How can you patent a variation of a game?

Asked over 2 years ago - Orlando, FL

I've been doing a lot of Google searches on getting a patent on a significant variation of a game. But it is difficult to find much information that is right on point. How does one know if they meet the criteria to obtain a patent a variation on a game or not? Would it be a utility patent? What are some great examples of this being done in the past? Thank you.

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Michael Alan Shimokaji

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . Legally speaking, the amount of variation has to be enough so that your invention is not obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art. Therefore, the more variations you have will better ensure that your patent application gets through the patent office and issues as a patent.

    Yes, you would be applying for a utility patent.

    Michael
    www.accessipgroup.com

    The answer provided is only for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.
  2. Clark AD Wilson

    Contributor Level 13

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    Answered . Need more information to answer your questions. Whether or not an invention is patentable subject matter is determined on a case-by-case basis. It can be a utility patent, perhaps a method or process for playing a game? Here is the patent for Monopoly: http://www.google.com/patents?vid=2026082.

    Although Avvo makes it clear to consumers that attorney answers to questions are for general purposes only and do... more
  3. Xavier S Pillai

    Contributor Level 10

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    Answered . Like any invention to be patentable, your variation of the game should meet usefulness, novelty, and inventive step tests to be patentable. You may also want to do some searches on the USPTO website. If the variation relates to a functional aspect of the game, it is likely to be an utility patent. Design patents give protection only to the ornamental aspect of a product. Please contact a patent attorney in the gaming area to get more specific guidance.

    The foregoing does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship exists between me and you. Please... more
  4. Ross Lee Franks Jr

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . You have received some good guidance on the patent side. But you should also consider whether trademark (branding the game) and / or copyright (game cover artwork, instructions, etc.) might be a better, or at least additional, avenue for protecting your variation of the game.

    Also, even if you get a patent on your variation, it only gives you the right to prevent others from practicing your invention. You still might be infringing any basic patent on the underlying game (the one your altered).

    You should get your own intellectual property attorney and have a much more in-depth discussion of all of these issues.

    Best of Luck!

    Legal disclaimer: This answer is not legal advice, but is for informational purposes only. My answer to your... more
  5. Daniel Nathan Ballard

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Q: "But it is difficult to find much information that is right on point. How does one know if they meet the criteria to obtain a patent a variation on a game or not?"

    R: One must earn a baccalaureate degree in a hard science, then earn a law degree, then study patent law and pass the Patent Bar examination, then work on real-world patent matters under the tutelage of a senior patent attorney for some years and then, and only then, one may opine on whether Invention X is patentable over the prior art.

    Or one can hire somebody else who's already done that heavy lifting and is qualified.

    The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and... more
  6. Gerry J. Elman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

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    Answered . When you talk about a "variation of a game," you don't say whether the game is played with conventional items like a deck of playing cards, or with a special item such as a particular game board or a new kind of ball and net (like badminton's shuttlecock). That could make a lot of difference.

    There has been a lot of chaos recently in view of Supreme Court decisions on what kind of inventions are patent-eligible. The big one came in June 2010, when the Supreme Court decided the Bilski case, saying that


    gotten several answers to your inquiry, but nobody has clearly addressed the question of whether a GAME is patentable.

    This posting is intended for general education and isn't "legal advice." It doesn't create or evidence an... more

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