Category: Suzanne Jackiw

OGDE Wrap Up

October 27, 2014 | Ross A. Hersemann

studio 35 walter dayThis past weekend Suzanne Jackiw and I participated in a video game law panel at the Ohio Game Developers Expo. We were joined by Andrew Trafford, of Porter Wright LLP, and Chris Volpe, of Multivarious Games. Together we discussed a wide spectrum of legal issues in games. Business planning, capital raising, trademark, trade dress, patent, copyright, constitutional law, and the right of publicity were all covered in brief and at the speed of 100mph.

Talking fast left a lot of time for audience questions and that was probably the best part of our presentation. We were truly blessed to have an engaged and enthusiastic audience. They put our knowledge to the test and let us know what legal issues are most important to people making and playing games. It was amazing how many people from diverse disciplines and backgrounds were at OGDE. Artists, musicians, programmers, and even engineers traveled to Columbus to share their appreciation of video games and play a game of “stump the law students” with us.

OGDE was a very unique experience. I’ve been to many conventions and expos but I’ve never experienced the same sense of belonging and community I felt this weekend in Columbus. Speakers and attendees stuck around to hang out after hours and get to know each other rather than bolting for their hotel beds. There was a midnight screening of The King of Arcades at Studio 35 hosted by Walter Day. There were games to be played (and many things to drink) at the local barcade 16 Bit. There was even a late night shindig at (secret) Arcade Super Awesome.

Whatever the venue, the scene was the same. Men and women from different backgrounds, home towns, and life paths were embracing their similarities and transcending their differences. It was no small feat to be sure and it brought a smile to my face. With all the dissent and controversy that has permeated gamer culture lately it’s reassuring to know that those differences could be trumped by what created this community in the first place: a devout shared love for games.

Special thanks to Chris Volpe, Andrew Trafford, Mike Geig, Walter Day, and of course my esteemed colleague Suzanne Jackiw.

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Hello readers. This weekend I will be speaking at the Ohio Game Developers Expo in Columbus, Ohio alongside my esteemed colleague Suzanne Jackiw. Our panel discussion will address the unique applications of intellectual property law principles to video games, as well as business management strategies for video game developers.

We hope to see you there!
ogde-logo2

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Ross and Zed Talk Games

October 6, 2014 | Ross A. Hersemann

This week Zed and I host our first podcast! We discuss how trademarks become generic, the Amazon/Twitch and Microsoft/Minecraft buyouts, and video game law in general. This may well become a recurring segment. We will try to bring it to all your devices and platforms in the future.

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Cancelled

October 1, 2014 | Suzanne Jackiw

I hear quite often that patents aren’t something the software side of video games should worry about – patents aren’t applicable and patent litigation is rare. This is false.

Since December 2012, McRO has filed patent infringement suits against Capcom, Naughty Dog, Square Enix, Disney, Treyarch, EA, Sega, Obsidian, Konami, Namco Bandi, Shiny Entertainment, Sonic Team, Incomniac, Viceral, THQ, Valve, Atlus, Tecmo Koei, Ubisoft, Deep Silver, Sucker Punch, Infinity Ward, Activision Blizzard, LucasArts, Codemasters, Sony, and WB, among others. Since McRO does business as Planet Blue, an effects company, it does not fit the definition of non-practicing entity, so frequently touted as proof of being a troll; but, some still claim, due to the sheer number of lawsuits that McRO is a troll.

In some cases, the defendants in these litigations have settled. THQ settled for $600,000 in 2013. Other defendants have chosen to see their cases through and commit to litigation – a long and expensive process. Even if a company wins a patent infringement case, that company will not recoup lost time, attorney fees, or anything lost in pursuing the case. The best outcome a defendant can hope for is a cancellation of the patent under the Supreme Court “Alice” decision.

On September 25, 2014, that’s what Activision Blizzard got through defending a patent infringement case against McRO.

The district court invalidated McRO’s patents, which covered methods for animating 3D character faces, sighting that the claims were more related to abstract ideas than inventive concepts. Since patents must be inventive and cover specific methods to be registerable, the judge ruled in favor of Activision Blizzard. Activision Blizzard’s legal team was naturally pleased with the decision, saying: “Meritless patent cases such as this stifle innovation and the creative process across the industry.

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