The gaming industry is known for being very innovative and creative. In such an environment, it is normal for companies to be concerned with protecting their ideas, inventions and other creations through intellectual property mechanisms, including patents. But, after all, can a game be patented?
Or, in other words, what features within a game can be patented? We will answer these questions objectively, based on Brazilian practice.
In Brazil, companies cannot patent the games themselves, their rules, their design, their visual presentation, etc. In many cases, these aspects are protected by copyright or by creating a brand related to the game.
In addition, the software itself, that is, the source code through which the game exists, runs and is implemented, is also not protected by patents in Brazil. The source code can be protected by a software registration that is equivalent to a copyright registration.
So then, what may be protected by patents in a game? Well, quite a lot actually. Although the software itself (source code) cannot be protected by patents in Brazil, it is possible to patent software when describing it and defining it as methods, processes and systems that solve a technical problem through a technical solution.
Applying these concepts to the games industry, it is possible, for example, to patent related inventions: digital signal processing (including, for example, image, graphics, lighting, textures, objects, rendering and sounds), procedural generation of data, handling a signal loss situation in a network game, memory management, processing commands issued by a player, etc.
Therefore, when playing your favorite game, note that “behind the curtains” there may be numerous technical solutions like these, many of which may already have been patented in Brazil.