I know a ton of you guys are into trying to design your own games, and I'm doing the same. I've heard of card games legally owning the rights to certain concepts used in them, like MTG starting with 20 life, or tapping cards to symbolize paying a cost. Is there any list or database of similar concepts that can't be used in other games anymore due to ownership?
You can trademark terms, but you can't actually trademark game concepts. MTG has a trademark on 'Tap', but you can't trademark the concept of turning a card to do something, which is why there's a ton of other card games that use the same mechanics, but their own terms for it.
The problem is that the whole issue is a murky clusterfuck. Back in the nineties, WotC tried to trademark and claim all sorts of bullshit and most of the stuff was never really clarified or challenged.
So, fast forward twenty years, and WotC is now a decently sized company owned by an absolute juggernaut. It really doesn't fucking matter who owns what and what's the law on anything. WotC can just call out your ass and force you to sit down, because nobody has the resources to actual go to court over anything. Hell, even if you had free representation, it would still bleed you dry through the sheer amount of time required.
So it's easier to get the fuck out of the way and so something else entirely.
The easiest way would probably be to look at TCGs and LCGs that didn't get into any legal trouble and assume that that mechanics are probably safe.
Isn't wrong with the thing about not being able to trademark game concepts, but Wizards might still find a way to bust your ass if you use a concept similar to the Stack for example.
Hence why games usually do something else entirely.
Couldn't you just use "turn" in place of "tap"? And refer to player turns as "rounds" or similar.
>Turn this Well for 3 Fire Magicka.
The "tap" trademark itself is probably completely invalid but no one has the money to sue over it. There's an old saying "You can beat the rap but you can't beat the ride". They have enough resources to sue you (frivolously, with 0% chance of "success") until you run out of money and must give up.
Lawsuits are a lot like Poker. You don't need to have a winning hand if you can simply force the other person to fold because he cannot call your bet.
>The problem is that the whole issue is a murky clusterfuck.
No, it's very simple. You cannot trademark game mechanics.
You cannot, however, use trademarked material as inspiration to your designing process to the point that it is easily identifiable. If you happen to clone White-Wolf's Storyteller system, but there is no proof that you ever used a White-Wolf product, then you are in the clear.
"Easily recognisable" is also pretty stringent. Not just one or two big similarities, think more about over a dozen blaring ones.
It becomes a murky clusterfuck once they take you to court and MAKE it a murky clusterfuck.
Doesn't matter what's real or how clear it seems. If they have the money they can and will drag the case out for years and bleed you dry.
Well, since they are 100% absolutely wrong, you can choose to represent yourself, avoid any legal fees, basically say "dindu nothin" every time they make an inquiry, and you'll still end up winning. The only ones to have lost real money and time will be them.
You overestimate how much the court will see through circumlocution of the degree corporate interests produces
You could take the risk and believe the 60-year old normie will trust common sense over people who are ostensibly experts in the field seeking a case against someone whose only defense is "lol no that's dumb" despite the truth being that it's just dumb.
You COULD take that risk, but can you afford it either way the chips fall?
A friend of mine had a short lived gaming company and they had slated a TCG that seemed like a more serious swords and sorcery version of.munchkin, mostly PvP combat.
Long story short a few months before release date they got hit with all.sorts of cease and decist aND copyright violations from Hasbro. They had a lawer review it and Hasbro has a copyright on " pieces of cardstock or paper with images or.graphics used in conjunction with a set.of.rules for.recreation purposes".
They where just starting.up.and the cost.to fight Hasbro would have broke them 10 times over.
Richard Garfield even played their game during a.meet and.greet.and said it.was a.decent game.
>wearing.gloves.and.typing in a.phine
It's not common sense. That you can't trademark a game mechanic is a universal element of western intellectual property law.
That it is universal is based on common sense. Allowing to trademark game mechanics would allow for a ridiculous degree of constraints to be imposed on individuals. After all, "keeping score" is a game mechanic. "writing" too.
There are retarded courts and judges. There are no courts or judges quite THAT retarded.
Jesus Christ, this stupid, they deserved to be put out of business.
If all it costed to remain on top of your entertainment industry was the ability to fill up and post a c&d letter, we'd all live under a single monolithic megacorporation.
Have you ever took a look at what in practice goes through and CAN be sold in the US.
Single Game Mechanics can't be patented, period.
I absolutely call bullshit on this:
Hasbro suing them might be true, but definitely not with the reason.
There are tons of cardgames sold in the US that aren't owned by hasbro and fall under this shit.
What you abso-fucking-lutely can't do is copy the names for mechanics (ie tapping) or whole descriptions of rules.
So you CAN implement a variant of the stack in your game. You can't copy the description of the stack from magic though, you need to come up with something else.
Ie L5Rs "bow" instead of tapping, albeit its the same mechanic.
I would assume there was more to it. Seeing how it wasn't imperative for me to be tet è tet in the court room with them.
My friend graduated from School of minds on a scholarship and he's one of the more clever people I know.
I can't source the quote but: "If you want to be a millionaire in the /tg/ buisness, start off as a Billionaire"
Copyright laws are giving us an intelectual dark age
>generally along those lines
Kek, in law, thats basically an ocean of possible differences.
Proves me right, the original claim is factual bullshit.
Yes. Which is why I'm happy to work with Canadian Law.
>I would assume there was more to it.
Yes and No. IP law is expansive because there are a lot of details, but is very fucking clear on the details.
>School of minds
You mean UA's cognitive dept? The fuck does that have to do with IP law?
>Call bullshit all you want chummer. It happened generally along those lines
No it didn't. Hasbro gives no fuck about your friend's shitty CG. Even if it lifted, they would not lose a cent over it. Hypothetically, if that had happened, then your friends got fucked over by an incompetent lawyer who couldn't spot a scare tactic.
But again, it really didn't happen.
Just make whatever the hell you want however the hell you want to make it, and don't try to sell it. Be happy that you made something badass and can enjoy it with your friends. Print off sweet ass looking pictures in good quality and custom make your own sets of cards. I'm planning on doing this for me and the boys and motherfuck anyone that says otherwise. If you want to actually sell them for money then you gotta play by the rules.
If that's about the Puffin Software suit, that's because Viking Lords was very obviously a clone of Battlelore. You can end up with a clone of a game, you can't set up to clone a game. Viking Lords was so very much obviously based on Battlelore that it became an unfair competition & deceptive practices suit.
>Hasbro suing them might be true, but definitely not with the reason.
You mean like GW suing people for the use of arrows, Roman numerals, hammers, etc.? Yeah, that didn't happen.
There's a whole industry where people just buy patents or patent things, then sue everyone doing it. I think there was even cases where someone made something but didn't patent it, so a patent troll patented it and then sued the creator for infringing on the patent.
The patent was something along those lines. Aside from the exact nomenclature.
It's generally a blanket patent.
Lucky im making a Edible card game, with instructions imbeded subliminally in songs you buy from the App store, you use rectangular beef jerky flats as "interactive aids" and you play a game of NOTPICTIONARY to decide the overall theme of the entertainment experience. It's not so much a game as a transcendent edible journey.by Jackson & Garfield Games
>Its true, a friend of my friends told me over some beer!
Factual reality (plenty of games that fit that description being sold by small companies that aren't hasbro) proves you wrong.
Now go back to your fairytales and heresay stories.
>You mean like GW suing people for the use of arrows, Roman numerals, hammers, etc.? Yeah, that didn't happen.
And how many of these cases have been won?
Because, as stated by serval people ITT, in the civilised west + the US, you can't get patents on Game mechanics alone.
You might get a patent or rather a copyright claim on a game concept in whole (so reprinting Magic and selling it as Jaggig the Jizzening, wouldn't fly, even if you wrote down the rules in your own words), but the single mechanics are fair game.
Basically despite Wizards trademark everything they can, you're can make an exact carbon copy of the Magic mechanically and you'll be alright as long as you remember to change the names.
>You mean like GW suing people for the use of arrows, Roman numerals, hammers, etc.? Yeah, that didn't happen.
And GW LOST on every one of those claims. EVERY ONE of them. More than 75% of their case evaporated right in front of GW Corporate's eyes. They won only on instances where the other company used terms or images to which GW had actual actionable copy-rights. GW got a minuscule amount of compensation, and has all but retreated from the 'bits' market due to getting their ass handed to them on a plate, while 3rd parties now make tons of stuff because they now know exactly where GW's actual power ends. Not exactly a strong proof of how 'copy-right' always favors the big guy.
it also doesn't make it true either.
Also not the other anon.
I was in the same position as your friend. I made this card game and had Gary Gygax and Garfield play against each other at a gencon. Both of them said it was the greatest thing ever. It was in production, and we got a C&D letter from hasbro saying they had a patent on printed cardboard and after consulting a lawyer, it was determined that they had a rock solid case. So we burned all the cards, shame too I would show a pic of them but it all had to be destroyed; artwork, any design documentation, reciepts or proof of printing, even the letter had to be destroyed for some strang reason. So there is no actual proof I can show you, cause their cd made us destroy it all.
>You believe me rigt?
I don't think the problem is winning those cases, I think the problem is getting dragged to court over it for months and years on end. I mean, even the Chapterhouse thing too years and then GW won on 40% of the claims, even though it seemed crystal clear to everyone that they were full of shit.
Representing yourself probably wouldn't work out, because you'd still have to navigate the whole case and legal system and from what I've seen, that's not exactly easy. Just sitting down and saying "Dindu nuffin" wouldn't get you very far, especially if there's a jury involved.
Whose idea was to put random uncivilized swine in court and let them vote on verdict?
Jury is probably the worst idea ever - don't bring up bribes - it would be cheaper to bribe few common folk than one judge.
US patent law is retarded - not that eu one is better.. Each patent case is so fucking retarded- apple has patent on rectangular shaped electronic device with rounded corners. AND THEU SUED OTHERS BASED ON THAT. How the fuck you can even patent that.
Also - check if those companies have that shit patented IN YOUR country. They can't sue you based on US patent while you sell your stuff in EU.
I'm calm now..
So, can anyone that knows what he's talking about give a summary of what exactly Wizards is claiming and owning?
I mean, shit like Tap, Tapping Symbol, Trample and so in are obvious, but other than that?
No you foool
You gots to flip it turnwise