What are IP Certificates and ISBNs?
Should I apply for these when publishing my game in China?
These are the questions we have been receiving a lot lately so let’s get right into it and figure out what these tools are, how they can protect your creations in China and whether you need them.
Available with our RSPP+ and RSPP MAX programs
The three main types of intellectual property rights are copyright, trademark and patent. These intangible assets can be just as, if not more, valuable as the tangible assets of a business.
Copyright is the key IP right when it comes to mobile apps and games. The starting point is that copyright arises automatically from the date your app or game has been developed. In theory, this means that you have exclusivity over your creation and no one else can exploit or free ride from it – to do so would be an infringement of your copyright. In practice however, apps, games and more specifically, their source codes, are highly prone to hackers, piracy and copyright infringement.
This is where the IP Certificate comes in, otherwise known as the “Software Copyright Registration Certificate” in China.
This powerful weapon will allow you to assert your copyright over your apps and games and is also a prerequisite for bringing a lawsuit to the People’s Court for judicial protection in the event of a copyright infringement dispute. Certifying your copyright may also open up various government support and preferential policy channels. This document is important when it comes to the sale or transfer of your creation if such an opportunity arises in the future.
Without an IP Certificate, it would be incredibly difficult to prove your ownership and rights in a highly contested market.
ISBN (Publishing License)
Applicable to games only Available with our RSPP MAX and DDCP programs only
An ISBN is quite simply a serial number. You will have seen it on books and magazines.
For our purposes, an ISBN relates to the publication of your game in China and your game will need one in order to be published and considered fully authorized in China. This is regardless of the platform it runs on (mobile, console and PC) and its revenue model (paid, in-app purchases and ads monetization).
Now, you may have noticed that the stores are flooded with games that can’t all possibly have ISBNs secured. Sure, in theory, all games need an ISBN before it can be published in China. In practice however, the ISBN emphasis has largely been for games with in-app purchases. This is why we always recommend our partners to consider ads monetization.
With that said, the government appears to be taking a stricter stance on this matter as starting July 2020, all games in China will require an ISBN to be listed in stores regardless of its revenue model. While we don’t know what extent the enforcement will be, it may finally be a good time now to consider starting an application for an ISBN publishing license and get ahead of the pack and secure a stable revenue stream for your game in the future.
Which protection do I need?
How APPTUTTi can help?
We recognize the importance of rights protection, and being developers ourselves, we understand the unquantifiable time and effort that our partners put into developing their apps and games. We therefore provide services under our paid packages to apply for IP Certificates and ISBNs on your behalf to reduce the uncertainty and worry often attached to publishing in a foreign market.