“The best way to familiarise yourself with IP law is to research contemporary case studies directly related to your own practice. Staying abreast of contemporary issues ensures you are not only aware of the laws but also the precedents set in your time. The breadth of issues covered by the mainstream media is vast, ranging from patent trolls to songwriters stealing melodies” (Falmouth University 2021).
IP is an interesting topic, the first thing that came to mind is this news I saw a little while ago: The Sinking City (Links to an external site.)
The Sinking City was delisted from Steam, Epic Games Store, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Why? The “Short version: We were forced to terminate the contract with our licensee for several breaches of our agreement. We urge you to read this open letter to our fans, journalists and people of the industry, to understand why this is happening and how you can still get The Sinking City” (Frogware Studio 2020). Essentially, Nancon stopped paying royalties to the studio, without the IP which (according to the studio) belonged to the developers. “Once again, BBI/Nacon does not own the IP – they are a licensee. They sell the game – not develop and co-create it. After we refused to comply, we stopped receiving financial contributions for over 4 months” (Frogware Studio 2020).
I chose this IP infringement because it’s a reminder of the many things that can go wrong when developing a game/product, working with publishers, signing contracts and so on. “Since the release of The Sinking City on June 27, 2019” (Frogware Studio 2020) the developers have been involved in court proceedings, which inevitably takes a toll on small studios and the people involved no matter the outcome.
“To complete this activity, you are required to create an inventory of IP assets held by the team. This can be undertaken by each team member asynchronously, or collaboratively with the whole team present at once. This is a speculative exercise so think of the project as if it were just about to be launched” (Falmouth University 2021).
IP asset inventory
- As an individual team member / a team, document your contribution so far.
- Be sure to identify who created each individual IP asset
- Decide which method of protection should be used for each asset:
- Design rights
- None (if you don’t think the asset is worth protecting).
Valuation of the IP
“The income or economic benefit method”
“This method focuses on the revenue IP rights may generate for your business in the future. It considers both the future income, which a right may generate during its economic life, and the costs of generating that income. Risk and financial costs are factored into the equation. The end result is described as the ‘Net Present Value’ or NPV”
Difficulties with this method include:
- it is difficult to estimate the economic life of the IPR
- it is difficult to estimate the income over several years
Other factors that need to be taken into account include:
- the strength of the IPR
- the size of the potential market
- the nature of the competition
- changes in the economic climate
- the cost of registering, enforcing and defending the IPR need to be taken into account.
‘Patents, trade marks, copyright and designs in UK (England and Wales): overview’. 2021. [online]. Available at: https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/Cosi/SignOn?redirectTo=%2f4-501-8291%3ftransitionType%3dDefault%26contextData%3d(sc.Default)%26firstPage%3dtrue [accessed 22 Jul 2021].
Frogware Studio. 2020. ‘Open Letter’ Available at: https://frogwares.com/the-sinking-city-is-being-delisted-heres-why/
‘Ubisoft Delays Rainbow Six Extraction and Riders Republic’. 2021. GamesIndustry.biz [online]. Available at: https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2021-07-16-ubisoft-delays-rainbow-six-extraction-and-riders-republic [accessed 18 Jul 2021].
‘Valuing Your Intellectual Property’. 2021. GOV.UK [online]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/valuing-your-intellectual-property [accessed 21 Jul 2021].