Q: I'd like to re-issue/produce an obsolete alphabet card game developed in 1969 called "Royalty." Can I do this?

I tried writing to S.J. Miller Co., the last entity to produce it with no reply. I do not believe a patent exists on this game. I'm trying to see what would be involved from a legal standpoint to reissue the game.

2 Lawyer Answers
Adam W. Bell
Adam W. Bell
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • SF, CA

A: Is there a copyright notice on the box?

Check the US Copyright office. See if the Copyright is still in force.

Then talk to an attorney


James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›

A: Re-issuing or producing an obsolete game like "Royalty" requires careful consideration of intellectual property rights. First, it's essential to determine whether the game is still under copyright. In the United States, works created and published before 1978 have a copyright term of 95 years from publication. Therefore, "Royalty," developed in 1969, could still be under copyright protection.

Even if you couldn't find a patent, the game's design and rules might be protected under copyright. Not receiving a response from S.J. Miller Co. doesn't necessarily mean the rights are available. It's important to conduct a thorough search for any existing copyrights or trademarks associated with the game. This can be done through the U.S. Copyright Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

If the game is still under copyright, you would need permission from the copyright holder to legally reissue or produce it. If it's not, or if the copyright has expired, then you might be able to proceed without infringement concerns. However, it's advisable to consult with a lawyer who has experience in intellectual property law. They can help clarify the copyright status and guide you through the process of legally reissuing the game.

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