From Konstantin Ewald & Felix Hilgert of Osborne Clarke:

Another year, another gamescom… This time, one of the hot topics we discussed a lot in individual meetings and at the VGBA European Summit was publishers' fight against "key selling", so we thought we would share some additional resources on the legal aspects of this practice that has German publishers up in arms.

Current press reports: Key selling illegal

The debate was fuelled in part by a publication in Handelsblatt, one of Germany's leading business dailies. One of their correspondents, specialized in white collar crime, reported extensively on the many ways in which key sellers like MMOGA are violating the law. You can find the article in English here and in German (behind a paywall) here.

Courts have been saying it since 2014

In the first landmark case in Germany to deal with key selling back in 2014, we were able to convince the Regional Court of Berlin that the common practice of buying boxed products, discarding the DVD and reselling the key only was in violation of copyright and trademark law. This decision, which has since been confirmed by other courts, is still the cornerstone of any legal strategy against key selling in Germany and beyond: Judgments are possible also against entities domiciled elsewhere, and enforcing them from within Germany, while not trivial, has proven a viable option. You can find a summary of the Berlin case in English here and in German here.

Only a myth: German Federal Court of Justice did NOT just authorize key selling

Finally, a recent decision by the German Federal Court of Justice has been flaunted by some as saying key selling is permitted after all. However, these commentators fail to take into account the very specific nature of video games, which are protected as "hybrid works" according to the case law of the CJEU, and that "usedSoft" principles do not apply to them. We dispel the myth in detail in a note available here.

In short, if key selling gives you a headache, remedies are available. Feel free to get in touch, and we would be happy to help.
There's an interesting article in Law360 today about a potential patent dispute surrounding No Man's Sky and the so-call Superformula.  From the article, and of interest to our readers:

Many video games have focused on space exploration; this premise is hardly unique. The novelty with "No Man’s Sky", and the reason for so much excitement and anticipation over its imminent release, lies primarily in the ambitious size of the universe available for exploration in the game. In traditional video game programming, objects that make up the in-game environments must be created individually by writing numerous lines of code into the game for each asset or piece of art — a labor-intensive and time-consuming process limiting the number of objects that can be included in one game.
Hello Games ostensibly avoids these issues by using a programming technique known as procedural generation. Rather than drafting unique lines of code to create each game asset, procedural generation provides a computer with a system of rules and parameters for the game universe, and then relies upon the computer to create in-game assets in accordance with those rules. In other words, each object in "No Man’s Sky" is created not by individual lines of code written specifically for that asset by a programmer, but instead is created by the computer applying algorithms created by the programming team. These procedural rules could cover everything from the way interstellar and spaceship physics work, to the way vegetation looks on planets with particular climates, to the types and behaviors of wildlife. Using this technique, Hello Games has created an in-game universe of unprecedented size and scope, containing 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 accessible planets.[5]
In late July, the media began to report that a company called Genicap had raised the possibility that "No Man’s Sky" might be running afoul of Genicap’s patent rights in the Superformula. The Superformula is a modified version of the equation that describes a circle, and it was discovered by Johan Gielis around the turn of the 21st Century. Changing particular variables within the Superformula causes the equation to describe all manner of geometric shapes and natural forms.[6] Genicap (Gielis’ employer) received U.S. patent No. 9,317,627 (the “‘627 patent”) on April 19, 2016. The ‘627 patent’s primary claim describes the Superformula as “a method for creating timewise display of widely variable naturalistic scenery ... on an amusement device with minimized data storage and processing requirements ... ”
Click the link above for the entire article.  We'll keep you posted of any developments in this area.
As previously reported, Ed Sheeran was sued back in June for copyright infringement.  Well either the sharks smell blood, or perhaps there's something in the water, but be's been sued again based on another of his songs, as reported by CNN.

This time Ed Sheeran has been sued by the estate of Marvin Gaye, the same folks who sued (and won, pending appeal) Robin Thicke in the Blurred Lines case.  The allegation?  That Ed Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud infringes the copyright in Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On."  First, listen for yourself:

Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud:

Marvin Gaye, Let's Get It On:

What do you think?  Does this case have legs?
< Previous     Home     Next >

Get the Patent Arcade App

Get the Patent Arcade App
Available now for iOS

Search This Blog


Buy your copy today!

Buy your copy today!
ABA Legal Guide, 2d Ed.

Ross Dannenberg

Scott Kelly

Scott Kelly




Data Analytics

Copyright ©2005–present Ross Dannenberg. All rights reserved.