[OT] Copyrighting games?

Richard Gaskin ambassador at fourthworld.com
Wed Aug 19 15:10:17 EDT 2015

Richmond wrote:

 > I would like, initially to market it in the form of either plastic or
 > card tiles in a box.
 > Later on I might make a LiveCode game with it, using a commercial
 > version of LiveCode.
 > In the latter case I would want to make sure that another company
 > would be discouraged from making a clone of the game - i.e. ripping
 > off the idea rather than stealing the code.

I am not a lawyer, and specific vary by jurisdiction, but my lay 
understanding is that in the States one cannot copyright an idea, only 
the manifest expression of an idea, such as code.

Protection for broader concerns like design may require a design patent, 
which is not only expensive to get but many orders of magnitude more 
expensive to enforce.  And even when you have pockets as deep as the 
wealthiest and most powerful multinational on earth, Apple, the 
reliability of a design patent is at best specious:  Apple has lost as 
many design patent assertions as they've gained, in some jurisdictions 
some of their design patents have been dismissed by the court and in 
others ruled completely invalid.

Watching Apple v Samsung unfold around the world in so many 
jurisdictions has been very educational.  Indeed, even Apple and Samsung 
have agreed to a truce calling off all outstanding suits in all 
jurisdictions outside the one remaining pending case in US, where 
damages were dropped significantly once again just last week as the 
court dismissed yet another design patent from the mix.

Design patents are a rich man's game, a high-risk gamble for everyone 
involved with only one sure winner:  any attorney on either side of such 
a suit, where fees can easily creep into the millions over the months 
and sometimes years it can take to complete such a suit and subsequent 

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World Systems
  Software Design and Development for the Desktop, Mobile, and the Web
  Ambassador at FourthWorld.com                http://www.FourthWorld.com

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