Novomatic leads fight against illegal copying
The Novomatic Group of Companies recently scored a major victory in its war against the illegal copying of gaming machines, software and machine parts. It is the latest win in what has become an international crusade against copying piracy, led by the Austrian Novomatic Group, which is achieving concrete results in Russia.
The successes so far have been the result of close cooperation between Novomatic, international law firms and local police authorities. And a major international alliance may put a dent in the crime.
Several of the top slot manufacturers in the industry announced last month that they are forming a partnership to battle piracy of intellectual property in the gaming industry.
The Gaming Industry Piracy Alliance will provide a structure through which members can jointly participate in the enforcement of intellectual property rights. In addition to Novomatic, group members include Aristocrat Technologies, WMS Gaming, International Game Technology, Konami Gaming, Atronic International, Spielo Manufacturing and Progressive Gaming International.
The group will carry out joint investigative operations and other efforts targeting piracy on an international scale. Specific regions being targeted by the group include North America, South America, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE Countries) and the Middle East.
Members of the group have successfully initiated criminal and civil proceedings in various countries worldwide against parties known or suspected of product piracy and intellectual property theft. These cases have resulted in court orders and raids that permanently shut down a number of international piracy operations. The new alliance allows manufactures to pool resources in efforts such as this.
“GIPA members expend significant resources in creating intellectual property. The formation of GIPA demonstrates the importance we place on protecting those valuable assets,” said Orrin Edidin, president of WMS Gaming Inc.
A recent press release from Novomatic described how in late September, special forces in Kazan, a city about 400 miles east of Moscow, raided a factory capable of producing 2,500 Gaminator slot machines per month. This was the biggest illegal operation broken up to date and demonstrated the immense scale of the current industry dealing in pirated gaming technology.
In all such cases the counterfeit machines and parts are destroyed. But the problem of pirated gaming devices goes beyond the loss of a few thousand potential sales.
For sophisticated technology companies, whose game software is protected from duplication, damage to reputation can occur when players think they are playing a name-brand machine but in fact it is a counterfeit copy. The accompanying false game software will not give the same player experience as the original version, and in many cases the odds of winning will have been reduced as well. As a result, a player who unknowingly encounters an imposter machine may become turned off to the legitimate version of the game. And especially in the gaming industry, a reputation for providing fair play and consistency are crucial to success.