on company time.


They're generally not going to be interested, but I did have an employer put such a blanket statement in the contract, and I would not have trusted them to go after anything they thought was worth money.

It can be used as a deterrent from engaging in hobbies on company time as well.

By the way, Hulu has a very funny episode of "Better off Ted" up that deals with this, when work for hire comes into play over a chidlren's book an employee made on company time: http://www.hulu.com/watch/115252/better-off-ted-the-lawyer-t...
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So sure, you could publish a game that works exactly like Settlers of Catan or Star Wars: Queen's Gambit as long as you did not use the name, artwork, or licenses.


But you may NOT try to make it look like the original thing. For example, you should not put your PNP game into the files section of Star War's: Queen's Gambit. Because the owners of the trademark will declare that you (ab)use their IP to market your game, even if the game is not called SW: QG. Also, you must not sell stuff on ebay and say it is like [insert trademark here].
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The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. - GKC
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Thamos von Nostria wrote:
Quote:
So sure, you could publish a game that works exactly like Settlers of Catan or Star Wars: Queen's Gambit as long as you did not use the name, artwork, or licenses.


But you may NOT try to make it look like the original thing. For example, you should not put your PNP game into the files section of Star War's: Queen's Gambit. Because the owners of the trademark will declare that you (ab)use their IP to market your game, even if the game is not called SW: QG. Also, you must not sell stuff on ebay and say it is like [insert trademark here].


Thanks for the reminder - you may not market the game at all saying it is "like" or "similar" to another. Notice the Blokus clone makes no such allusion, although they went so far as to put fake award stickers on the box design.
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Nick Witchey
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There are some very interesting strategies that can be deployed behind building a patent portfolio. For example, one could file their rules as a provisional patent application (filing fee of $110) to be able to state the game is "patent pending". The filer has one year to file a corresponding utility application, if desired. The utility application can be expensive, $8K to $10K, depedening on which IP firm is employed. Less expensive options exist, but you get what you pay for.

Another resource for describing patent concepts, strategies, and tactics include Strategic Patenting, which can be read for free here: http://www.fishiplaw.com/home/strategic-patenting.html. Some of the information in the book is a bit stale. The book is in the process of being rewritten to reflect recent changes in patent prosecution including the Bilski case result and introduction of accelerated examination.

Full disclosure: I work as a patent agent in the firm that produced the above book.

In a very real sense, patenting is very similar to playing a complex strategy game with a 3000 page rule book: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/index.htm.

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Tim Stellmach
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overtheboard wrote:
Yeah, work for hire is one of the last forms of legal slavery.

Well, I'm more than willing to sell the rights to my stuff outright, and that being the case it makes more sense than having to assign everything specifically. So I think work for hire has its place. Not to say that everybody in a work for hire arrangement prefers it that way.

Quote:
Sometimes the employee contracts are stated as "anything you create on company time."

... or they can be even more broad than that. Particularly if you draw a salary there's not necessarily any such notion as "company time."

But perhaps we digress.
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Tim Stellmach
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overtheboard wrote:
Thanks for the reminder - you may not market the game at all saying it is "like" or "similar" to another.

This is as good a time as any to mention that a similar principle (the Right of Publicity) applies to individuals as to trademarks. So even if you file the serial numbers off a Reiner Knizia game, you need his permission to go promoting your game as being based on his work.

I don't know that it comes up much, but I recall it being a side issue in a recent discussion of credits.
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Paul Nowak
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Toxidyne wrote:

Another resource for describing patent concepts, strategies, and tactics include Strategic Patenting, which can be read for free here: http://www.fishiplaw.com/home/strategic-patenting.html. Some of the information in the book is a bit stale. The book is in the process of being rewritten to reflect recent changes in patent prosecution including the Bilski case result and introduction of accelerated examination.

Full disclosure: I work as a patent agent in the firm that produced the above book.

In a very real sense, patenting is very similar to playing a complex strategy game with a 3000 page rule book: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/index.htm.



Thanks for joining the discussion and posting the link. I've not dealt with patents at all so that is my weakest area in all of this.


timstellmach wrote:
overtheboard wrote:
Yeah, work for hire is one of the last forms of legal slavery.

Well, I'm more than willing to sell the rights to my stuff outright, and that being the case it makes more sense than having to assign everything specifically. So I think work for hire has its place. Not to say that everybody in a work for hire arrangement prefers it that way.

Quote:
Sometimes the employee contracts are stated as "anything you create on company time."

... or they can be even more broad than that. Particularly if you draw a salary there's not necessarily any such notion as "company time."

But perhaps we digress.


Yes, sorry about starting a tangent over a pet peeve.

timstellmach wrote:
overtheboard wrote:
Thanks for the reminder - you may not market the game at all saying it is "like" or "similar" to another.

This is as good a time as any to mention that a similar principle (the Right of Publicity) applies to individuals as to trademarks. So even if you file the serial numbers off a Reiner Knizia game, you need his permission to go promoting your game as being based on his work.

I don't know that it comes up much, but I recall it being a side issue in a recent discussion of credits.


Politicians and elected officials used to be an area where Right of Publicity does not necessarily apply, but of course anyone can challenge it, as The Governator did.
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Scott B
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I have nothing technical to add, but I want to say I LOVE THIS THREAD.
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