In the last few years, the video game industry has grown exponentially by fusing cutting-edge technology and imaginative creativity. However, video game developers and promoters often find it hard to safeguard their business interests in the game. In other words, they wish to prevent the games developed and promoted by them from being copied by their rivals and competitors in the market. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are associated with not only the tools required to develop the games but also with the content included in the game. Therefore, a well-defined Intellectual Property (IP) strategy is a must have to protect the business interests of the game developers and promoters.
COPYRIGHTS AND TRADEMARKS
In video games, Copyright Protection extends to the creativity and innovative expressions that go into the software (code), and also to the artwork and audio effects (sound and music) involved. Additionally, if the developers are willing to initiate a new project based on an already existing copyrighted work (so-called derivative), they must ensure to secure the legal rights and appropriate licenses from the Copyright Owners. Trademark Protection extends to the names, logos, and symbols associated with the game along with its characters. Therefore, Trademark Registration helps the customers in determining the corporate origin of the video games and builds a loyal relationship between them and the videogame developer.
PATENTS AND INDUSTRIAL DESIGNS
Patent Protection extends to the hardware or technical solutions along with the inventive gameplay involved in the video games. Industrial Designs protect the game’s visual characters, along with the videogame cover and its graphic interface. In the gaming industry, Industrial Design Protection doesn’t protect any technical functionality, but only the external features of shapes, lines, contours, colors, and textures of the game’s characters and other models.
OWNERSHIP AND LICENSING
Video game licensing plays a significant role in successful manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of video games. In the video game industry, Copyrights give ownership to the creators and developers of video games. The legally recognized owner of the game can initiate licensing contracts for selling and distributing their works. Since the very beginning of this industry, creators and developers have incorporated licensed material into their games in an undertaking, not exclusively to captivate everyone, yet in addition to attract a wider audience through the use of recognizable technologies to create more realistic gameplay.
For safeguarding the developer’s rights and interests, licenses must be drafted in compliance with the Intellectual Property Laws. The video game companies and independent developers must make sincere efforts to protect their IP and prevent its misuse through Copyright Protection and licensing contracts.
The video game industry is continually evolving; creatively, technologically, and commercially. With such innovations and developments, come new challenges and difficulties. The developers and distributors must register their IP at the start of a new project as IP Rights provide a fundamental edge against all competition in the global market. They must ensure that the legal decisions are appropriate and in place to enable the development, financing, and distribution of video games. Therefore, it is imperative to develop a proactive IP strategy for securing appropriate rights that are essential in leading to the success of a developer’s enterprise.