I have invented a new puzzle game which I have able to play on paper.

However, I want to create a mobile app/web app to let other users play like other below games.

Example: Threes, 2048

But being not a good UI developer myself, I was thinking to contact other UI developer. But if I tell the idea behind my game to them, they could ignore me and launch the game themselves.

How can i get Global copyright access for the puzzle game I invented?

  • 1
    You can’t actually copyright game rules or mechanics - (US reference - copyright.gov/fls/fl108.pdf ).
    – user28517
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 7:25
  • The link you provided says you CAN copyright the rules of a game. That doesn't means someone can't re-write those rules in their own words. Copyrighting "a "set of rules does not protect the idea of tha game. Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 17:30
  • @GeorgeWhite that was kind of my point - but yes, “game rules” can refer to two separate things, and one of them is copyrightable (the specific work documenting the rules) and one cannot (the rules themselves).
    – user28517
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 22:49

2 Answers 2


Games can be protected by patent. You get some protection through copyright, but only on things like artwork and the precise text of the rules; someone could copy the ideas of the game with different artwork and not violate your copyright.

You would need a patent in each country you want to protect it in. In general patents are expensive and complicated. Here is some general guidance on the relevant law in the USA, and how it applies to video games.

If you hire a developer you can do so with a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). This is a contract requiring them to keep your ideas secret. Here is an article about using NDAs when hiring a contractor, but its a complicated area of law and you might be better hiring a lawyer to draft one for you.

  • Games can be patented in the U.S. but in most other locations patents are for technical solutions to technical problems and games would not qualify. Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 17:31
  • re: "only things like artwork and the precise text of the rules", it probably goes without saying, but surely the game code (ie, the program) itself is also copyrightable.
    – grovkin
    Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 2:06

Ideas cannot be protected by either patents or copyright.

If you have a great idea for a game, and I hear of it, I can use that great idea myself.

What you want to do if you hire a software developer: Before you hire them, you don't tell anything about your idea that could let them copy it. If you have to tell them, then you make them sign an NDA (a Non Disclosure Agreement) so they cannot legally use your idea or give the to anyone else.

The downside of this is that a good software developer (with many opportunities open) might not even bother talking to you if you ask them to jump through legal hoops just to hear what the job entails.

Your employment contract would also contain a clause that prevents them from using your idea or telling others about it.

  • in the U.S. aspects of video games are patented all the time patents.google.com/patent/US9079100?oq=video+games board games were routinely granted patents up until a couple of years ago Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 22:03
  • Can you elaborate on "Ideas cannot be protected"? I have heard of companies patenting things they never intend to actually pursue, just to protect themselves from competitors who might enter their space through the patented idea. For example, if an ethanol combustion engine manufacturer patented a kerosene combustion engine, to keep anyone else from attempting to enter the market using kerosene.
    – Tyler M
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 22:06
  • @TylerM They can patent one or more specific implementations of a kerosene combustion engine, they cannot patent the idea of a kerosene combustion engine.
    – user28517
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 22:47
  • But the problem with that is If he tell the idea to somebody and some other team come up with the application, there is no way I can prove that the person has leaked it. They can say it is their orignal idea.
    – Thinker
    Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 7:20
  • 1
    @Thinker In practice that's not a likely scenario. To be frank, in business an idea and $5 will get you a cappuccino; the value comes from the execution. You want to protect your idea so that if it becomes a hit then you don't get lots of copycats. Nobody ever says "Thats a really great idea; I think I'll steal it". Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 7:55

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .