Intellectual Property Law

New Matter SPRING 2019, Volume 44, Number 1

Letter from the Editor-in-Chief

Thomas A. Ward

ARRIS Group, Inc.

Welcome to the spring edition of New Matter for 2019. The cover art for this issue shows how sometimes many aspects of intellectual property (IP) can be embodied in one item. The patent for the Landlord’s Game shown on the cover became the basis for the Parker Brother’s game Monopoly. The game provided a basis for patents trademarks and copyrights. The owner of the Landlord’s Game patent, when it expired, filed for another patent with more claimed game features. This improvement patent was also granted. Patenting improvements to keep patent rights going beyond an initial patent’s expiration is a common practice today. Parker Brother’s purchased the rights to the Landlord’s Game patents which were eventually trademarked as Monopoly. Copyrights were also filed for the game board and other features. Although the game of Monopoly seems to teach players ruthless selfish business practices, the Landlord’s Game was developed with the opposite philosophy, to teach players how private land ownership should have features that are dedicated to the public good. The Landlord’s Game was used for teaching students at business colleges such as Wharton as early as 1905 when the game was initially developed. Note that in the Landlord’s Game there is a "public park" that is replaced in Monopoly with "free parking," and that the patent date was 1904 when there were no cars to park for free.

The IP Section Annual Meeting this year will be held in Las Vegas on November 12-14, 2019. The game board cover art for this issue of New Matter is intended to get readers into the thought process of IP related to gaming to prepare for Las Vegas. For early registration and additional information about the IP Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, please see the advertisement near the end of this issue of New Matter. We invite everyone to join the IP Section in Las Vegas this November 2019.

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