Board game reviews, news and commentary.
Expandable Card Games (ECG), Trademarks & Patents (3 of 3)
Head in the Clouds
Updated: Saturday, May 30, 2015
I’m Chaz Marler from Pair Of Dice Paradise. Recently, I discussed Collectible Card Games, using Magic: The Gathering as an example of the concept; and Living Card Games, using AEG’s Doomtown: Reloaded as an example of that concept. Today, I round out the trilogy by discussing the Expandable Card Game, or ECG. What’s an example of an ECG? Well, AEG’s Doomtown: Reloaded is one. But, wait. Didn’t I use Doomtown: Reloaded as an example of the LCG concept? What’s going on here? What’s the difference? Isn’t Doomtown: Reloaded an LCG?

Well, technically, no, it is not. The reason why AEG’s Doomtown: Reloaded is called an Expandable Card Game, and not a Living Card Game, is simply because Fantasy Flight Games had the foresight to trademark the phrase “Living Card Game”. So, even though other companies’ games, such as Doomtown: Reloaded, utilize the exact same common concept of being a card game that more cards are added to over time, only Fantasy Flight may use the phrase “Living Card Game” to describe them.

Plus, we all have to include that little round “R” trademark symbol when we say it (DING: ), which is just impossible to pronounce.

Now, don’t get upset with Fantasy Flight for arbitrarily staking a claim to a descriptive phrase in, what could be seen to some, as an attempt to stifle competitive innovation within the industry. If anything,

they didn’t go far enough.

For example, even if Fantasy Flight was to continue cleverly trademarking the phrases that describe their products, such as “space opera”, “dungeon crawl” or “poorly written rulebook”, they still -- in my opinion -- dropped the ball by neglecting the opportunity to also PATENT their unique and original concept, similar to what Wizards of the Coast did with their long held patent on the “innovation” of “tapping” a playing card by rotating it 90 degrees.

A patent is intended to protect a unique invention or process. Which makes WotC’s patent all the more brilliant, since the concept of card rotation is neither unique, nor inventive. Further points for patenting something that’s also not a process. It’s a verb. Apparently, you can patent a verb. Let’s all go patent verbs!

All this has inspired me to announce my own upcoming lucrative patent on a few phrases phrases related to board games. Now, the gaming industry juggernauts out there may not like it, but I’m not going to let them intimidate me. You hear me? I’m Chaz Marler, and you won’t silence me becaus-- (CUT TO TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES) Woah, sorry, I got pretty carried away there. My apologies. Well, until next time, I’m Chaz Marler from Pair Of Dice Paradise, saying happy gaming!
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