Liverpool, NY asked in Gaming, Intellectual Property and Trademark for New York

Q: What is the legality of creating and selling a board game based off a fictional board game from a TV show?

A few examples are: The Cones of Dunshire from the TV show 'Parks and Recreation', CharDee MacDennis from the TV show 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia', and True American from the TV show 'New Girl'.

2 Lawyer Answers

Barbara Berschler

Answered
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD

A: For copyright purposes, just as you cannot copy a real game, you may not copy from someone's imaginary game. In both instances, someone created the board game and to the extent the board was an expression of the idea of the game, then that would be off limits without the copyright owner's permission. However, if there is an "idea" of the game and you can determine what that idea is, and then come up with your original expression for the game board, you may be in a better position if challenged for infringement. Best to consult a local IP attorney to work out the specifics.

Barry Eran Janay agrees with this answer

Barry Eran Janay

Answered
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: You'd need to contact the IP owner (NBC / News Corp) to get licensee rights to use the IP that is associated with their shows. It can be done, but it will take an investment of time and some money spent on legal. It's a bad idea to go it alone since even just speaking to them you should have an NDA in place.

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