Card Game Rules Not Patentable

US-CourtOfAppeals-FederalCircuit-SealA federal appeals court has ruled against the patent application for a wagering card game, determining that the game’s rules are only an “abstract idea” and that the inclusion of shuffling and dealing physical playing cards falls short of an “inventive concept”. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit sided with the original patent examiner, who found that “a new set of rules for playing a card game… qualifies as an abstract idea” and is therefore not eligible for a patent.

In its decision, however, the panel of judges did add:

That is not to say that all inventions in the gaming arts would be foreclosed from patent protection… We could envisage, for example, claims directed to conducting a game using a new or original deck of cards potentially surviving [review].

[via Patently-O]

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May Board and Card Game Patents

Role-playing board game – While admitting nothing about whether the game is deserving of any kind of patent protection (I see nothing original), I can’t figure out what the game is, despite a lot of information in the patent. Any ideas?

The game uses 3D terrain and figures, some kind of dice and card driven space-themed combat mechanics, with the two sides called juggernauts and scythons. The inventors are Andrew and Brian Esquivel.

Method and apparatus for facilitating game play with a mortgaging option – A method of encouraging a blackjack player who was dealt a poor initial hand (e.g. ten five) to continue playing by offering a limited benefit on one or more future hands. Somehow, while this temporarily erases the house’s short term statistical edge for these hands, the house still retains a long term benefit. And, ultimately, more revenue.

Card game with counting – Rather than fighting card counting, a method to change the payouts as a deck diminishes and the odds change.

Playing board for a board game – A design patent. The Sokhazania board game.

Educational card game for enhancing counting skills – The Match 10 card game, a simple education counting card game from A+ Tutoring. Picture here.

Card game table – A design patent.

Community card pai gow – Pai Gow with a community card, the use of which requires an additional ante before seeing the card.