It is important to ensure that all intangible assets and IP rights in the target have been identified, understood and protected.
With respect to copyright all employees, founders, contractors and other staff working on behalf of the VG developer should have suitable IP clauses in their contracts; transferring all rights and interests in and to copyrightable materials and works to the VG company. Furthermore, since VGs are often targeted towards a global audience and primarily comprised of different copyrightable elements, it is a good idea to verify that such copyrights have been registered in the jurisdictions where registration of copyright is possible (such as the US or China, but not in Norway and Sweden where such rights are not subject to registration).
Another important intangible asset of the VG company is, as stated above, the brand of the developer and the game or franchises. It is therefore vital that these have been registered as trademarks to properly protect the use thereof. However, it can be difficult for smaller VG developers to have the finances to afford the registration of a trademark in all relevant regions (or even solely the US, EU and China). In such cases, trademark registration may not occur until the developer gains the financial resources to ensure such registrations.
Sometimes VG developers may also find it beneficial to register design rights for certain prominent design concepts in the game. It is therefore important to identify where these potential design rights may be located and to register them accordingly.
Patents are relatively rare within the VG industry, especially considering the EU view on software patents. However, they are not unheard of, even if they are more common with developers of VG hardware. A traditional VG studio does not in general have any patents.
An increasingly important part of the VG industry is the management of trade secrets and employee know-how. It is important to ensure that a potential target has already implemented or can implement information security procedures and that staff and partners are bound by appropriate non-disclosure agreements. The target should also have proper IT and data security measures in place to ensure that no third party may unlawfully gain access to the tech, data and know-how of the company and similarly that no unauthorized access is possible.