By Tom Jolly
IN THE GAME INDUSTRY, COPYRIGHT, TRADEMARKS, AND PATENTS DON’T WORK. WE NEED SOMETHING ELSE.
“Recently, a federal court in Texas handed down a judgment that game mechanics aren’t covered by copyright laws. The makers of the card game “Bang!” had brought the case against Ziko Games’ “Legends of the Three Kingdoms” for copying their game mechanics with a new theme. It’s old news that a copyright can’t protect game mechanics, so I wasn’t surprised. Trademark wouldn’t have helped, either.
Regarding patent law, the picture isn’t a lot rosier. The blog article I read about this, fromBGD Legal (who should change their name to BGG Legal, perhaps), mentions that “Patent law can protect the rules and methods of game play, and patents directed to methods of playing card games have been issued (Magic: The Gathering, Apples to Apples). However, the courts’ evolving interpretation of patent-eligible subject matter has made obtaining patent protection on rules and methods of game play more challenging……”
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