Many inventors are interested in the possibility of patenting games, both computer and
desktop ones. However, the games can be patented under the patent law not in all manifestations.
Let us consider in detail all the possibilities of patenting in this direction.
First of all I would like to note that, according to Paragraph 5 of Article 1350 of the Civil
Code of the Russian Federation the rules and methods of games shall not be inventions, and as a
consequence, the patents for the rules and methods of games cannot be obtained. Of course, the
inventor can protect the rules and methods of games as the copyright, in the capacity of literary
works. However, in this case, the protection provided will be shaky, since the protection in the
capacity of a literary work will make it possible only to prevent copying the text of the rules (the
particular extracts/the text). At the same time, copying the game rules’ text word for word will
unlikely be used by other persons, and therefore, if the essence of the game rules remain the
same, but being represented in other words, it will be a different subject matter, and according to
Paragraph 3 of Article 1270 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation the practical use of the
provisions that constitute the content of the work shall not be considered as a use of the work.
Now let us talk about a pleasant thing. What games can nevertheless be patented?
According to Article 1350 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, the technical
solution relating to a product or method, as well as to the use of the product or method according
to a particular purpose can be patented as an invention. In this case, the invention should have
novelty, an inventive step and it should be industrially applicable. The invention is considered to
be new, if it is not known from the prior art. And at this stage, the main task is to determine the
degree of novelty of your game, what can be understood after carrying out an international patent
and information search and the subsequent analysis of the analogues. If there are obvious and
significant differences, it will be possible to conclude that such criterion of patenting as “world
novelty” has been observed.
After carrying out the search for the patents for the inventions that directly relates to the
game, it becomes clear that in the majority of the variants, the games are patented as a whole, for
example, as the method that protects a technical solution in the form of a sequence of actions, i.e.
technology and a patenting system simultaneously. As examples, I shall represent some patents
for the inventions:
– No. 2386170 “THE SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR CARRYING OUT GAMES IN A
CONVENIENT WAY” published on 10.04.2010 Bulletin No. 10;
– No. 2534949 “THE GAME SYSTEM AND THE METHOD FOR ITS
APPLICATION” published on 10.12.2014 Bulletin No. 34;
– No. 2643635 “THE GAME SYSTEM AND THE METHOD” published on 02.02.2018
Bulletin No. 4.
In addition to the systems and methods of the patented games described above, there is
another method to protect their technical component: You can protect your game by filing an
application for a utility model and by obtaining a patent for it over time. The utility model
protects the technical solution that relates only to a device. According to Article 1350 of the
Civil Code of the Russian Federation and Article 1351 of the Civil Code of the Russian
Federation an invention differs from a utility model by the need for the presence of an inventive
step, i.e. the utility model should only be new and industrially applicable.
Thus, when patenting technical solutions as utility models and for subsequent obtaining a
patent for a utility model, it is necessary to observe only two conditions of legal protection:
novelty and industrial applicability, in this case, based on practice, the registration period of the
utility model is approximately 6-8 months from the date of filing an application to the Patent
Office, what is very relevant for the games, which have a short period of use in the market and
which depend on the fashion trends and the new needs of gamers.
Consequently, the choice of the kind of protection of the developed game or its elements
as an invention or utility model depends on the very technical essence of the developed technical
If your game relates to the device, such as a computer or a video player/game console, or
it is any other device that has a housing, which contains structural elements interconnected so
much that it is possible to conclude that this is a whole single device, and at the same time it
should be targeted at obtaining a technical positive effect (it should be noted that spectacularity
is not a result), then such technical solutions can be patented as utility models, subject to the
compliance with the patentability criteria. I shall give below some examples of the patents for
the utility models in this field:
– No. 98336 “THE TRAINING SIMULATOR’S GAME CONSOLE” published on
20.10.2010 Bulletin No. 29;
– No. 108342 “THE DESKTOP GAME VIZZLE” published on 20.09.2011 Bulletin No.
– No. 162880 “THE GAMING DEVICE” published on 27.06.2016 Bulletin No. 18.
If there is no technical component in your game, but the artworks or the graphic elements,
design elements are present, they can be patented as industrial designs, i.e. the appearance of the
game, in other words the design. So, according to Paragraph 1 of Article 1352 of the Civil Code
of the Russian Federation the solution of the appearance of the article of an industrial or
handicraft production is protected as an industrial design. The industrial design shall be granted
legal protection, if it is new and original by its essential features.
I shall give below a couple of examples of the patents for the industrial designs with
respect to a game:
– No. 41797 “THE DESKTOP GAME “FIELD of MIRACLES” published on
– No. 99145 “THE SCREEN INTERFACE OF THE GAME” published on 16.07.2016;
Summing up, it should be noted that the possibility of patenting games, both computer
and desktop ones, exists and it is currently relevant. In this case, obtaining a patent will allow
you to dispose of the exclusive right and it will protect you from the use of your patent by third
parties. Your intellectual property should bring you income, and for this you need to acquire the
exclusive rights to your game by obtaining a patent for an invention, utility model or industrial
design. And what subject matter of intellectual property does your game relate to?