109 Iowa L. Rev. Online 105 (2024)



Christopher Seaman and Thuan Tran’s fascinating article, Intellectual Property and Tabletop Games, raises important questions about the role of intellectual property (“IP”) in developing and distributing innovative products. The market for tabletop games, Seaman and Tran argue, is able to sustain a high level of creativity at a high up-front cost, all while protected by some but not all of the IP rights that other industries’ outputs receive. Is that evidence of IP’s necessity or its superfluousness? In this Response, I argue that the answer is a little bit of both. Whereas prior scholarship has shown the lack of an active role for IP in developing products, Seaman and Tran’s fascinating case studies suggest that IP plays a critical passive role in providing breathing space for innovations. But the example of tabletop games demonstrates that not every aspect of innovative creations—not even the most important aspects—necessarily require IP protection to be successful.

Sunday, March 24, 2024