Legal Review of Unfair Competition Issues in the Recent Video Game Litigations
Unfair Competition Prevention, Antitrust, Copyright, Trademark, Game App Store, Video Game
Yun Soo KIM
Previously, the parties of the old video game litigations that alleged before 2015 in Korea seem to focus on seeking intellectual property rights to protect the works of games. Some creations in the game (i.e. images, game characters, etc.) might be protected by copyright law. The logo, symbol, or trademark of the game would be entitled to the Trademark rights. But the other features of the game, such as the title, game rule, and item functions, etc., were hard to be protected under neither laws above. Recently, violation of unfair competition is alleged with the other infringement claims in the lawsuits related to the game IP and businesses. This paper explores the very recent video game cases published between 2019 to May 2021 from the Courts of South Korea, the USA, and Japan. The types of violation of unfair competition prevention laws in such cases could be categorized as the defendant's activity of using achievements of other persons without their permission and harming their economic benefit or using the indication of other goods of it for one's own business. And sometimes, the case could become more serious turning into antitrust litigation. Protection under Unfair Competition Prevention Act could variously cover the issues that traditional IP laws cannot cover. But as the protection gets broader, the concern of game developers not to infringe other game's creation or game company's achievements also gets bigger when establishing a new game or a business.