A member of the United Kingdom’s Parliament has opened an inquiry into the legality of loot boxes. Loot boxes are virtual items that may be redeemed to receive a randomized selection of additional virtual items. Various countries around the world have recently moved to regulate the provision of loot boxes in video games, often in response to inquiries from consumers or legislators, such as the aforementioned inquiry in the UK. This leads to the ultimate question: are loot boxes legal? The linked article below addresses this question and several other issues related to loot boxes.
Continue Reading Are Loot Boxes An Illegal Gambling Mechanic?

Across the country, colleges and universities are turning to eSports as a new addition to their athletic programs. Earlier this year, the University of Utah became the first school from a major athletic conference to offer varsity eSports. With an increasing number of institutions offering scholarships to the top high school video gamers, a single administrative body will likely emerge to regulate recruiting, monitor the amateur status of participants, and govern other issues related to the bourgeoning collegiate sport.
Continue Reading eSports on the Rise as Collegiate Sport

The Federal District Court in Delaware recently denied a motion to dismiss a patent infringement case involving a video game networking technology patent based on the patent allegedly being  invalid for lack of patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Despite all of the recent press regarding the so-called Alice test, which revised the test for patent-eligible subject matter, video game related patents are still obtainable and enforceable. It is critical that patent applications for these inventions be carefully considered, the patent applications be properly drafted and the claims be presented in a way that complies with the relevant test.
Continue Reading Video Game Network Patent Found to Be Patent Eligible – Not an Abstract Idea

Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League gained two new teams this month as Stan and Josh Kroenke, owners of the Los Angeles Rams and numerous other professional sports franchises, and Jack Etienne, founder and CEO of American eSports organization Cloud9, each acquired a team in the expanding league. The team acquired by Stan and Josh Kroenke will be based in Los Angeles, and the team acquired by Jack Etienne will be based in London.
Continue Reading eSports League Expands with Addition of NFL Owners and Cloud9

A recent federal district court decision denied a motion to dismiss a complaint brought by Artifex Software Inc. (“Artifex”) for breach of contract and copyright infringement claims against Defendant Hancom, Inc. based on breach of an open source software license. The software, referred to as Ghostscript, was dual-licensed under the GPL license and a commercial license. According to the Plaintiff, those seeking to commercially distribute Ghostscript could obtain a commercial license to use, modify, copy, and/or distribute Ghostscript for a fee. Otherwise, the software was available without a fee under the GNU GPL, which required users to comply with certain open-source licensing requirements. The requirements included an obligation to “convey the machine-readable Corresponding Source under the terms of this License” of any covered code. In other words, under the open source license option, certain combinations of proprietary software with Ghostscript are governed by the terms of the GNU GPL.
Continue Reading Important Open Source Ruling Confirms Enforceability of Dual-Licensing and Breach of GPL for Failing to Distribute Source Code

The SEC shut down a “fantasy” stock picking game for allegedly violating securities laws. Forcerank LLC ran contests via mobile phone games where players paid a fee and predicted the order in which 10 securities would perform relative to each other. In each week-long game, players won points based on the accuracy of their prediction, and players with the most aggregate points received cash prizes at the end of the competition.
Continue Reading Fantasy Stock Picking Contest Deemed by SEC to be Illegal Security-based Swaps

Hugely successful games attract lawsuits. Pokémon Go has been hugely successful and, predictably, has attracted a lawsuit.

In a recently filed class action, a plaintiff has alleged that a number of the GPS coordinates that Defendants had designated as Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms were, in fact, on or directly adjacent to private property, and that Defendants had placed these Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms without the consent of the properties’ owners.


Continue Reading Pokémon Go…es To Court!