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Someone Stole My Board Game! (Part I)

Part I of a four-part series of blog posts covering intellectual property and board games.

Board games are hot.

The new board games flooding the market are not your grandfather’s board games. These new games cover everything form zombies to giant dieselpunk war machines to exploding kittens. Others have hundreds of pieces, take hours to play, and/or cost hundreds of dollars apiece. The hobby is attracting new fans every day, with even Wall Street executives getting in on the action. The developers of this latest incarnation of board games are raising millions of dollars in investments, often before even a single copy of the game hits the shelves.

As these new board games generate more consumer demand, from a rapidly growing board game fanbase, more inventors enter the market and invent even more new board games, which leads to even more demand. This snowball effect of more demand leading to more games has grown the board game industry into a nearly ten billion dollar annual market. Unfortunately, despite almost all of these new board games containing protectable intellectual property, very few board game developers fully understand what intellectual property is, what intellectual property they have, and how to go about protecting it. Even worse is that many of these board game developers do not understand that their new board game may actually infringe someone else’s board game, which may lead them into an expensive and time-consuming legal battle.

Next up: Part II So I invented a new board game. Now what?

Brett Trout

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Posted in Board Games, Copyright Law, Patent Law, Trademark Law.