I just saw an interesting story on Eurogamer: the developer of Darkest Dungeon, a popular new indie game, has hit out at a clearly fake version of its game on the Windows Games Store. The developer is said to have reached out to Microsoft for help. I’m sure they will oblige in due course.
I thought I’d take this opportunity to write a quick post because what you probably WON’T read about is what Microsoft, or any other platform which is said to be hosting fake/fraudulent/illegal/infringing content (“content” btw might be games, film, audio, artwork – anything) might say in response to the developer: Continue reading Why DMCA and trademark protection is a no-brainer: the Darkest Dungeon scam
If you haven’t played the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series of PC video games, you really should – it’s a glorious first person survival game based in and around a fictional Ukraine where the Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded a second time and changed the world around it (it’s based loosely on the excellent Stugatsky brothers’ short science fiction novel, Roadside Picnic). Some of my best memories about emergent storytelling in games come from that series.
Anyway, enough of the games nostalgia. I’m writing about STALKER (as I shall call it, to save my poor ‘.’ key) for cold legal purposes, because it is generating our latest games trademark controversy. More in a moment, but first I want to credit two articles on the legal issues with STALKER which were influential on me: this Polygon feature on the story more generally and this PC Gamer article on the trademark troubles just now.
One more thing – if you’re not sure what a trademark actually is, read my quick guide to demystifying trademarks and games.
So, here we go: Continue reading The latest games trademark controversy: S.T.A.L.K.E.R and STALKER
I just read in Develop that Activision is bringing back its dormant Sierra publishing label. For those who don’t know: Sierra was once a driving force in games development and publishing in the 1980s and 1990s but suffered a long decline into the 2000s, effect shutting down finally by the late Noughties.
This made me think two things: (1) that’s great news (I have warm feelings from back in the day about Sierra games); and (2) this is another example of how keeping a brand alive legally through its dormant phase means it can spring back to life in the future – as Sierra is now doing.
In particular, I’m thinking that the legal team (at Sierra, its previous owner Vivendi and then Activision) decided to keep Sierra as part of Activision’s trademark portfolio all these years, despite its decline. That’s ofc good corporate legal practice, but if the Sierra trademark had been allowed to lapse, I strongly suspect that Activision would NOT now be bringing back to life this veteran publishing name in the games industry. That”s because it would no longer have any exclusive control over ‘Sierra’ in relation to games and that means it could potentially be challenged, or even blocked from reviving the Sierra games label altogether. So, if there wasn’t Sierra trademarks still ongoing, there wouldn’t be a return of Sierra now. Continue reading Activision resurrects Sierra thanks to good trademark practices
This blog (and Gamer/Law generally) represents my personal views, not that of my employer.
The games press and sections of the games community has got hot under the collar (again) over trademark law. This time around, it’s about news that King.com, maker of Candy Crush Saga and other games, is seeking to trademark ‘Candy’. Cue lots of (to put it charitably) loose talk about ‘monopolies’ and even ‘patent trolling’. I’m going to try and talk some sense about this topic. Continue reading Some thoughts on game trademarks, King and Candy Crush
A long awaited development in UK civil procedure is due to make low value IP infringement claims quicker and cheaper. It is called the small claims track, it will be open for IP infringement cases worth less than £5,000 and it will be heard by the specialist Patents County Court.
My friend Rosie Burbidge, a solicitor at Rouse (as well as a writer of the Art and Artifice art law blog and contributor to the famous IPKat IP law blog) wrote on the Guardian about this development. This is (some of) what she said: Continue reading Small UK IP lawsuits get quicker and cheaper (in theory)
Hi everyone – sorry for a delayed May games law update. Blame the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee which gave us a 2 day national holiday here in the UK (maybe it’s disloyal to blame the Queen? Oh well). Here goes: Continue reading Games Law Update: May 2012
Bethesda has failed in an attempt to obtain an interim injunction against Mojang over its use of thephrase ‘Scrolls’ in its forthcoming eponymous game (via Gamesindustry.biz and tweets from Notch). But previous lawsuit experience from Bethesda suggests the battle *may* not be over…
Continue reading The Scrolls lawsuit: Mojang 1, Bethesda 0?
Indie developer Mojang Specifications has been threatened with legal action by Bethesda over the forthcoming Mojang game Scrolls, according to Mojang head Notch. This is another great example of the importance of understanding how trademarks work in the games industry- and this is a post to explain why.
Continue reading Trademark Troubles: Bethesda v Mojang
This is a guest post by Jonny Mayner. Jonny Mayner spent most of his 20’s playing games and working in bookshops and the construction industry before getting down to the serious business of being a lawyer. He is currently a trainee solicitor at Osborne Clarke, soon to qualify and join the firm’s Intellectual Property Litigation team. He still plays games though.
Tim Langdell, the man behind Edge Games and long-time botherer of Edge Magazine (among others – read about his US shenanigans here and here) was dealt a critical blow by UK High Court last month, which we’ve just had a look at. In her judgement Mrs Justice Proudman pretty much flatly rejected much of Langdell’s evidence and ruled on various issues which will make it harder for him to assert IP rights in all things Edge-related going forward. (Jas: plus, now an English court and a US court have ruled that he is a Naughty Man.)
Continue reading Langdell Squared: Edge magazine v Tim Langdell
Hi everyone. Earlier this week I went along to Dundee, Scotland for the Digital Spark conference and delivered a session on a beginner’s guide to IP in games. I made a Prezi for the session and thought you might like to see it, so here it is: http://prezi.com/ynsvjg5hgpc6/a-beginners-guide-to-ip-in-games-jas-purewal-osborne-clarke/.
Please feel free to have a look over it and by all means drop me a line if you have any questions, would like to use it, think it’s good/bad/awesome/needs work etc.
Follow us at http://www.twitter.com/gamerlaw or subscribe to our email updateshere