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    Lightbulb Should I try to use the cash from the game I want to patent to patent the game itself


    Should I try to use the cash from the game I want to patent to patent the game itself?

    I have a brilliant Idea. But I have nearly no money to immediately "get on with" the intellectual property protection process.
    Is it safe to earn money from the idea and then use that money to protect the idea?
    I spoke to Davison's patenting company before and they gave me a range of $3000 - $10,000 just for some of the initial steps. I went to them about a board game... not this new computer game idea I have. They said electronic games/toys can be even more expensive. I'm not sure if that encompassed video games though.

    If I develop a game and everyone "knows" I made it first & in hand I had something that parallel's (if not greatly exceeds) a "poor man's patent" is my idea safe?

    Here's a video of me stressing out about it and asking the same thing. I feel as though sometimes I convey myself more clearly (in some ways) when I speak (and use gestures)
    http://youtu.be/O5jeqzmwnvc
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    I'm not even sure you can really patent a game - or how useful it will be to you.

    If your game has a ground breaking new concept (technical), you might be able to patent the technology side of the game.

    Think about it. There are literally hundreds of race car games, FPS and RPGs out there. They all are basically the same - the story changes but that's it.

    If you write the story line out - and post it online or print it out and have it witnessed by a Judge/JP or doctor with a date and signature - then you've done a pretty good job of making sure the story of your game is yours (that's implicit with being an author, you own the story).

    if someone comes along at that point and writes a game around your story; you can prove it's yours and sue them for rights to the story - but not the game.

    The lawyer is going to drain your pockets and this game will never happen anyway. I would spend some time getting an NDA together - build a team of people who can build the game (use oDesk etc to contact developers). Build a plan - with costs, expected earnings etc - and take it to a venture capital or angel investor. They have the money; but you at that point will have the means to get it done.
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    So there isn't a copyright on minecraft?
    My game has no story. THe mechanics of the game are what make it unique.
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    A copyright and a patent are completely different things.

    You can't patent ideas, only a specific implementation of an idea. Although in a traditional sense "mechanics" can be patented; "mechanics" when it refers to games usually means the idea and not the implementation, thus they are unlikely to be patentable at all. Additionally there is some question about the long term viability of software patents, there is a chance that they'll simple be eliminated at some point in the future. But I am not a patent attorney.

    However, you implicitly copyright any creative work that you create (or pay someone to create as a work-for-hire). You don't have to pay anything for it. A copyright doesn't prevent someone from making something similar, it just prevents them from reusing your work. I am not a copyright attorney either.

    FlyingBeetroot is completely right. Unless this game is really simple, $10k will barely even cover the initial stages of development. If $3k for a patent is an issue I don't see how you could build this without capital from an investor, so that's where I would focus your effort.

    Minecraft worked because the creator had a brilliant (but not really novel - legos have been around for a long time) idea and he was able to implement the idea himself (thus not needing a massive influx of capital) in a game that was dirt simple to understand and play. Technologically the game sucks, but the game is still fun because of the idea. Nothing is preventing someone from making a clone, except for the fact that building a quality game takes a few years and Minecraft hasn't been popular for all that long. In a few years you can expect to see clones of it coming out from major publishers.

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    • medialint agrees : Exactly, copyrights and patents are different beasts. You can file your own (C) but you usually want a patent attorney for a patent.
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    I agree with E-Oreo but want to point out that an implicit copyright isn't the same as an expressed explicit registered copyright. The latter will fare better in a court of law and you can easily do this yourself by filling out a form and sending in the fee (currently $35 and up depending on what you're filing) see copyright.gov

    For information on patents see the US Patent and Trademark office website http://www.uspto.gov/

    A game or other software, a poem, a photograph, a story or novel, a song, a lyric, etc all belong under copyright.

    A patent usually applies to a specific method of doing something. You should never need an attorney to file a copyright and you technically don't need one for a patent but it's advisable to get one for a patent because it's a lot more expensive and cumbersome.

    Finally there are trademarks, such as the name IBM and the IBM logo. Sometimes phrases (slogans) can become trademarks such as the Oakland Raiders' "Commitment to Excellence". You can search TESS to find these (here's the raiders slogan). (since this is a search link might not work after a while)

    The same trademark can apply to other businesses, and there's a lot of controversy sometimes surrounding such so if you wanted a trademark it's also a good idea to consult an attorney.

    If you have an original game and want to protect it I'd read over the copyright.gov site, find the form (TX) fill it out and send your fee (read this circular on copyrighting computer software for details). You should have a copyright even if you decide to file for a trademark or a patent, and this is something you can do yourself. Don't fall for a "poor man's copyright" and send a registered mail to yourself. This is not the same legal protection you get with an actual registered copyright and it should cost you $65 not thousands.
    Last edited by medialint; May 25th, 2012 at 01:27 PM.
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    Thanks for all the tips. I read every line.
    I'm writing the code myself. It will probably be $20k of my own time just for the demo Alpha release.
    I still have a lot to learn in the area of 3D graphic rendering and more.
    I want to build this game from scratch.

    I'll be posting a thread on it a little later.

    Again, thanks for the help.

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