Share this Page URL

Summary > Summary - Pg. 166

A Primer on Intellectual Property Table 5.7. Strengths and Weaknesses of DifferentCategories Strength Trade Secrets Can be made public in certain forms and maintain its trade secret status; Protects ideas, concepts, and methods, not just a particular embodiment thereof; Protects special features or components of released software as long as the features are not readily reverse-engineerable; No expiration date Copyrights Offers broad protection to many types of information and work; Provides inexpensive protection for entire games with one registration; Software can be registered with trade secret portions blocked out to maintain confidentiality Trademarks Prevents others from marketing works under the same or confusingly similar names Patents The ability to protect ideas, methods, and concepts as well as their embodiments; The ability to prevent others from using the patented property, even if they developed it independently Weakness Trade Secrets Only protects against disclosure by parties with a legal duty not to disclose (employees and third parties under NDA); Nothing that is reverse-engineerable can be protected as a trade secret; Do not defend against a third party's independently developing the same concept or product; Can become expensive and time consuming Copyrights Copyrights do not protect ideas, concepts, or methods, which are often key to software's value; In most cases, copyrights only protect literal copying, enabling competitors to clone with impunity Trademarks Costly to obtain, rigorous application procedure; Does not protect against similar materials sold under a different mark Patents Long, expensive, uncertain registration process; Pitfalls attached to the application process that require close monitoring by an experienced attorney; Practice is controversial within the game development community 166