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 Post subject: Does anyone copyright their puzzles?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 7:15 pm
My first Shapeways puzzle is almost complete, the stickers have yet to arrive, and I was wondering if other inventors here do anything to protect their designs. It is basically a 3x3x3 mod, similar to the Venus cube, with a unique type of bandaging. I have high hopes that this puzzle will be mass-produced, and I want to make sure KO's are not made.


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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone copyright their puzzles?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:10 pm 
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Copyright is automatic: you don't need to apply or register for copyright with any authority, but it helps if you attach notice of copyright (with the (c) symbol) to any pictures, which you should also post to yourself in a recorded envelope, left unopened in case you need evidence to prove yourself as the original creator.

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone copyright their puzzles?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:14 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 1:47 am
Location: near Utrecht, Netherlands
You automatically get copyright protection when you publish something. Usually it does not offer much protection (enforcing it is quite hard and expensive).
Alternatives like patents and design registrations are very expensive. Basically it's almost never worth it to get any form of protection.

The envelope business is not worth the time either. It may help you prove when you had something but it's very easy to fake and it doesn't have any legal status. In the end, you will most probably never ever have to defend your copyright and if you will have to, enforcing it will be more expensive than is realistic.

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone copyright their puzzles?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:19 pm 
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Let me answer you this way. V-Cubes has world wide patents yet KO V-Cubes exist worldwide.

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone copyright their puzzles?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:49 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:43 pm
Location: Shelby Township, MI. USA
A copyright on a picture only protect the picture, not the item in the picture. A copyright on a drawing of a design will protect that drawing against copying, but not the item that the design represents.


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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone copyright their puzzles?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:28 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:38 pm
Location: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Hi,

Steve Winter claimed he had some protection on the Ethereal Maze design, but he didn't inform how exactly.

There's the Seven Towns trademark discussion; a trademark registration is not that expensive if you want protection. But I'm yet unsure if such will hold.

Coincidentally I'm going to talk to a patent lawyer next week regarding trademark or design registration and costs involved. I think the answer I'll get there will also be fitting for you (as I'm going to talk regarding an alternative design & puzzle).

If you want another kind of legal protection: maybe a notary can help you. They are legally installed to declare that you have come to them at a certain date with certain documents (or a product). So that information will hold in court. But probably a design registration will cost only little more and is much clearer regarding the registration. (Documents of a notary are not publicly disclosed; trademarks, patents and design registrations are)

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone copyright their puzzles?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:51 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:38 pm
Location: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
I visited the patent & model registration attorney (in fact, it were 2 persons).

So for people interested here are some numbers regarding protection of a puzzle design via an official patent lawyer (alternative: you can do the full registration yourselves, but this is not advised seeing the claims and such are very specialized matters):

Note: this info is for the EU (and NL-patent lawyer rates / salaries); and excludes tax (19% in NL)

* EU model registration: starting at Euro 1200,-. Includes all EU countries. Each extra model variant in the same registration will cost about Euro 300,-. Protection possible up to 25 years. (Renewal fees)

* EU model registered as USA design patent: expected to cost about Euro 3200,-

* Trademark: cheaper (Euro 750,-? I did not go into that route further)

* Patent: PCT, estimated now (for my puzzle) about Euro 8.000,- including required prior art investigation of Euro 1600,-. Patent can be extended to 20 years (Renewal fees and additional fees for transferring PCT into EU and/or USA patent etc.).


So, now I've to decide if and what I'm going to do.
And probably will weigh it much by the investigation I'll do for puzzle patents and roughly decide myself what the 'prior art' state is. Main discriminator between design protection (model registration) and patent is, that a patent looks (only) at the technical new inventions (and not the looks), where the model registration does not look at the technical invention but (only) at the shape / looks.

(Compare: Verdes patent. They decided to protect their new internal mechanism. Not the outside shapes build on the mechanism)

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone copyright their puzzles?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:01 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:38 pm
Location: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
<bump>

I've found that Verdes (also recently) has registered their designs:

link to EU-design registration

fill in 'KAINOTOMIES' as name of owner.
(section 'play cubes' or 'logic toys')

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