How to protect board games, card games, and other games with patents, trademarks, and copyrights

 

Designing a new board or card game is no easy feat. It takes a lot of time, creativity, and dedication to come up with a unique and fun game to play. So it’s only natural that you’d want to protect your game from being copied or knocked off.

But how can you actually protect a board or card game?

We’ve created this guide to help you understand some of the ways through which you can protect your board or card game. In this guide, you’ll learn more about patents, trademarks, and copyrights and how you can use them to protect your board or card game.

So, let’s get started!

Protecting your board or card game

There are various ways you can legally safeguard your game. These include:

  • Patents
  • Trademarks
  • Copyrights

Each one of these options offers different protection for board games and card games.

Patent protection

By definition, a patent is an exclusive right granted for the invention of a process or product that provides a new way of doing something or offers a technical solution to a problem.

If you have devised something that is more than just a rule for games or method of playing that is novel and involves an inventive step, then the idea may be patentable.

Patents come in two forms, utility patents and design patents.  

Utility patents protect aspects of the game that are related to science and technology. This may include a mechanical part or hardware such as joysticks in video games or technical processes such as a process that enables multiplayer functionality in a game.  If a game has a part or process that is non-obvious and novel, then it may be protected under the patent law.

Normally, board games don’t fall under utility patents since they don’t have any unique mechanical parts or technical processes.  

On the other hand, a design patent protects the ornamental design or aesthetics of an item. This patent allows you to register and protect the design of the product and its overall look – which includes the pattern, shape, and visual appearance of the board game.

Here are some of the aspects of a board game that you can protect under a design patent.

  • The appearance of the board
  • The appearance of object used in the board game, for example, toy bikes

If your board game design is unique, non-obvious, and useful, then it can receive a patent.

Copyrights

A copyright is a form of intellectual property that gives authors of creative and original - including literary, musical, dramatic, and artistic works – the rights to reproduce or license others to reproduce and perform such works.

Copyrights are automatic, which means, as soon as a new physical item is created in the US or UK it is automatically protected under copyright law. Copyrights can also be registered (recommended) to provide further protection and define the date by which you created the game. 

For board and card games, copyright only serves to protect text or pictorial material on the game board cards or container. This may include the user manual for the game, characters in the game, or any other pictorial or literary content on the boards or cards of the game.

Trademarks

A trademark serves to protect a word, phrase, symbols, or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods from those of others. Registering a trademark helps you prevent competition from using your logo, name, or phrase without your permission.

A trademark will also allow you to create a high asset value that you can license, assign or even sell in the future.

Wrapping up

Don’t lose what you have worked so hard to create. Consider safeguarding your game with the most suitable form of intellectual property protection as we have discussed above. And if you have any questions about protecting your game ideas feel free to reach out to us! We will be happy to and strategize talk about it, otherwise good luck with your business.







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