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Updated: Jan 31, 2022

Board games are table-top games, which are composed of pieces or cards to be placed or rotated on the designed board. Even though number of players of computer games have outweighed the players of board games, there are still millions of fans who prefer board games.

In order to prevent imitations and unauthorized copies, board games and their components need to be protected. Nearby unfair competition, the most efficient way to protect a board game is via intellectual property. Given that intellectual property offers multiple protection methods through various legal rights available, board games can be protected through copyright, trademark, design and patent protection.

Initially, the name of the board game can be protected via trademark protection. The slogans and component names can also be subjected to separate trademark applications, which would result in a layered protection, boosting the value of the trademark.

Additionally, trademark application offers ten years of protection, which can be extended periodically. Since board games are usually copied as low quality imitations, trademark protection is an efficient way to eliminate the risk of identical or confusingly similar trademarks.

The patterns, icons or drawings on the board can enjoy copyright protection as long as they are original to depict an artistic work. Also, such original designs can be protected as industrial designs because board games undergo an industrial process of production. In such a case, design protection can be obtained by filing a design application.

Industrial design protection last for a period of five years, and can be renewed for a limited number depending on the target country. Also, it is crucial to note that a single design can be subjected to multiple designs; such as, different alignments, perspectives, components as long as visible during the activity of playing the game.

Patenting of board games are still a matter of debate in different countries. As of Industrial Property Law No.6769 (Turkey), the plans, rules and methods of the games cannot be patented. Nonetheless, the boardgame apparatus, which are novel, susceptible of industrial application as well as implying an inventive step, can be patented.

Patent protection offers a high level of protection to the owner since the patentee retains the right to exclude others from making, selling or importing the invention. The patent protection lasts for twenty years from the date of application, and cannot be extended unlike trademarks and designs.

In 1935, Monopoly (the board game concerning economics and finance through trading of money and immovables) was patented in the United States. It is still a popular game with many versions. These versions enjoy different protection methods via intellectual property rights. For instance, the tokens in Monopoly are subjected to industrial design, whereas the name “monopoly” is a registered trademark.

If you are looking for the methods to protect your board game and its components, please contact iletisim@regispatent.com


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