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Centre for Commercial Law Studies

More Than Just a Game: Interactive Entertainment and Intellectual Property Law

24 April 2015

Time: 2:00pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre, Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London, 67-69 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3JB

Interactive Entertainment is bursting with Intellectual Property. In this environment, creativity meets the latest technologies, thereby spawning cutting-edge law issues. This seminar will address some of the fundamental questions related to the legal nature of video games, the boundaries of protectability, and the relationship between Interactive Entertainment and Intellectual Property law, including digital exhaustion and key selling, and the issues surrounding interactivity as a form of creativity.

This seminar will provide a platform for academics, practitioners, developers and publishers to share views, exchange ideas, discuss challenges and explore solutions; in order to map the Intellectual Property issues that must to be addressed for a more appropriate promotion and protection of interactive entertainment works.


14.00-14.30 Registration

14.30-14.35 Welcome (Dr Gaetano Dimita, Professor Spyros Maniatis)

14.35-16.30 First Session

  • Ross A. Dannenberg, Banner & Witcoff, Washington, "Patentslayer: Patentability of Video Games After the US Case Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank"
    The breadth of patent-eligible subject matter has been broadened and narrowed many times in the past 20 years.  In 1998 the State Street Bank case expanded patent-eligible subject matter to include business methods.  In 2010 the US Supreme Court began reigning in patent-eligible subject matter in Bilski v. Kappos.  On June 19, 2014, the Unites States Supreme Court decided its biggest patent case in over a decade by reshaping the landscape of patent eligible subject matter.  Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, or “Alice” as it has become known, severely curbs patent-eligible subject matter by more broadly defining what constitutes an “abstract idea” under US law, and thus is ineligible for patent protection.  This presentation will explore the types of video game patents that have been granted since the Alice case in an effort to shed light on the types of innovations that video game companies can, and should, seek patent protection for in the United States.
  • Arty Rajendra, Rouse, "Patenting in Gaming Interfaces, Human-Computer Interaction and Virtual Reality Technologies"
    This presentation will look at innovations in these technical areas, what types of patents have been granted and the consequences for the video games industry, with a particular emphasis on the UK.
  • Robert Guthrie, Osborne Clarke, London, "More Than Just Software: Protecting the Game"
    Video games are full of IP and are protected by a wide variety of IP rights. But do these rights provide adequate protection and reward for the creativity and investment of games developers? Should game-feel and innovative gameplay be better protected or does this risk stifling a fast paced industry?

Followed by a panel discussion on Game Cloning

16.30-17.00 Coffee Break

17.00-18.45 Second Session

Hugh Hancock - More Than A Game from Strange Company on Vimeo.

  • Hugh Hancock, Founder, Strange Company and Machinima, "IP: Friend Or Enemy To Gamers?"
    Gamer culture and Intellectual Property Law don't always see eye-to-eye. From Let's Play controversies to the troubled life of the "Machinima" artform, community creativity often interacts with IP law in surprising ways. How is the continuously-changing world of gamer culture affected by the slower-moving world of IP Law, and is that law doing more to hinder than help new frontiers of expression?
  • Professor Dan L. Burk, University of California Irvine, "Copyright, Culture, and Community in Virtual Worlds"
    Communities that interact on-line through computer games and other virtual worlds are mediated by the audiovisual content of the game interface.  Much of this content is subject to copyright law, which confers on the copyright owner the legal right to prevent certain unauthorized uses of the content.  Such exclusive rights impose a limiting factor on the development of communities that are situated around the interface content, as the rights, privileges, and exceptions associated with copyright generally tend to disregard the cultural significance of copyrighted content.  This limiting effect of copyright is well illustrated by examination of the copying of content by virtual diaspora communities such as that formed around the game Uru: Ages of Myst, Thus, the opportunity for on-line communities to legally access the graphical elements on which those communities are built is fraught with potential legal liability.  Reconsideration of current copyright law would be required in order to accommodate the cohesion of on-line communities and related cultural uses of copyrighted content.

Followed by a panel discussion on Digital Exhaustion and Key Selling

18.45-19.00 Closing Remarks

19.00-19.45 Reception

How to Book

Attendance is strictly by invitation only. Please register via Eventbrite.


For more information, please contact the CCLS Events Team on

Photography, video and audio recording

Please note that CCLS events may be photographed or video and audio recorded. These materials will be used for internal and external promotional purposes only by Queen Mary University of London. If you object to appearing in the photographs, please let our photographer know on the day. Alternatively you can email the CCLS Events Team on in advance of the event that you are attending.

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