[casual_games] Re: game copyright
kimpall at microsoft.com
Fri Nov 11 13:12:16 EST 2005
Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2005 10:07:20 +0100
From: Lionel barret De Nazaris <lionel.bdn at free.fr>
Subject: Re: [casual_games] RE: game copyright
To: IGDA Casual Games SIG Mailing List <casual_games at igda.org>
Message-ID: <43745F48.2000800 at free.fr>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
Kim Pallister wrote:
> 1 - There's a difference between copyright (a name, a concept) &
> (an artistic work - which can be defined as anything from a name like
> 'snapple' to a story 'a man bitted by a radioactive spider develops
> spider-like powers and uses them to fight crime'). A lot of the
> contention around game-related patent issues has to do with
> about whether the "magic" in a game's success belongs in one bucket or
> the other (i.e. is it game mechanic or game content? Or both?)
You confuse many issue there. Your description of patent is simply
Yes! I was wrong. That's what I get for typing too quickly. Not sure
what I was thinking. I meant to use the 'snapple' and spiderman concepts
as example of copyrights, not patents. And yes, the spiderman one would
be on shaky ground.
I stand by the 'idea' definition for a patent. Yes, it's defined as
device, method, process, or substance. But whether any one of these for
a particular implementation is defendable as a patent depends on whether
at it's root, it contains some unique idea about how to solve a problem.
Idea is, granted, a little too broad. Another way to look at it: If you
have something you think deserves patenting, someone might ask "do you
come up with an idea about how to solve a problem that others could
> 2 - This is one man's opinion, but the difference between software and
> hardware patents is largely pedantic.
Wrong ! Sorry to be blunt but this is simply wrong. implementation in
programming is only *disguised math*. How could you patent mathematical
On the other hand, implementation in hardware means solving specific
(often unique) problems. The protection given by patent is a trade off
for having a record of theses uniques solutions.
I was looking at it from the other side of things:
You have a problem, you come up with an algorithm to solve that problem
(say, trilinear filtering in graphics as a way to solve a rasterization
artifact). So you come up with a black box with inputs (3D-space
location, textures, coefficients, etc), and output (rasterization info).
Now you have to implement that. I could be done in code, or it could be
done in gates.
When I worked at Intel I heard many problems discussed where decisions
were made about whether the implementation should be in HW or SW. If it
was layed out in HW, it was often patented - but this was separate from
whether there was any trickiness or difficulty in actually *laying out*
the HW, at which point there may have been other ideas patented, but
that's beside the point.
The USPTO is clearly under financed, understaffed, under qualified. The
"prior art" condition is very rarely checked.
Agree completely. My point was that just because the system is busted,
doesn't mean you should do away with patents. Just trying to separate
the two arguments.
>case 1 ) You have a small company. You have a patent. you cannot do
anything against a big player who use your tech. you don't have pocket
deep enough to fight *and win*.
Agreed. Not sure what to do to address this, but there are cases where
maybe the EFF or other industry group could help?
>case 2) You have a small company. You have a patent. which indirectly
use a big player (dubious) patent..you don't have pocket deep enough to
fight *and win*..
Well, this is the same argument for individuals and healthcare, but
there are plenty of big settlements. Granted, lawyers take the bulk of
it, but at least the big company gets a spanking.
Immersion's force feedback patent win against MS and Sony is an example
(not exactly a garage shop, but a small company compared to those two
Another 2c worth,
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