Intellectual Property Protection in the Gaming Industry

Vitaliy Orikhon
Patent Counsel for IPR GROUP

The video game industry is one of the most dynamic and innovative entertainment industries in the world today. Game development studios are constantly creating unique and exciting projects that attract millions of players worldwide. In such a competitive environment, it is important to protect intellectual property, including trademark and patent registration.

The importance of trademark registration:

Registering a trademark allows game studios to establish their unique brand and prevent its illegal use by other companies or competitors.

The registered trademark “Nintendo” is a protected identifier for Nintendo products and game platforms.

Registering a trademark helps to create recognition in the market, which helps the studio attract and retain the attention of consumers.

The trademark “Call of Duty” from the developer studio Activision is one of the most recognizable brands in the gaming industry.

 The importance of registering patents:

Patent registration allows game studios to protect their innovative designs and technologies from illegal use or copying by other companies.

For example, Epic Games has registered a patent for its Unreal Engine game engine, which is one of the most popular and powerful engines in the game industry.

Patent registration allows game studios to license their technology and innovations to other companies, which can be an additional source of revenue.

For example, Konami has registered a patent for its game motion control technology, which has been licensed to other developers for use in their projects.

Intellectual property registration is an important part of the success of game development studios in today’s industry. It provides legal protection for brand, innovation and technology, and helps create market awareness and commercial exploitation of intellectual property.

There are many patents in the gaming industry that relate to various aspects of gaming technology, devices, and methods. Here are a few examples of patents related to the game industry:

  • Game engine patent: Many game development studios register patents for their game engines, which are software platforms for creating and running games.

Example: Unreal Engine patent registered by Epic Games.

  • Gaming device patents: Various gaming devices such as consoles, controllers, and virtual realities may also be subject to patent protection.

Example: Patent for Kinect, an innovative motion recognition device registered by Microsoft.

Patents for game methods and processes: Game studios also register patents for unique game methods, mechanics and processes that make games unique and innovative.

Example: Patent for the level and progression system registered by Blizzard Entertainment for the game World of Warcraft.

Gaming device hardware patents: Various hardware components used in gaming devices, such as graphics processors, sound systems, and touchpads, may be subject to patent protection.

Example: A patent on a graphics processor registered by NVIDIA.

Game design and interface patents: Game developers can also register patents for unique game designs and user interfaces.

Example: Patent for a unique game controller design registered by Sony for the PlayStation.

 These are just a few examples of patents related to the gaming industry. It is important to note that the list of patents is constantly expanding, as developers are constantly bringing new innovations and technologies into the gaming field.

Intellectual property rights infringement in video games can lead to lawsuits and disputes between companies and developers. Here are some examples of court cases involving intellectual property infringement in video games:

  • Bethesda Softworks LLC v. Mojang AB (2011): Bethesda filed a lawsuit against Mojang, the developer of the game Minecraft, claiming that Mojang’s new project name, Scrolls, was in violation of their trademark “The Elder Scrolls.” The lawsuit ended in an amicable agreement that gave Mojang the right to use the name Scrolls, but without any connection to the “RPG” genre of games.
  • Nintendo Co., Ltd. v. LoveROMs and LoveRETRO (2018): Nintendo filed a lawsuit against the websites LoveROMs and LoveRETRO, which offered downloads of unlicensed copies of Nintendo games. As a result of the lawsuit, the website owners agreed to shut down their resources and compensate Nintendo.
  • Epic Games v. Fortnite clone developers (several cases): Epic Games has filed several lawsuits against game developers who created a Fortnite clone or used similar elements of the game without permission. Some of these cases have resulted in agreements to pay compensation or to remove the game from the app stores.
  • Universal City Studios v. Nintendo Co., Ltd. (1984): Universal filed a lawsuit against Nintendo, claiming that the Donkey Kong game infringed their copyright on the King Kong character. The court ruled that Universal had no copyright on the King Kong character, and it ruled in favor of Nintendo.
  • Sony Computer Entertainment America v. Connectix Corporation (2000): Sony filed a lawsuit against Connectix, the developer of the PlayStation emulator, Virtual Game Station. The lawsuit ended in an amicable settlement, in which Connectix stopped producing and selling its emulator.

Estimating the value of game studio intellectual property assets can be complicated because it is dependent on numerous factors, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, and licenses and this information is used in different estimation methods.

However, the capitalization of game industry companies can be used as a benchmark to determine their market value. Here are the top 5 game industry companies by capitalization today (data may change over time):

  • Tencent Holdings Ltd. – Capitalization: more than $700 billion.
  • Sony Corporation – Capitalization: about $120 billion.
  • Microsoft Corporation – Capitalization: about $2.5 trillion.
  • Nintendo Co., Ltd. – Capitalization: about $80 billion.
  • Electronic Arts Inc. – Capitalization: about $40 billion.

These companies are major players in the video game market and have significant market value, demonstrating the importance and value of their intellectual property, including franchises, technology and brands.

In the case of timely renewal, it can be stated that the duration of a trademark’s validity is not confined by a specific time limit. Some of the best-known and longest-lived trademarks in the gaming industry include:

 Nintendo – The Nintendo brand, known for its game consoles and characters such as Mario, was registered in 1963 in Japan.

  • Sega – Sega, known for its game consoles and games, was founded in 1940 in Japan, and its trademark was registered at the time.
  • Atari – Atari, one of the first companies in the gaming industry, was founded in 1972, and its trademark was registered at the same time.
  • Sony PlayStation – The PlayStation brand, developed by Sony, was registered in 1994, when the first PlayStation game console was released.
  • Microsoft Xbox – The Xbox brand, owned by Microsoft, was registered in 2001, along with the release of the first Xbox game console.

These are just some examples of the longest-registered trademarks in the game industry.

Here is a list of the intellectual property objects that can be registered as patents or trademarks that relate to video games:


  • Gaming devices and consoles.
  • Virtual and augmented reality technologies for gaming applications.
  • Innovative game mechanics and interfaces.
  • Algorithms and software for game engines.
  • Methods of processing graphics and audio in games.
  • Improvements in artificial intelligence in game systems.
  • Protection against piracy and security measures in games.


  • Names and logos of game studios.
  • Video game names and logos.
  • Unique and memorable characters from the games.
  • Slogans and slogans associated with game brands.
  • Game series and franchises.

Given the rapid development of technology and the entertainment industry, the gaming industry, including the virtual reality industry, will develop rapidly in the coming years. Along with this development, a lot of new and innovative intellectual property is expected to be registered and protected.

Virtual reality technology, as well as other advanced gaming systems and devices, will continue to advance, providing a unique and immersive gaming experience. This may include new gaming devices, impressive graphics, innovative game mechanics and interfaces, and improved methods of player interaction with the game world.

In addition, with the emergence of new game platforms and many independent developers, the number of game franchises and series that will be registered as trademarks is expected to increase. Studio names and logos, characters, and other game-related attributes will be subject to registration to protect brands and create a recognizable image.

In general, in light of the rapid development of the gaming industry, we foresee that intellectual property registration will play an increasingly important role in protecting and supporting innovation in this field. Companies and developers will seek to register their new inventions, designs and brands to provide a competitive advantage and protect their creative achievements.

With this rapid development of the gaming market, it is safe to say that there will be significant portfolios of intellectual property registered in the future. Game companies will create new and unique game concepts, develop innovative technologies and improve graphical capabilities to meet the growing demand from players.

The gaming industry has the potential to become one of the main fields of entertainment, overtaking the movie industry in terms of market share. This is due to the increasing popularity of video games and the growing trend of films based on video games, such as Lara Croft, Mortal Kombat, Warcraft, Prince of Persia, Mario, and many more. These films help to popularize video games and create a synergistic effect, whereby the two industries benefit from each other. Through constant development and innovation, gaming companies continue to capture the attention and imagination of millions of gamers worldwide.

With our years of experience in the field of intellectual property, IPR GROUP has successfully handled intellectual property registrations, including software and new technology patents. We are always up to date on the latest trends and developments in the field of gaming technologies.