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Feature: 'Patent Strategy in the Game Industry'

In the latest exclusive Gamasutra feature, lawyers Boyd and Moersfelder, who regularly represent game companies, address the
May 25, 2007
In the latest exclusive Gamasutra feature, lawyers Boyd and Moersfelder, who regularly represent game companies, address the continuing controversy over the use of patents in the game industry, explaining just what patents are and why you should care. In this excerpt, the lawyers explain the differences between patents and copyrights, and what each can and cannot cover with relation to video game properties: “Even though the scope of possible subject matter is very broad, not everything is subject to the grant of a patent. To understand what is not covered by a patent it is helpful to examine the other areas of intellectual property. Trademarks, for example, cover the identifying marks on goods and services of a company. These marks are indications of source and allow the consumer to recognize a source of consistent quality. These marks however, would not normally be covered by patent law because they are not adding any new and useful technology. In the context of the game industry, copyright and patent law may be considered to be different sides of the same coin, both potentially protecting separate and distinct portions of the same work. Copyright is directed to the protection of a work of authorship or expression. Specific to the game industry, copyright can be used to protect the underlying coding used to write software, hardware design, or the specific story involved in a game.” You can now read the complete feature, which includes more from Boyd and Moersfelder on patent law, and its relevance to the video game industry (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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