The IP challenge with the development of mobile gaming in ChinaAAA IPRIGHT2
Gaming has been one of the most profitable industries in the world. In the first decade of the 21st century, it is PC gaming, or desktop gaming, and other variables such as consoles, WII, etc. that thrives, no matter if the game is offline or online. However, recently, in the second and the beginning of the third decades of the 21st century, it is actually the mobile gaming industry that is slowly becoming the dominant one. This is because mobile is convenient, small, multi-function, can be taken anywhere, etc., and overall, have a large range of users, especially in big markets like China, from young to old, unlike PC which is more for the grownups only. However, the rising of mobile gaming has had many legal obstacles, mainly the IP challenge with the development of mobile gaming in China that need to be dealt with in order to thrive in the world.
In China, the country with the largest population worldwide, there are roughly 57% smartphone users in 2021. This number might break 60% at the end of 2022 or even more, meaning that there are at least 1 in 2 people in China uses a smartphone.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that about 700 million people in China all play mobile gaming. However, it’s safe to say that there are at least hundreds of millions of mobile players in China.
Although the number is great, we might not see such a rise, or even the same number remained, in the period from now to 2030. This is because if the legal area of China on mobile gaming hasn’t been fixed, this theory might become reality.
Problems with the mobile gaming industry in China
Normally, to build a good game, the gaming company takes all the roles, from creating a goods story to building the codes based on a complex engine that they might also self-create. However, nowadays, the China gaming companies tend to partner up with international studios which have already had a good game, whether it is PC or mobile, but at the moment, mostly PC.
Therefore, the China companies will have the right to develop mobile versions of their international studio partners’ famous games which have already had a huge base of players, and fans.
However, gaming companies also have the same problem as with famous brands’ expansion.
Because even if in the international studio’s location, there are no trademark issues but in China, there might have already been a trademark in China registered with that game.
Therefore, the registered trademark owner might deny the game’s expansion if not compensated with an adequate amount of money.
Mingming Yang, a partner, Wanhuida IP in Beijing said: “Taking the live-action animation Monster Hunt as an example, it used to be the highest-grossing movie in Chinese film history, but the right owner faced difficulties developing and launching a mobile game because the name of the movie has already been registered by a competitor in terms of providing online games on computer networks. In China, the name of a fiction or movie or the name of the main character cannot be protected under copyright law, and the producer eventually got the trademark back by claiming the merchandizing interests.”
Game plagiarism is another developmental challenge.
For instance, if the most important, recognizable element of a game is duplicated, there might be some potential legal conflicts between the developers.
However, Fredrick Xie, an associate at HFG Law & Intellectual Property in Shanghai has shared a different point of view about this issue: “In recent years, with the strengthening of IP protections and multiple jurisprudence from the Chinese courts, this issue has been largely solved. The gaming companies can protect their assets through trademark, copyright, and anti-unfair competition.”
– You could see How To Register Trademark in China here.
– You could visit here to see Procedure of Trademark in China.
– You could visit here to check Required documents of filing trademark in China.
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