Patents


2014-06-28

There's far more of them out there than I've bothered to add here so far, but I feel patents should be given more visibility in some way. Game entries themselves don't really need it, so I'm unsure how visibility could be attained. The most I get on this is adding visibility in game entries by somehow showing tags differently that describe a patent. Unfortunately I don't think most people interested in tags care much for patents unless they are game developers (or people interested why some thing isn't in more games).

So.. any thoughts on this? Or just leave it as it is now?

2014-06-28 (updated 2014-06-29)
Gamers should interested in patents. Innovation in games are both encouraged and suppressed due to patents. Hardware issues leading to poor game performance can often be traced to an artificial limitation imposed by a patent issue. For instance, any gamer stuck with an Intel graphics card is effected by a number of patents. Remember those awful wireless IR controllers for the pre-nextgen consoles? Patents not even held by videogame industry companies, made better and.or affordable technology unavailable to manufactures of game controllers.

Game developers are generally are not interested (these days). Early in the proprietary phase of the industry, some game developers had a perverse interest in them as management and/or publishers often provided incentives for developers to created anything that could be patented. Atari, Atari, Williams, Midway, and well, most of the big coin-op companies continued this practice until all the old employees were gone (often when the company sold or merged). Note that the focus and incentives were, and in current examples still, focused on patents rather than better games. While patent issues and legal wrangling sometimes lead to gaming improvements and great games, they more often lead to suppression, leaches living off the labor of others, or standards wars like when Sega crated their four player adapter at the same time EA created a the 4-way play adapter (this one also lead to a lawsuit. Yet, surprisingly, it was eventually resolved well enough for gamers when when both companies agreed to ceased production and have Sega make an new adapter compatible with both standards).
There's a few new mandates concerning patents (and copyrights and trademarks) imposed on developers these days. First, and this is actually common and a very old trick outside the videogame industry, companies enslave the ideas of their developers. Whatever they dream, is owned by the company. A piss poor incentive to innovate to be sure. However, most employees that are actively innovating are under a policy they have knowingly accepted. Second, developers are kept in the dark and commanded to keep themselves in the dark. This is because knowledge is dangerous to legal issues. Companies usually decide the best policy is to keep the developers isolated from potential legal issues in the hope that they can prove in court later that the 'people responsible' acted in good faith didn't know they were infringing on anything. This can be a misnomer, as having anyone merely having access to the knowledge (they do not even need know that they have access, nor do they even need to understand the information), can be just as devastating.

Note, patents are not necessary for great games, great gaming systems, and making a profit from them. There are many other factors that are much more important. For instance, Sega never filed and patents for the Genesis. They sold 29,000,000 units, 2nd place to the patent massive SNES but outselling all other contemporaries and having sold way more units than the original Xbox and will likely never be outsold by Xbox 360. This accomplishment was after the 30,000,000 units of the Atari 2600 (bear in mind that probably about 1,000,000 Atari 2600 units sold after the introduction of the Genesis) and directly against the original NES which pretty much was the market and leader for patents at the time. Patent massive Nintendo was forced to innovate because of a company that sold a product without filing patents (Elon Musk recently realized this and implemented strategy accordingly. Note his videogame reference).

Nintendo has maintained an abnormally high interest in patents. It is particularly ironic that in taking an NES clone manufacture to court over the NES-ON-A-CHIP, lead to the judge saying "Most of" the NES patents had expired therefore all NES clones do not infringe on NES patents. By fighting the NES-ON-A-CHIP, they lost against all clones. I guess they had so many patents the judge figured it most expedient to throw away the valid ones as well..

Magnavox/Philips and Nintendo have a continuing history of legal disputes (mostly patents) that has a more than passing resemblance to a cold war, complete with espionage and satellite conflicts. And this war is still being waged.

The original wiimote patents cover the gambit of every possible patent issue (not all remain applicable with the motionplus controllers).

This is just the snowflake on the tip of the iceberg, patent issues abound in ways that gamers and developers should be aware of. I would support a "©, ™ & Patents" menu item in the resources menu.

There's trademark, registered trademark, copyright, and copyleft symbols. There ought to be patent and patent pending symbols as well.
How about p⃝ ?
Unicode is phun!

EDIT_000: Add this little tidbit to a patents; A middle-aged (and filthy-rich, earned) Alan Kay comments about patents and his lack of royalties (beginning on page 41).

2014-07-01

This is apparently the reason their lawsuit against Accolade for reverse engineering their platform to sell games without license on it didn't quite make Accolade stop what they were doing. Court ruled in favor of reverse engineering due to lack of patents involved.

2014-07-01 (updated 2014-07-12)
So what would the "©, ™ & p⃝" section look like?

Trademark section
List of Registered Trademarks
Trademarks->games links
Trademarks->offsite links
Trademark law and treaties from around the world section
Trademark disputes section (links to court documents)
Trademark articles section

Copyright section
Copyright law and treaties from around the world section
Public Domain section
Creative Commons section
Copyleft section
Copyright disputes section (links to court documents)
Copyright articles section

Patent section
Patent law and treaties from around the world section
Patent->games links
Patent->offsite links
Patent disputes section (links to court documents)
Patent articles section

Other layout suggestions, what should be added or removed?

2014-07-01
I think those are all covered by intellectual property rights.

2014-07-02 (updated 2014-07-02)
intellectual property


You know, not everybody likes that phrase. All 7 of the people there are smart and have a point, and 6 of them are not crazies (well maybe 5, not so sure about Thomas Jefferson). "Intellectual property" also includes trade dress, industrial design rights, and trade secrets, all of which have been court proven time-and-time again to be absolutely meaningless in relation to videogames in the USA. I see little point in applying a term at UVL that is literally half meaningless. As trade dress, industrial design rights, and trade secrets do not apply, I think copyright, trademark, and patents will do. Note that many people don't even thing about videogame/software patents when they see "Intellectual property". Another inaccuracy to consider that is particular importance since the original intent of your suggestion was to feature patents.

Personally, I would reluctantly accept "Intellectual Rights" as a compromise if it came to that. Though still inaccurate and still half irrelevant and still dismissive of patents, it's a little less inaccurate (due to not equating diminished-in-transit nature of property with the undiminished-in-transit nature of knowledge) and has a longer history of scholarly use. Also note, I think that the terms monopolies on information, intellectual monopoly, digital restrictions management, and intellectual monopoly privilege, while accurate, are all borderline disparaging. I am fond of using variants of the phrases Digital Restriction Maliciousness and Copyright Carp, both of which are 100% disparaging as intended. But have recently become aware that it is inconstant with scholarly expression so I will be modifying my comments or moving them to reviews where I have used them here on UVL.

2014-07-02
I don't personally care much for people not liking some term if same people don't offer a decent alternative. But yeah, intellectual rights or some such should cover them all fine. Not sure if there's need to add special symbols.

2014-07-02
With "Intellectual Rights", there is no need for symbols. "Patents, Trademarks, and Copyright" seems a bit too long for a menu item. "Patents, ® & ©" takes a lot less space. I'm also of the opinion this shorter menu item emphasis Patents as they should be for the menu.

2014-07-02
Pedro Ignacio Rencoret, is very long winded about trade dress concerning the video game industry and full of warnings about its attempted applications (dismissed by Judges). Yet, I can't find a single example cited by him (or anybody) where trade dress affected a court decision.

2014-07-03
Look, symbols.
™ & © Cartoon Network.



source: store.steampowered.com/app/297590/


2014-08-14
Scratch ℗ for patents
It stands for a copyrighted phonogram (audio recording)

2021-07-20
Update
Just in case some UVL editors like the term "Intellectual Property", I'd like to remind them that since this discussion began, most legal jurisdictions have now expanded the term to include aesthetics and lifeforms. Until videogames become lifeforms that are able to recognize beauty and are the subject of at least one trade dress and one trade secret lawsuit decision that stands, "Intellectual Property" remains far to broad of a term.

Under current law, a private citizen can claim an alien species as their own Intellectual Property. The aliens don't even have to set foot on Earth.

Well it isn't NOW. Specifically here's the problem with using "trade secret" in regards to video games; if you register it or disclose it (even unintentionally), ipso facto it's no longer a secret; therefore, no longer protected. To be the subject of a trade secret legal dispute someone else has to unsecret it when while it is still a secret. So, if a company sends a demo or prototype to a magazine for review, it is no longer secret. If a developer sends it to a publisher, its no longer secret. If a developer emails it to his home, it is no longer secret. If access is granted to a beta tester, its no longer secret. If a developer brings it to a trade show, its no longer secret (stealing a prototype at a trade show is not a trade secret violation, merely a potential felony; much, much, less serious to a corporation). If the source code claims "copyright" or "©", it is no longer secret. Actually, it is already copyrighted by US law so the "©" is superfluous. To non-© it, it must be implicitly declared public domain, and kept secret, and only then can it be a trade secret.