When the concept for a video game takes shape, and an unprotected idea becomes a protected form of expression, the developer can consider how best to protect the game or elements of the game against copying by competitors. When thinking about legal protection of a video game, it is natural to refer to copyright law. But that is not the only potential source of protection. It is worth examining whether and to what extent elements of the game can be protected through industrial designs, patents, or perhaps trade secrets.Continue reading “Protection of video games: Industrial design, patent, or trade secret?”
This is one of the most often asked questions. The answer is difficult and equivocal. On one hand, a good idea is half the way to success. On the other hand, ideas are regarded as free and should not be monopolised, but a specific manner or form of expression of an idea can be the subject of copyright protection. However, drawing the line between an unprotected idea and a protected manner of expression is a difficult challenge that depends on the specific factual circumstances. First it must be determined what can be protected in a computer game, and then how these elements can best be protected.Continue reading “I have an idea for a video game. How can I protect it?”
Game jams, hackathons and competitions are some of the methods for activating and engaging the game development community (as demonstrated for example by the popularity of Poland’s nationwide online game jam #zostanwdomurobgry, held by the Indie Games Polska Foundation on 30 March – 6 April 2020 under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education). Organising and promoting a competition is relatively uncomplicated. There are benefits on both sides. The participants have an opportunity to present their work, and the organiser gains access to a range of creative proposals. But such competitions pose copyright challenges, as we discuss below.Continue reading “Copyright and game jams, hackathons and competitions”
In recent months, perhaps more than ever, life has moved online. Some people spend their time reading e-books or playing video games. Can they later resell or exchange such “used” works? A recent ruling by the Court of Justice throws into doubt the secondary trading in digital goods.
Nederlands Uitgeversverbond v Tom Kabinet Internet BV (Case C‑263/18), judgment of the Court of Justice of 19 December 2019Continue reading “End of the road for the secondary market in e-books and video games?”
Are computer games still a niche product, or have they entered the mainstream? The possibility of registering a trademark similar to an earlier mark turns on this issue.
Kalypso Media Group GmbH v EUIPO, Case T‑700/18 (judgment of the General Court of 10 October 2019)
The computer game industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy, in Poland as elsewhere. Dynamic growth carries the risk of disputes affecting various aspects of gaming.
A case recently reached the docket of the General Court (a division of the Court of Justice of the European Union) concerning the application for registration of an EU trademark for the word sign DUNGEONS by Kalypso Media Group GmbH. The application was opposed by Wizards of the Coast LLC, proprietor of the earlier EU word mark DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. The European Union Intellectual Property Office upheld the opposition and denied registration of DUNGEONS, finding that there was a likelihood of confusion with the earlier mark DUNGEONS & DRAGONS.Continue reading ““Dungeons” similar to “Dungeons & Dragons””
According to a Eurobarometer survey, 42% of EU-based SMEs – sellers, game companies or for instance online travel agents – use online platforms to sell their products and services. As many as 82% of these firms use search engines on these platforms to promote their products and services.
Online platforms are a huge force driving the e-economy, through which SMEs have unlimited access to millions of prospective customers. They are becoming increasingly important as vital go-betweens in online transacting of business. The operators of these online platforms are well aware of this and frequently exploit this reliance in platform-to-business relationships with firms offering their products and services to end customers.