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Owning Your Success: IP Considerations for Educational Game Development

Let’s say you’ve done it – you’ve poured a huge amount of time and resources into developing an educational game. Countless hours crafting learning objectives, collaborating with subject matter experts, and refining game mechanics. But have you safeguarded the intellectual property (IP) rights that form the bedrock of your project’s long-term success?

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Many clients come to us not just seeking development expertise but also guidance navigating IP considerations. Our holistic approach supports strong IP foundations, positioning projects for a sustainable impact. We understand the critical importance of ensuring you own the valuable creative assets that drive your game’s growth and evolution!

In-House Asset Creation Ensures Ownership

When you’re knee-deep in development, it’s easy to overlook the importance of asset ownership. But imagine pouring resources into a game only to discover later that key components aren’t truly yours. One advantage of working with Filament is our comprehensive in-house development process. 

Every component – from art to music to effects – is crafted by our internal team specifically for your project. This means all original assets are unambiguously owned by you. This is important because it means you have complete ownership over these assets. They’re not licensed from a third party that could limit your control; instead, you have a fully proprietary body of work – a game made up entirely of components that you own outright.

Having clean, well-documented ownership of your game’s IP is increasingly important as AI technologies advance. One area where this matters is large language models (LLMs). LLMs are a type of AI that can understand, generate, and manipulate human language. They’re often trained on vast amounts of text data.

In the future, you might want to train an LLM on your game’s content – things like dialogue, quest descriptions, or educational passages. This could allow you to create personalized learning interactions powered by AI, such as an AI tutor that can engage in natural conversations with students based on your game’s characters and world. But to train an LLM on your game, you need to have clear rights to all of that content. If your IP ownership is murky or tangled up with third-party licenses, it becomes much harder to leverage your game data in AI applications. 

That’s why we place such a strong emphasis on ensuring you have a clear “chain of title” – a record proving your ownership for every deliverable we create. It protects your investment and keeps your options open over time.

Trademark Guidance Protects Your Brand

So, you’ve got a fantastic educational game, but how do you make it stand out in a crowded market? Enter trademarks – a powerful brand protection tool. A registered trademark can be a game-changer, but navigating the process can feel overwhelming. 

First, let’s break down the differences between copyright and trademark. They’re both forms of intellectual property protection, but they serve different purposes. Copyright automatically applies to original creative works, like your game’s code, artwork, and music. It prevents others from copying or using those elements without your permission.

Trademarks, on the other hand, are all about brand identity. They protect the unique names, logos, slogans, and other distinctive elements that help players recognize and remember your game. Think of iconic gaming brands like “Minecraft,” or “Fortnite” – their names and logos are protected by trademarks.

Registering a trademark gives you exclusive rights to use those brand elements in connection with your game. It prevents competitors from using similar names or logos that could confuse players or make your game harder to find. Trademarks also act as a quality seal, signaling to players that your game meets the high standards they expect from your brand. But the trademark registration process can be complex, especially if you’ve never navigated it before. There are searches to conduct, applications to file, and potential legal challenges to overcome. 

That’s where our in-house trademark expertise can help. We can guide you through every step of the process, helping you make informed decisions about which brand elements to protect and how best to protect them. For example, we can advise you on selecting a name for your game that’s both memorable and legally defensible. We’ll conduct thorough searches to ensure your chosen name isn’t already in use by another game or company. If needed, we can suggest alternative names that are equally impactful but less risky from a legal standpoint.

The same goes for visual elements like logos and app icons. Our team can help you design marks that not only capture your game’s spirit but also meet the legal criteria for trademark registration. We’ll advise you on choices like color schemes, fonts, and graphical elements that can enhance your trademark’s strength.

In some cases, you might even want to consider a sound mark – a short audio clip players associate with your game. Think of the iconic “EA Sports, it’s in the game” jingle or the Xbox startup sound – we can help you explore these non-traditional trademark options as well.

By taking a proactive, strategic approach to trademarks, you can build a strong, distinctive brand identity for your educational game. You’ll be better equipped to cut through the noise, attract players, and safeguard your game’s reputation for years to come. 

Involve Subject Matter Experts for Custom Content

Educational games often delve into complex subject matter that requires deep domain expertise. Accuracy and authenticity are paramount to any game-based learning project. But how can you ensure your game’s content aligns with the latest academic standards and best practices? The answer lies in collaboration with subject matter experts (SMEs).

SMES are the people within your organization who have deep expertise in the subjects your game will cover. They might be teachers, curriculum specialists, researchers, or other professionals with specialized knowledge. Collaborating with SMEs ensures that your game’s content is academically rigorous and factually correct. They can help you identify the most important concepts to focus on, provide detailed explanations of complex ideas, and ensure that your game presents information in a way that aligns with current academic standards.

But SMEs contribute more than just factual accuracy. They also bring valuable pedagogical insights to the table. They understand how students learn, what teaching strategies are most effective, and how to structure content for maximum impact. 

We believe in partnering closely with our clients’ SMEs from the very beginning of a project. We recommend identifying your key internal experts early on and involving them at every stage of the development process. During the initial planning phase, SMEs can help shape your game’s learning objectives, identify key content areas, and provide input on overall instructional design. 

As development progresses, they can review game scripts, provide feedback on interactive mechanics, and ensure that all content aligns with your desired educational outcomes. This close collaboration not only improves the quality of your game but also ensures that you maintain full control over the intellectual property being created. When your own SMEs are directly involved in shaping the game’s content, that content belongs to you. It’s proprietary material that you can continue to leverage and build upon long after the initial game launch.

Building IPs That Empower

Your educational game embodies major investments of time, capital and creativity. Securing ownership over those valuable IPs is paramount for long-term success. By crafting original assets, pursuing trademark protections, and harnessing internal SMEs, you can establish strong foundations for growth.

With extensive experience navigating IP considerations for clients, we’re here to help! How can we support your project’s unique IP needs and goals? Contact us to start the conversation.

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