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Warhell

Battleships, royalty fees?

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I'm currently creating a checkers game, and I got the idea of making a battleship game. Is battleship a lot like checkers where it's not the IP(intelectual property) of someone, and your able to make spin-offs of the game were you don't have to pay royalty fees?

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I'm pretty sure that's not the case. Battleship is a very recent product compared to things like Checkers, Chess, Go, Mahjong, or what-have-you. These have all been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years -- So no one today can claim ownership.

Battleship came out in 1931 as a pencil and paper game first published by Milton Bradley. More info can be found here. But it is most definately not in the public domain.

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So, I would most definitely get my ass sued if I made a really good spin-off of battleship and made money from the product?

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Quote:
Original post by ravyne2001
Battleship came out in 1931 as a pencil and paper game first published by Milton Bradley. More info can be found here. But it is most definately not in the public domain.


But Wikipedia does not agree with you:

The game Battleship is a game played by two people. Although popularized in the United States as a commercial board game, first published by the Milton Bradley Company in 1931, it is known throughout the world as a pencil and paper game and predates the First World War in this form.

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The idea for the game is not their IP, the name of the game and associated imagery and instructions is.

You can copy their game logic EXACTLY and put your own skin on it and it's yours for the reaping.

[jaded]This is what the casual games industry is all about[/jaded]

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Quote:
Original post by Warhell
So, I would most definitely get my ass sued if I made a really good spin-off of battleship and made money from the product?


No, general gameplay ideas aren't covered by copyright or trademarks.

It is completely legal to make a game similar to any other game as long as:

1) You don't copy any assets (art,code,etc).
2) You don't copy any names (If those names are tied to another product)

Thus you can make a Battleship game as long as you come up with your own name.

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In the most positive case, I would want to call it just "battleship" would that be in conflict with the one made by the company mentions? I'm just wondering, because I always see a whole bunch of battleship game simply called "battleship" spread across the web.

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Just call it something different. One of my recent games (Ultimate Board Games Collection PSP) had "Naval Battle" in it. Guess which game that was :P

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Quote:
Original post by lauris71
Quote:
Original post by ravyne2001
Battleship came out in 1931 as a pencil and paper game first published by Milton Bradley. More info can be found here. But it is most definately not in the public domain.


But Wikipedia does not agree with you:

The game Battleship is a game played by two people. Although popularized in the United States as a commercial board game, first published by the Milton Bradley Company in 1931, it is known throughout the world as a pencil and paper game and predates the First World War in this form.


Ha! That's funny, my bad... I guess that's what I get for skimming for the information I expected to find.

At any rate, Wikipedia will fill in the history, but its still likely that Milton Bradley has Battleship, the title, trademarked.

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Quote:
Original post by Masked Dave
but if you called it something else you'd be fine.


Probably.

Remember that there is an extremely low bar for bringing suit. You can sue anyone for pretty much anything that approaches reasonable.

In this instance they could easily sue you, regardless of whether they'd actually win, in which case you'd need to pay a lawyer (i.e. you'd lose $$ anyway). You'd probably get back the fees in a counter-suit but, then you'd likely need to pay upfront for that.

The business world is not kind towards people that it knows cannot afford to fight them in court.

As always, if you intend to release something publicly and you already have an inkling that someone might care, consult a lawyer.

-me

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