RMS sued Anker Play Products and Leon Summers, RMS’ former CEO and Anker’s present CEO, for copyright and trade dress infringement, unfair competition and trade secret misappropriation in connection with RMS’ “Dino Operation” game. The game is a take-off on the classic “Operation” game in which players try to remove bones from the dinosaur without touching the sides of the hole in which the bones are located.
RMS (whose game is on the left, above) developed the game and began selling it in 2014, while Summers was the CEO of RMS, and registered copyright in the game, although they do not appear to have a registration on the trade dress of the game. Anker sells games called “Dino Operation” and “Dino Dissection” that each utilize a dinosaur caricature and bone play parts that are nearly identical to the RMS game. RMS asserts that Anker would not have been able to have replicated these components without access to RMS’ technical drawings, which Summers would have been able to obtain while he was with RMS. RMS suggests that such slavish copying is Anker’s business model, noting the existence of five similar lawsuits filed against Anker in the last three years. The trade secret claim seems uncertain – RMS’ conclusorily assert that they treated the trade secret in the design files confidentially and did not allow access unless authorized, with no real description of the actual steps they took, and the notion that the publicly-available game could not have been replicated without access to the design files seems questionable – but it will be difficult to deny that the appearance of the games are very similar.