Rochester, NY asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for New York

Q: I'm in the early stages of developing a board game and have a prototype done that I am ready to playtest.

I plan on bringing it to GenCon in August, but I am concerned someone may use my mechanics and concept for their game. I'm also not sure whether to patent the game, copyright, trademark or start a DBA. What would be the next step?

2 Lawyer Answers
Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Moorestown, NJ

A: Boardgames have traditionally been protected by copyrights and by trademarks.

This is good news for you, because it looks like the protection is going to be relatively cheap.

Good luck in Indianapolis!

Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Licensed in New York

A: A agree that copyrights and trademarks are important but depending on the game, you may be able to obtain patent protection. See for example US Patent No. 9908033 which issued in 2018 for a variation to UNO. You can do an initial search using tools set forth in http://bit.ly/Patent_Searching.

Once you have done some initial searching, you can contact a patent attorney to take the search to the next level.

If you are looking to preserve patent options in many places, then you should not make or offer any sale terms to sell the product. You shall not operate the invention in a public place. Ideally, you do not describe the inventive features on a public document on the internet or in anyother forum.

I hope that this helps.

Kevin E Flynn

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