[MUD-Dev] LTM article

Steve {Bloo} Daniels sdaniels at playnet.com
Tue Sep 25 14:53:34 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

Trump wrote:

>   I'm not going to demand royalties for you using my idea, because
>   I'm sure there were 100s of people who thought of it before I
>   did.

Even if there weren't, unless your idea was

  1) novel,

  2) unique, and

  3) non-obvious to a person trained in the relevent field,

it wouldn't meet the prima facie requirements for a patent.  And
without a patent, you couldn't demand anything for your idea.  Ideas
that aren't protected by patent aren't protected by *anything*!

If you have an idea you want to protect and it doesn't qualify for a
patent, your only hope of protection is:

  (1) Trade Secret (which has some overhead with it but abusively
  wide and sweeping 'shrink-wrap' licenses might help you there), or

  (2) Distort Trademark law theory (particularly 'trade dress'
  theory) to assert that terms like "Hit Dice", "Hit Points", "Armor
  Class", "d20", "Mana", "Stamina" are unique source identifiers of
  your product and the use of them by anyone else, not under license
  to you, would confuse the market as to who the source of the
  product is, thereby free-riding on the goodwill you have created,
  'difuse' your trademark or lead to 'sponsorship'/'affiliation'
  infringement by allowing consumers to believe that you at least
  tacitly approve of someone else's use of your mark, assuming you
  have a valid trademark.  [Still with me?]

Of course, it goes without saying that you use those distortions
only after you draft intimidating Cease & Desist letters on the
stationary of some imposing law firm and send them out like
air-dropped propaganda leaflets to anyone who crosses your path.
After all, Cease & Desist letters are how lawyers say 'hello'.

I recall stories of TSR doing things like this in its 'dark times'.
> Implying that Mythic is encroaching on YOUR niche pure comedy.

Only patent holders have niches.


Disclaimer:  I'm a lawyer, but I'm not *your* lawyer.
If you need one, go get one, I don't want none.

"90% of civil contract enforement is based on intimidation
and taking advantage of legal ignorance."
  - Steven Maurer on Slashdot, Dec. 8, 2000.

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