Unfortunately, back in June of this year I received some emails from Blue Planet Software, Inc. / Tetris Holding, saying that Red Revolution 3D infringed on the Tetris copyright, trademark, and app name. After some correspondence with Tetris Holding and an email from Tetris Holding’s lawyer, I decided to remove the app from iTunes on June 23, 2014.
It’s really a shame because although Red Revolution 3D was inspired by the original Tetris, it has a bunch of artwork, music, 3D movement and game concepts that are totally unique.
But… Tetris Holding won a 2012 New Jersey court case, Tetris Holding, LLC v. Xio Interactive, Inc., where the court found the following elements of Tetris to be protectable:
(1) the design and movement of the playing pieces (including the use of bright colors, the individually delineated squares within the pieces, and the downward, lateral, and rotating movement)
(2) the appearance of “ghost” or shadow pieces, and
(3) the display of the next piece to fall
I do not agree with the conclusion of the court that these items are protectable, especially (2) and (3), because these items describe game rules / ideas (not protectable), not expression of ideas (protectable). For more details and analysis of the Tetris Holding, LLC v. Xio Interactive, Inc. case, read this excellent article by Sam Castree, III: A Problem Old as Pong: Video Game Cloning and the Proper Bounds of Video Game Copyrights.
Even though I disagree, how can I argue with a court decision? I do not care to spend the time or resources to take legal action. So for now, RR3D has disappeared. Perhaps it may reappear in a modified form? We’ll see…