Tetris may not seem relevant to the cutting edge these days, but the household name recently made news when it brought Xio Interactive to court for copyright infringement—and won. Interestingly, as Ars Technica reports, the judge for the case determined copyright infringement not from the game and its rules, which are legally unprotected, but on the specifics of the implementation, such as the grid size and colors. The clone, called Mino, has since been removed from the App Store.
The effect of this verdict on independent developers could be beneficial, setting a legal precedent that deters copycats from entering the market. Others have their doubts, though, and suggest that the case is not large enough to have any immediate impact. Newer and more complex games without the legacy (and legal team) of The Tetris Company may be much harder to defend. Still, in an otherwise labyrinthine copyright system, the Tetris case offers a light at the end of the tunnel.