intellectual property

Protection of video games: Industrial design, patent, or trade secret?

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.

What will YouTube not tell you about an intellectual property infringer?

For years, film distributors have been fighting against illegal sharing of movies on the internet. The enforcement of rights before the courts is hampered in particular by the functioning of the platforms on which the films are posted, including the users’ relative anonymity. In a recent judgment, the Court of Justice of the European Union held that YouTube and Google are not obliged to turn over data to holders of IP rights allowing them to identify users who have infringed their rights. Which data? More below.

I have an idea for a video game. How can I protect it?

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.

Copyright and game jams, hackathons and competitions

Game jamy, hackathony, konkursy to niektóre z metod na zaktywizowanie i zaangażowanie społeczności gamedevowej (o czym świadczy choćby popularność onlinowego ogólnopolskiego game jamu #zostanwdomurobgry, zorganizowanego przez Fundację Indie Games Polska między 30 marca a 6 kwietnia 2020 r. pod patronatem Ministerstwa Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego oraz Ministerstwa Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego Organizacja konkursu, jego rozpropagowanie jest relatywnie nieskomplikowane. Korzyści zaś wydają się być obopólne – uczestnicy mają możliwość zaprezentowania swojej twórczości, zaś organizator konkursu ma dostęp do różnorodnych kreatywnych propozycji. Poniżej krótko wskażemy, jakie wzywania prawnoautorskie stawiają takie konkursy.

The name of the game: Video game titles and trademark protection

Sometimes a video game’s title is one of the game development company’s most important assets. Properly selected, secured and promoted, it may constitute a valuable source of income for a long time. Therefore, at an early stage of work on the game, it is worth making an appropriate application to the register, bearing in mind that in the case of trademarks, the principle of “first come, first served” applies. A well-thought-out strategy for selecting and registering a video game title can also save a lot of nerves and money after the game is launched on the market.

Law vs. imagination

Is the creativity of video game developers limited by architects’ rights to the image of their buildings erected in public space?