Publishing a game derived from snake?

I have created a game based on the Nokia snake game for mobile phones. However it has many new features and 'twists'. Is it legal to publish and sell this game? Also, will I be able to copyright it for it's unique and original features? Thanks for any advice.


I should add, the game is so unique it really stands on it's own as a new game. The only thing it really has in common with the original snake game.. is the snake eating up snacks. But even that aspect of the game is vastly transformed and enhanced compared to the original snake game.

Update 2:

Thanks henni, that's very interesting and helpful. It's not really the engine or the code I want to patent, as this is very basic. Any experienced programmer could easily replicate it. But the rules however, and the concepts and design behind the game rules are very specific and original (I guess in a similar way to the rules and design of Tetris). It is these I would want to have patented.

1 Answer

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Copyright law applies only to actual works. As far as Copyright law is concerned, if you wrote the code yourself then it's your own work. If you took their code, modified it, then published it, then it gets a little more complicated depending on the license that covered the original program.

    Unfortunately it's possible, in the US, to register patents on software ideas. If Nokia has registered a patent for the idea of a snake game, then they might try to bully you into paying them royalties.

    edit: Well, it seems unlikely that you'll come across any issues from publishing your game. The problem with patent law is that it doesn't really define how specific a patent needs to be in order to be accepted. A humorous case demonstrating this, where a man obtained a patent for the wheel, can be read about here:

    If you want to see if there are any patents registered for particular features in your game, you can search for them over here:

    Anyway, you shouldn't have any trouble as far as Copyright goes, since you wrote the engine and (I assume) produced all of the assets on your own. In any case, it's probably best to hire a lawyer and get their advice.

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