I am a lover of classic games and I've developed some classical games such as:

  • Connect 4
  • Monopoly
  • Trivial
  • Battleship

My main question is what will happen if I publish any of these applications in the existing app stores such as Play Store or App Store for Android/iOS.

Can I create my own games and publish them? Or I will encounter legal problems because these games have been around for years and are protected by the creators.

Should I use an exclusive design or can I rely on the designs of the original games?

Nowadays, I can see most of these games are published by different developers than the original creator of the game.

  • "Could some one guide me in this matter?"- Yes, a lawyer. – Studoku Nov 10 '20 at 15:40

It depends on the game and what you copy.

Games are an utter nightmare when it comes to IP law as so many parts of them cannot be copyrighted. Game rules for example cannot be copyrighted, nor can the concept itself.

Some things can be copyrighted or trademarked. You cannot use the following:

  • Names
  • Written elements- while the rules themselves can't be copyrighted, rulebooks can
  • Artwork and other visual elements
  • Miniatures designed for the game
  • Original characters

Try to avoid these and the Hasbro lawyers should leave you alone.

  • The printed game rules that come with the game certainly are copyrighted, That doesn't stop you from a rewording that expresses the same concepts differently. – George White Nov 10 '20 at 22:05
  • I've heard gethopolly get sued – user4951 Nov 11 '20 at 1:35
  • @user4951 Due to being a derivative work that used copyrights and trademarks. The name Monopoly, and the character Mr Moneybags are both trademarked. There was also the defamation aspect- the game wa incredibly racist and reflected badly on Monopoly. – Studoku Nov 11 '20 at 12:21

Each game has a different profile of intellectual property including copyrights on text and images and trademarks. Some games may even have patent protection.


What happens? You get sued

These games are the intellectual property (both trademark and copyright) of their owners.

Now, what precisely is protected varies and the Scrabulous suit was settled after changes were made and (possibly) money changed hands.

Many of these games have elements that are old enough to be public domain and the rules themselves have no protection but in their commercial forms (their “trade dress”) and particularly their names have IP protection.

  • Unless, like Battleship, the game is in the public domain. – phoog Nov 10 '20 at 14:16
  • 3
    @DaleM Your link refers to a lawsuit that was dropped. It also refers to a copy of Scrabble, yet Words with Friends exists. I'm not saying this answer is wrong but there is so much more nuance to it. – Studoku Nov 10 '20 at 15:39
  • 1
    Why have critical comments on this admin's post been deleted, and by whom? – bdb484 Nov 11 '20 at 3:43

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