Anderson, IN asked in Copyright, Gaming, Intellectual Property and Internet Law for Indiana

Q: As a 3rd-party representative, do I have any legal right to enforce copyright of the company's IP which I represent?

I am a representative for a gaming company's game. I have legal permission to use their IP and game contents and materials for my own use. However, many other entities have created illegal content using the company's IP and game materials without legal permission to gain their own profit. Not only does it affect the company's business, it also affects my 3rd-party partnership business with the company by stealing the customers by publishing and using the same materials I have access to. Often, they copy and paste bits of my website for their own personal use. Do I have the right to report this as copyright infringement even though I am a 3rd-party, licensed to use the company's game materials and IP? They company is based in KR, and the illegal content is hosted in the USA, where my business is located. It is easier for me, a USA citizen, to file a report against another USA company, rather the KR based company.

1 Lawyer Answer
Griffin Klema
Griffin Klema
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Tampa, FL

A: Probably not, unless your license agreement expressly allows you the right to enforce, or you are the exclusive licensee. Oftentimes the intellectual property owner retains the right to enforce or license the IP to others (non-exclusive license), though sometimes there is contractual language that allows a non-exclusive licensee to take certain enforcement action or give the licensee certain benefits for the owner's lack of enforcement. For example, sometimes a license agreement may allow the licensee to pay less royalties if the IP owner doesn't take action to enforce (because, as you correctly observe, that negatively affects the value of the licensed IP). So, unless you already have the right to enforce, are an exclusive licensee, or can secure a new contract that gives you the right to enforce, you probably cannot take action against a putative infringer. Good luck!

Will Blackton agrees with this answer

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