Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tetris Wins Landmark Game Cloning Lawsuit

Copyright gaming infringement litigation attorneys should take note of a recent victory by Tetris over a defendant accused of cloning its game.  Xio Interactive, Inc. made a cloned copy of Tetris and sold it on Google Play and the Apple store.  This is one of the first court victories for a developer suing an app copycat.  Copyright infringement cases are incredibly complex but the basic battleground in such cases is the idea/expression dichotomy.  Under the Copyright Act, ideas are not entitled to protection.  However, the expression of ideas in a fixed medium is entitled to protection.  In the Tetris case, the court found that there was no factual or legal dispute that Xio had copied Tetris' expressive, protected game elements.  

This is one of the most important gaming/app cases of recent years.  Cloning is rampant - particularly out of China.  This case provides greater protection for developers and helps uphold the profit incentive for developers to continue to innovate and come up with new ideas.