09th Jul 2021
Alisha Ramya Palai, BA.LLB, KIIT SCHOOL OF LAW, ODISHA.
Intellectual Property Laws are playing a significant role in gaming industry. With the increase in marketing, competition is increasing day by day and several infringement and violations are happening for which IP laws protection is necessary and thus clarity regarding IP is a must thing now-a-days. Video games in India does not come under a specific law. It generally gets protection under copyright but at the same time for different other aspects other laws like patents, designs and trademark also plays an important role in giving protection. Patents protects innovations, Trademark gives identification, design protects images and characters from getting infringe and so on. So understanding IP properly is a requirement which will help a company to use IP wisely and IP laws can give effective protection in this wide virtual gaming industry.
E-sports, Intellectual Property Law, Virtual gaming industry, Video games, Protection and infringement.
Everyone love physical sports and we are all a fan of outdoor games but this pandemic does not allow us to play outdoor games. And due to which people are preferring virtual platforms to play games. This pandemic has given an opportunity to gaming industry to increase their marketing and sells. The meaning of e-sports is the competition of a particular game between individuals through computers, phone and video games. In e-sports when the spectators and income grows then the advertisers, organizers of the events and other parties who are associated with the e-sports gets a lot of advantages and profit. Intellectual Property laws plays an important and significant role in e-Sports games. Intellectual Property laws helps the parties to understand the legal issues and it will help them in seeking remedies and in resolving issues.
Impact on Virtual gaming during Lockdown-
Lockdown has increased the demand of e-sports due to which internet providers are facing difficulties in providing good networks to everyone. Recently the US telco said that gaming traffic on Verizon’s network shot an unprecedented 75% within a within a week. Even several tech companies are facing problems in keeping a record of customers as the number of customers is increasing day by day.
The publisher of the Wild West Adventure recently assured their gamers that they will keep their online servers smooth and easy so that everyone can play games without any network issues and its global employees will operate from home. Similarly, many companies are now a days making things easier by developing extra activities and also taking several other steps for their gamers so that they will play without any difficulty and in this way their marketing and profit will increase.
Role of Intellectual Property Laws in virtual gaming Industry-
Intellectual Property plays a critical aspect in gaming industry. Starting from developer’s contracts, contracts of jobs like IP ownership to distribution, advertising and licensing IP is a requirement. IP protects the goodwill and reputation of the company. When someone tries to do piracy IP plays a vital role. IP rights are legal rights which provides protection to creators and their original work. When someone tries to copy or tries to enter without the permission and does something with a mala fide intention then in that case infringement takes place and IP plays a big role in giving protection through several remedies like passing off, etc. IP protection is important for a company’s success but it’s a very tough task to do in this fast growing sector. Especially in the virtual market because the internet being a global system and the speed at which internet site can be created and the ease at which it can reach, occupying someone space illegally and hurting someone’s goodwill becomes very easy. Thus in this virtual gaming industry also needs the similar protection as in this fast growing sector it’s very easy to infringe the original game work of the creator without his/her permission and compensation. E-sports are rapidly increasing in India but there are no proper laws to prevent illegal practice. Video games in India does not have any specific category or specific IP protection. 
Video games in general protected under the copyright act as secure code, music, character, etc. Before publishing their respective e-sport in the market, the companies or creators must ensure to do licensing as it provides usage rights to publish their work and copyright holder gets exclusive rights such as reproduce, distribution of copies, creation of derivative work and so on. Copyright protects original work from infringement.
It helps in differentiation of services and products through the signs and symbols and those can be graphically represented. It is a legal protection of the label that is used to distinguish products and services and helps in giving protection from confusingly similar products by identification. It protects the good will and reputation of a company and helps consumers to use right products and if trademark will not be there then high chances of likelihood of loss will happen which is enough to violate someone’s goodwill. It helps the plaintiff in seeking relief against infringement. Well in India trademark registration is not necessary in order to avail protection. Through passing off the protection can be given to the company. In gaming industry, a company is associated with several trademarks and it gives registration to the company and also prohibit rivals from violating reputation and goodwill of the company. Trademark registration is done in pictures and characters and also protects from similar name. Renewal happens in every 10 years.
It protects inventions from their technological features which means inventor will have the sole right on his/her invention and no one can use or implement same invention without permission. As virtual gaming are also inventions and they have technological features thus they are subject to patentability.
It protects the look of a particular product and in e-sports or virtual gaming it protects the graphics as well as the characters of the game so that no individual can take any benefit without permission. 
Characters that are used in games are also important and they should be taken into reflection. Many cases had been taken place in USA because of the unauthorized use of images and characters. In virtual gaming, locate the violators in difficult as users can login from around the world it is difficult to track those rivals who infringes. It creates several challenges so to overcome all this clarity about IP is necessary. For example- Innovators who are working with emerging the virtual reality technologies will have to negotiate the ownership rights properly.
 JEFF Baumgartner, Home Internet data usage surges amid covid-19 crisis, Light reading, July 06, 2021 at 10:20.
 Kris Holt, Red Dead Online will be available as a standalone game on December 1st, Yahoo finance, July 06, 2021 at 10:45.
 Joel David Rodrigues, the importance of the Intellectual Property in the gaming industry, Invent a International, July 03, 2021 at 11:24.
 Ritika Wadhwa and Meril Mathew Joy, India: Copyright in the gaming industry, Mondaq, July 07, 2021 at 11:50.
 Philip Wildman, How to protect your Intellectual Property in the games industry, gamesindustry.biz, July 08, 2020 at 13:20.
*The views in this article are author’s point of view. BSK Legal may or may not subscribe to the views of the author. This article is not intended to substitute legal advice. Any portion or part of this article can be reproduced, copied or used, in whole or in part, after giving due credit to the publisher. The Copyright of the article is with the author.