he initiative gathered pace in 2007 in Bucharest and again in September 2008 in Kazan, capital city of the Constituent Republic of Tatarstan, and has grown into a successful international crusade against copying piracy led by the Austrian Novomatic gaming group. Now, there are new and highly significant results in Ukraine also.
Product piracy and copyright infringement ‘covert information gathering’ is prevalent at the international trade shows of the gaming industry, and especially so in Eastern Europe. All major OEMs are increasingly and adversely afflicted by the problem. Product piracy and the infringement of intellectual property rights have never before been practiced so impertinently and publicly as in recent times.
Counterfeit machines are often publicly presented on neighbouring exhibition stands right beside the original product, component parts and cabinets offered on diverse websites and the game software and concepts either stolen or badly copied.
Three years ago, the Novomatic Group of Companies started a unique campaign against this international intellectual property piracy and has since persisted in its efforts to prosecute the masterminds of these criminal activities.
The most important basic condition for a successful battle was the registry of industrial property rights in the form of trademarks, patents or designs, in order to be able to effectively enforce such claims by legal action. This is the strategy that Novomatic has been consistently implementing in recent years.
In the meantime this policy has indeed brought clear results also in the Republic of Ukraine: The latest success in the prosecution of copyright and other IP infringements was achieved end of February 09 in particular due to the confiscation of obviously counterfeited gaming machines in particular under the Novomatic brand Gaminator as well as fake Novomatic software.
This prosecution was the result of a close cooperation between Novomatic, a well known Ukrainian law firm and local police and administrative authorities in Kiev. Due to still pending procedures we are not able to publish more details on that matter but nonetheless we consider public information an essential part in the fight against intellectual property piracy.
The Novomatic Group of Companies, its subsidiaries and associates will continue to aggressively prosecute with international lawsuits and actions any persons or companies involved in the piracy and infringement of their products and intellectual property.
As is the case for many legitimate gaming equipment manufacturers, the employment of technical means to prevent one-to-one copying of Novomatic software has resulted in most pirate offerings attempting to “look“ like the originals, however with different software and mathematics so that the pirate copies do not “feel“ like the originals - detracting from the player‘s overall experience. What is worse is that pirate copy products do not offer players a fair chance of winning. Nothing could be more harmful to an industry that remains highly dependent on its public image and reputation. Intellectual property piracy amounts to nothing other than the theft of ideas. There can simply be no justification or rationalization for the illegitimate actions of those individuals and companies that undertake product piracy.
The investigation and confiscation results in Ukraine prove the paramount importance of the continuing fight against product piracy in the gaming industry. These results also demonstrate to what extent the consistent protection of intellectual property and the effective cooperation with local investigating authorities puts a necessary pressure on product piracy.