App Law Round-Up


If the health of an industry is measured by the litigation it spawns, then the app and gaming economy is going strong:

  • Courtesy of Fantasy FlightCopyright: Fantasy Flight Publishing has sued a European app-developer, Puffin Software, for alleged infringement of copyright in a medieval-themed game (Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. v. Puffin Software et al. U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota Case No. 11-cv-01928, Filed July 15, 2011). Fantasy Flight claims that Puffin’s iPad title “Viking Lords” is an infringement of copyright in the board game BattleLore owned by Fantasy Flight. In the claim, Puffin allegedly approached Fantasy Flight to pitch an iPad version of BattleLore, and when there was no uptake, Puffin decided to go ahead and publish the game under its own title.  The case will involve an analysis of the elements of each game, and a breakdown of functional and original elements, as in the Sony case (below).
  • Patent: App-developer Zynga has been sued in Segan LLC v. Zyna Inc. for alleged infringement of Segan’s U.S. Patent No. 7,054,928, which was issued for a system for accessing “enhancement content” on the internet. The claim alleges that Zynga titles such as FarmVille, PetVille, and FrontierVille infringe the patent.
  • g3_gowlogo.gifCopyright: In Dath v. Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower-court decision in a copyright infringement case involving the Sony PS2 and PSP title “God of War”. The plaintiffs alleged that Sony infringed copyright in their written works about war between Sparta and Athens. The plaintiffs could not show actual copying, so they had to rely on the US concept of access and substantial similarity. Remember, copyright does not protect ideas, but merely the form and expression of ideas. In this case, there was no substantial similarity of expression of ideas. In this analysis, the court reviewed elements of expression such as plot, themes, dialogue, mood, settings and characters, and concluded that the works were not similar and no infringement occurred. 

Calgary – 07:00 MDT

No comments

No comments yet. Be the first.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.