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Intellectual Property in Action > Intellectual Property in Action - Pg. 132

A Primer on Intellectual Property 132 Without proprietary technology and/or content, a development company is a code factory. While game development requires creativity and will therefore never become a commodity product, a developer with a unique competitive advantage (such as a great proprietary technology) is more likely to escape the yoke of constantly scrambling for customers of its team's time. Furthermore, creating scalable, reusable, modular technologies enables your company to leverage its proprietary assets to reduce development time of subsequent projects. Most people working in a technology-intensive industry like game development are sensitive to the business imperative of intellectual property rights to their work product. This chapter will also alert you to other areas of your business that need protection, such as your enterprise name and logo. Many developers balance the need to protect their investment against what they see as a core ethic of programming--enabling innovation through the sharing of information. There is a significant movement lobbying against software patents, as many are seen as overbroad and unfairly restricting competition. This chapter presents and explains the law of protecting software with trade secrets, copyright, and patents, and leaves it to the reader to determine which is the right choice for his company. Enforcing intellectual property is usually a joint effort between owners and publishers/distributors. International registration and enforcement poses unique, unavoidable problems: the game industry, like the film and television industry, relies on worldwide release revenue to support production costs. This chapter will review the laws of different countries and the best way to safeguard your property abroad (including how to figure out if it's worth the cost). Unfortunately, not every country operates with the same protective zeal as the U.S., so we'll review some piracy and gray market precautions. This chapter is broken into two main sections, "IP 101" and "Protecting Your Assets." There are four main categories of intellectual property: · Trade secrets. Trade secret law protects confidential business information and processes that