Dutch games and puzzle manufacturer, Royal Jumbo is engaged in litigation with German games and puzzle company, Ravensburger over the alleged copying of Jumbo's original game format, Wasgij.
Ravensburger holds a licence from Jumbo to sell the original Wasgij game in the US.
During proceedings in The Hague, the court heard that Ravensburger has sold copies of the game in Europe without having asked for permission from Jumbo.
Jumbo is now asking the court to enjoin Ravensburger from the further sale of the games in the territory. The firm has also applied for a preliminary injunction to ensure a temporary stop to the sale of copied products during the coming peak season.
The application has been denied.
In his judgment President of the District Court gave as his preliminary opinion that the WASGIJ® format is not protected by copyright under the European rules of copyright.
The Judge pointed out that the European Court of Justice – the highest court in Europe for copyright matters - had not yet given a specific decision on the protection of formats for games.
The Judge further gave as his preliminary opinion that the WASGIJ game format was “too abstract” to be protected.
Mr Bernard Jan Verkoren, a member of Jumbo's board and responsible for legal affairs, commented: "Obviously we are disappointed by this preliminary decision.
"Jumbo firmly believes that the basis for its success and continued customer satisfaction is constant development of new, innovative and creative formats for games.
"The downside of creating new original formats is that now and then we are confronted with copying by competitors.
"We firmly believe that creativity in the games industry will be rewarded by European copyright law and that we should be able to ultimately prevail in these proceedings. In the meantime we will concentrate on what we do best: the development of innovative creative new products. “
ToyNews contacted Ravensburger but the firm has declined to comment at this stage in proceedings.
The case continues.