Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesBack in March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a Patent and Trademark Office decision that game rules that use a standard deck of cards are an abstract idea ineligible for patent. Now the owner of the rejected patent has asked the court to reconsider, claiming that the decision puts the whole casino industry at risk.

Game rules have also been found by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to be ineligible for copyright protection. That decision came in DaVinci Editrice vs. Ziko Games, a case in which both sides agreed that Ziko’s Three Kingdoms game is a straight-up copy of DaVinci’s Bang, with a change in theme. Nevertheless, the court found that:

Unlike a book or movie plot, the rules and procedures, including the winning conditions, that make up a card-game system of play do not themselves produce the artistic or literary content that is the hallmark of protectable expression.

The shape of a Rubik’s Cube can not be trademarked. So says an adviser to the Court of Justice of the European Union in a case that has a German company challenging the toy’s three-dimensional trademark registered since 1999.

On the Lower East Side of New York, a woman renting an apartment discovered that her landlord had been hosting Mahjong games in the front room while she slept in the back room.

A company that makes facial recognition software claims that it can identify from images likely terrorists, pedophiles, and the best Poker players. At a demonstration tournament, the company picked four players out of 50 amateurs by comparing photos to a database of professional Poker players. Two of the players that the company picked were among the three that made it to the tournament’s final round.

In downtown Athens, Georgia, a man was arrested for public intoxication after disturbing a group of people playing a board game on the patio of a local establishment.

binder of proof cards was stolen from Magic: The Gathering artist Winona Nelson at Grand Prix Charlotte.

Green Lake Games in Seattle was broken in to overnight. The store was ransacked and $15,000 of Magic: The Gathering cards stolen.

Alleged irregularities in election procedures for the Bangladesh Chess Federation had the National Sports Council obtaining an order from the Supreme Court to postpone the voting for 3 months.

A public school Chess coach in Chicago broke ranks and came in to lead practice on a day his union called for a strike. The team went on to win a national championship and has been invited to the White House. The union is considering whether to kick him out and garnish his wages from that day.

Bestbet Jacksonville and state regulators are going to hearing over the legality of “player-banked card games” in Florida. These are supposed to be games in which players wager only against each other rather than the house. However, in Bestbet’s card rooms the bank at each table is provided by employees of unlicensed, independent companies who pay the facility fees of $30,000-50,000 and then sometimes don’t stick around play in the game they’re financing.

Small stakes gambling on home and community center based card and Mahjong games is now legal in Maryland. The change was prompted by a police bust of a retiree Poker game in Annapolis, an event which lawmakers considered a waste of resources. Restrictions in the new law include prohibitions on advertising and internet-connected electronic devices, a $1,000 per week wager limit, and participants must have a preexisting social relationship.

Two Maryland teenagers, one of whom allegedly shot a man in the head during a dice game, were captured after fleeing to West Virginia.

Following a lawsuit by Magic: The Gathering judges against Wizards of the Coast, volunteers for Emerald City Comic Con have filed a similar class-action lawsuit, claiming back-pay and benefits.

CBS Broadcasting and Folkmanis have settled their lawsuit over Bert the Farting Hippo, a stuffed animal that’s made repeated appearances on the television show, NCIS. Folkmanis was making for CBS to sell a special version of a hippopotamus toy for which the company had earlier registered a copyright. That is until, Folkmanis claims, CBS started importing the toy directly from China, racking up an alleged $733,000 in profits.