Software engineer, patent examiner, and IP Blogger Charles Bieneman does a nice job summing up this week’s comprehensive copyright infringement grant of summary judgment in the Tetris – Mino battle at Tetris Holding, LLC v. Xio Interactive, Inc., No. 09-6115 (D. N.J. May 30, 2012).
The opinion is a law professor’s delight, since there are no disputed facts and Mino makers admit to trying to copy Tetris. Not the greatest situation for we that try to allow the free and unfettered distribution of ideas. The Bieneman post has a good summary of elements of copying found to be infringment.
I take the time here to dig into the PDF and list some other elements of copying that Judge Wilson found as infringing activity: dimensions of playing field, ghost or shadow pieces, change of color of locked pieces, individually delineated squares within pieces, “the use of bright colors”, etc. The changes of colors was particularly troubling to the court: “Lastly, in both Tetris and Mino, the color of the pieces change from a bright active color to a darker color when the piece becomes locked with the accumulated pieces…..”
I do not look forward to my next advisory session with a startup gaming client.