When Clones Attack: How to Protect Social/Mobile Games from Copying

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The mobile gaming industry is experiencing an invasion of clones. While cloning has a long and varied history, it has become more prevalent with the explosion of social and mobile games. Take, for example, Words With Friends, a variant on Scrabble, and the scores of Minecraft clones on the market. As game development times decrease and the useful lifetime of games diminishes, cloning has become more lucrative: games are easier to copy, and there are more of them to clone. The influx of copycat games in the mobile space brings with it new legal questions — are these clones merely off-brand digital replicas or are they blatant theft?

Historically, protection for video games has been obtained through copyrights and patents. Copyright protection can extend to the expressive, non-functional elements of a game, such as audiovisual display and the underlying source code, but not the ideas behind the game itself. Patent protection extends to the functional aspects of games, such as gameplay mechanics.

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Published In: Art, Entertainment & Sports Updates, Intellectual Property Updates, Science, Computers & Technology Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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