Kamal Terekhov, head of Arbitration and Legal Disputes at REVERA, shares what game publishers often face.
It is a common problem that game product copyright is always more important than anything related to games. The risks of possible disputes during the game release process require product publishers to be proactive and flexible in responding. Three common legal issues are:
+ Protection of rights to trademarks; + Protection of domain names; + Protection of intellectual property rights within the framework of game industry activities;
Protection of trademark rights
In the absence of a registered trademark, it is difficult for the developer to protect the rights to the game name. For example, it will be difficult for them to claim the games of competitors who copy the name of their game.
Having a registered trademark is also important in the case of an asset sale (studio or game). Buyers often check the legitimacy of transparency used. If the trademark is not properly registered to the seller, the transaction could be in jeopardy.
Also, it’s important to note that if a trademark is unregistered, it could be registered by your competitor. Those can then demand the deletion of the game, payment of money or the end of an adverse license agreement.
Therefore, even before announcing the game, you should check for the absence of trademarks, as well as the competitor’s games, which are similar in name and similar in goods/services to the released game; pre-registration of the main domain name and some similar domain names; Trademark for the name of the game.
For large projects, you should also register all the main characters (and sometimes places and objects if they are important in promoting the game or are unique) as trademarks. This will protect against copying them.
Given the prevalence of trademark disputes, it is not surprising that the frequency of domain name protection disputes involved especially when promoting through the website, Google search.
We are talking about cases when you receive an email notification that your domain name infringes a third party’s trademark; you find that a third party has registered a domain name that matches your trademark.
In fact, there are cases where competitors intentionally register trademarks with the aim of demanding additional monetary payments or entering into an unfavorable license agreement. In such a process, the presence of a registered trademark is essential, which has an advantage over age-old domain names.
Disputes are usually resolved under the UDRP, a specially simplified procedure for resolving domain name disputes (agreed by the domain name and IP address company, as well as the World Intellectual Property Organization). gender).
Protecting intellectual property rights in game publishing activities
Lawsuits related to the resulting rights to intellectual property with game products are also not uncommon. As a rule, we are talking about two types of cases:
+ The company receives a lawsuit from a former employee, accused of abusing another’s intellectual property; + Filed a lawsuit against a retired employee, claiming that the former employee’s new personal project was created out while working at the company.
Such situations arise when the transfer of copyright (on code, art, music, etc.) from an employee/freelancer to a company is done improperly. The transfer of rights must always be done. In addition, there are two other types of disputes that game publishers may encounter: copyright protection on digital platforms under the DMCA and publisher-developer disputes under the Game Release Agreement.