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Subject: ITEMmeeple - Let's get the steam off here! rss

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Gianluca Casu
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With the campaign about to start, I would like to give my contribution in defusing the biggest threat TEQ might have on it's path: The patented Meeples Issue.

There is an understandable unease of many in the community ( including myself) about the fact that a icon like the meeple ( which was never patented as shape since Carcassonne) is touched by a patent request.

I want that we have a clear and thorough discussion here on the forume instead of dragging this issue through all the kickstarter impacting the general success of it and scaring potential backers away.

I hope everyone will contribute in a civil and constructive way and, please MICHAEL, come here and lay out the facts as clearly as possible so that we can understand and make an informed choice.

THE PATENT:

Gamelyn games is patenting the meeple?!


Nope, the patent is explained by Michael in this post:

https://boardgamegeek.com/image/3228946?commentid=6679211#co...

Quote:
The patent is not for the meeple shape, it is for the holes in the arms. The reason we took the legal advice to do this is because the actual product won't hit the market for almost a year from now and considering the steep costs of just getting them to this point, we wanted to protect our investment during our Kickstarter exposure and beyond.


Why Would he do it?

I'm speculating here, but the reason is double:
1) it is cool
2) it is a test to allow for an alternative to minatures in gaming.

Uh? Lost me there...

Easy. I HATE miniatures.

They are expensive, they drag down production time, they look like shite if you do not paint them, once you paint them your insert chips off the paint so you have to create an alternative solution.

A game like Blood rage would cost significantly less if it was not for miniatures which would mean less expensive for the buyer as well. Less cool? Maybe, but I am not the only one that have those feelings towards miniatures and EVERYONE loves meeples.

Okay, so the meeple would replace the miniatures?

Yup, why not? a meeple is a shape, so it could be a perfect skeleton to add elements that make it distinctive on the table. The ITEMmeeple have two holes in the arms, but I see no issues in having 6 holes in the future.
Arms, legs, chest and head.

Instant miniatures at less cost, easily exchangeable and with sculpts that are WAY easier to manage and create.

Okay, so the patent?


It is a long term investment. if it works and people like it, this will allow in the future to create meeples filled games that will circumvent the need for minis.

Gamelyn games have an honoured tradition of PnP backing levels, can you imagine what it could be now with 3D printing? Even the objects of the game could be provided this way.

Even future expansions could be provided as files. New weapon? Pay for the file, download and you are ready to go.

But what does this mean?

We have to examine two possible scenarios: either it is rejected, either it is accepted

REJECTED:

The law is clear on the fact that a patent that is eaxmined gives to the requester the same protection ( while the process lasts) as if it was granted.

This means that during the Ks till the delivery ( seen the slow process), the patent would protect their idea.

When rejection arrives everyone will be playing since long time and at this point the ITEMmeeple will have reached "Carcassonne status" by everyone in the community, rendering the patent redundant.

GRANTED:

Well, if this happen, they have an IP on the holes on the meeple, which means that they have the rights to royalties for whoever tries to use that gimmick without their previous approuval.

Now, putting this in perspective, Gamelyn Games is not Apple. they are not going to go thermonuclear on anyone. They are a small pubblisher that needs the approuval of the community more than everyone, so, if in the future someone asks for the use, assuming you call them ITEMmeeple Michael will most probably have no issues at all.

He has too much to earn in being the nice guy and all to loose in being the new Steve Jobs dick in town.

So it is okay for you? Like that?

No, it is not okay for me at all. I hate that we have this discussion about the meeple, wich is one of the most democratic Icons in my world. I hate that we have this conversation about a game that changed its logo of colour because it cried Zelda so loud that at Nintendo everyone went



EDIT: I'm not happy about anything that this decision brings, but I trust Michael, Scott and the company I followed in TEK and till now never deceived me.*

I edited the text because this is not exactly what I wanted to say, I realize. I'm unhappy with the ruckus it will stir, not with the ITEMmeeple or the patent decision per se.

SUMMING UP:

Everything I said, when not proven by a quote comes from my speculation and shopuld NOT EVER be considered as Gamelyn Games and Michael Roe's opinion.
I want this campaign to go down as smoothly and successfully as possible, so I prefer we eviscerate ourselves here than in the Kickstarter forum.

Hit it brethren. We are going to the bottom of this.






*: well there is the thing about TED, but you are expanding and making it better, right?
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Gustavo Herodier
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capricorn_tm wrote:
EVERYONE loves meeples.

Eeeeeh... they have their place, but are a turn-off as often as not.

Otherwise mostly agree with your post, hopefully we'll get some participation from Gamelyn here
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Marty McFly
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I'm indifferent at best. If Gamelyn wants to follow their lawyer's legal advice and request a patent on meeples that can be customized, then I think they should probably follow that advice as it most certainly comes from knowledge and experience that I don't have. It's no skin off my back, and it won't change the enjoyment I get from current and future games. And I don't believe it will stop other companies from making games or using the design idea (Wizards of the Coast had a patent on turning cards sideways and look at how many games used that mechanic while the patent was still active).

I do like the idea of giving my meeple a sword or shield or key or potion or bow or...whatever. I think that's going to add a lot of immersion to TEQ and other games that may use it. But whether or not Gamelyn has a patent pending doesn't change the game itself and doesn't take away from the immersion I'll get when the game hits my table. Whether or not I can customize my meeple doesn't change my desire to back another TE game based on my enjoyment of the series thus far.

At the end of the day, Gamelyn's decision doesn't actually affect me. But if it does affect Gamelyn, then I'm fine with them making that decision. However, on a personally gaming level, I'm fairly indifferent about it.

capricorn_tm wrote:
No, it is not okay for me at all. I hate that we have this discussion about the meeple, wich is one of the most democratic Icons in my world.

You've given the background and your opinion on Gamelyn's decision, but you haven't given your reasons for that opinion as far as I can tell. Why is it not okay with you? (Not being argumentative or sarcastic; I really want to know why this matters to you enough to start this thread.)
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Michael Coe
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You're right, we're a small publisher and we use Kickstarter. That puts us at a unique disadvantage to big companies in some ways. For instance, when we have an idea it won't likely be realized into the market for 9+ months after we make it public knowledge, that's a risk. Whereas a big company can keep the idea secret (or critical parts of it) right up until the actual release of the product, protecting their investment.

To even get this far with ITEMeeples costs well over $10,000 in committed tooling costs. That may not seem like a lot, but it is, and it especially is to a small publisher, and especially for a $25 game. And, it's a cost that we have to commit to before running the Kickstarter because it needs proof of concept before I can tell backers it can be made. I'm not about to make promises I can't keep. This was a manufacturing challenge for everyone involved and at times, we thought we may not be able to pull it off in a way that was attractive, practical and affordable. I wasn't about to make promises to backers about a cool idea that I really had no idea would even be possible, so we had to actually make them. Fork up the dough and make them. By the way, most publishers, big or small, wouldn't touch a $10K+ tooling fee for a single component in a game this size and with an MSRP like $25 with a 10 foot pole. But, we will. That's the difference. The value we pack into these $25 games could easily go into a $50 game with an insert and we could make more profit but we don't do that. We serve the traveling gamer, the gamer on a budget and the gamer with limited shelf space, and we take a margin loss to keep doing it. And, we keep upping our own games. We keep taking on higher per unit costs, exploring more and better components, and continue to innovate at the $25 MSRP. Why do we do this!? Because we just love making games, with great components, and we're not sharks. We're YOU! The gamer. We want to play high quality games and not break the bank for them. But to keep doing this, we have to be smart.

To the point I was making above about product exposure and time to market, we have to protect ourselves and our investments. Our patent submission is really not about making sure no one else can ever make meeples that carry items, because even if it gets approved, people can still do that. It's about making sure that we can see our idea through the 9+ months of pre-market exposure without it being ripped off. This isn't the same little board game community that it was 5 years ago. There are very big, very real, very business minded and competitive publishers out there
buying up and squishing their competition. Our pending patent is quite limited in scope, but it gives us just enough confidence and protection to invest the kind of money we need to, lay ourselves out there with our idea, and to take the risk. All to continue offering great games, with great components for a cheap price. If we didn't protect ourselves, then after our Kickstarter and during our 9+ month exposure period, a big company could swoop in and have the same product to the market in 3 months and beat us to the punch off piggy backing our idea. It's business 201 and is a real thing, we can't ignore it as a reality.

In the end, the patent may not be approved, and that doesn't really matter to us as it will have given us the protection we needed during the 9+ months we exposed ourselves to the risk.

So I'm sorry it seems to have upset some people, but as the owner of Gamelyn Games, it's my responsibly alone to take the right steps in protecting my business, my family, and the creative team involved with making our products. That is what I'm doing, and I'm not sorry for that.

I hope you all can understand the unique situation I'm in and the unique risks involved in continuing to make games the way we do and at the price we do and give us a bit of a break here. You will all see in time that the patent we have pending is not a threat to anyone but the big company who would try to steal our thunder before we even have a chance to fully bring it to market ourselves.

Now I'd really like to get back to making Tiny Epic Quest the very best it can be. Thanks for taking the time to read this.




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Gianluca Casu
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martidem wrote:

You've given the background and your opinion on Gamelyn's decision, but you haven't given your reasons for that opinion as far as I can tell. Why is it not okay with you? (Not being argumentative or sarcastic; I really want to know why this matters to you enough to start this thread.)


I'm not opposed to the Itemeeple in any way. I find it lovely ( and I made clear my hate for minis). This is the best of two worlds and I hope this become standard in the future!

My issue with the patent, is the patent. What Michael wrote here above is absolutely right and I am sure that everything is made to protect the main expense of this KS, wich will be the injection moulds to actually create them.

My issue is that as soon we set a precedent of patenting part of the game we get a bad signal that the gates are open and this is the way to go.

Not everyone in this market is a Gentleman like Mr Coe and I bring to your attention that Games Workshop tried to copyright the word "Elf" in the '90.

TEQ is an instaback to me as soon I heard of it's existence and my post has a single an unique reason. Allow me to quote myself:


capricorn_tm wrote:
I want that we have a clear and thorough discussion here on the forum instead of dragging this issue through all the kickstarter impacting the general success of it and scaring potential backers away.
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Gianluca Casu
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mgcoe wrote:

So I'm sorry it seems to have upset some people, but as the owner of Gamelyn Games, it's my responsibly alone to take the right steps in protecting my business, my family, and the creative team involved with making our products. That is what I'm doing, and I'm not sorry for that.

I hope you all can understand the unique situation I'm in and the unique risks involved in continuing to make games the way we do and at the price we do and give us a bit of a break here. You will all see in time that the patent we have pending is not a threat to anyone but the big company who would try to steal our thunder before we even have a chance to fully bring it to market ourselves.

Now I'd really like to get back to making Tiny Epic Quest the very best it can be. Thanks for taking the time to read this.


You do not need to excuse yourself of nothing Michael. I want this campaign to be a success as bad as you because you and your work deserve it.

The only reason for this post is to give all anwers to people before the start of the KS and avoid to poison the campaign.

Can't be tomorrow soon enough
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Marty McFly
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capricorn_tm wrote:
My issue is that as soon we set a precedent of patenting part of the game we get a bad signal that the gates are open and this is the way to go.

Right. But again I ask, why is this an issue for you? What do you think this will do to the game industry and your gaming experience?

capricorn_tm wrote:
Allow me to quote myself:


capricorn_tm wrote:
I want that we have a clear and thorough discussion here on the forum instead of dragging this issue through all the kickstarter impacting the general success of it and scaring potential backers away.

Many potential backers will likely come to BGG to view images, get additional info, and see what other gamers are saying about the game. Doesn't starting this thread here only drag the issue through a different forum that potential backers may also see?
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Gianluca Casu
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martidem wrote:

Right. But again I ask, why is this an issue for you? What do you think this will do to the game industry and your gaming experience?


To my gaming experince it will heighten it, because I love meeples. to the gaming industries, as I said, I fear it will set a precedent.


martidem wrote:

Many potential backers will likely come to BGG to view images, get additional info, and see what other gamers are saying about the game. Doesn't starting this thread here only drag the issue through a different forum that potential backers may also see?


Yes, but here, in a controlled and moderated environment you will have access to the complete information and read long and detailed explanations.

Michael's answer here above, to me closes the topic and if it does it for me it will work for others as well.

I'm coming from the campaign of Pixie Queen which, although crowned by success, was almost completely stopped by an IDIOT that trolled the project with absurd requests; and since all you need on KS is to make a comment and since most of the backer only occasionally check, damage can be irreversible.

Seriously Marty, you do not foresee at least ONE guy that will spend the campaign complaining about this? I'm not so optimistic.
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Marty McFly
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capricorn_tm wrote:
martidem wrote:

Right. But again I ask, why is this an issue for you? What do you think this will do to the game industry and your gaming experience?


To my gaming experince it will heighten it, because I love meeples. to the gaming industries, as I said, I fear it will set a precedent.

It may set a precedent. But is it an inherently bad precedent? And if so, how widespread do we believe it will become and why would that be bad?

I'm honestly not trying to be a jerk. But nothing said here or on KS will change the fact that Gamelyn has already requested a patent. So, the discussion turns to whether or not people believe that this behavior will become common practice for game publishers, and what it may mean to gamers and the industry if it does become common practice. My comments are intended to turn the discussion in that direction and away from a specific company whose recent actions won't change regardless of the discussion.

For me, I don't believe this will become that widespread. Sure, a company may try to copywrite "Elf" but that likely won't end well, and such behavior will stop if it isn't effective. ITEMeeples are something I've not seen before, but it's very rare that I come across a game that has a component that is truly innovative or a mechanic that doesn't exist in other games I've played. For this reason, I don't think we'll see many of these types of patent requests, because I don't think it's in many publishers best interest to generate frivolous patent requests or invest in game component prototypes just for the sake of maybe having a patent. However, I do think it's a good thing for smaller companies to protect themselves legally. This helps those smaller companies stay in business, which only helps fuel the industry.

capricorn_tm wrote:
Seriously Marty, you do not foresee at least ONE guy that will spend the campaign complaining about this? I'm not so optimistic.

Oh, I have no illusions that more than one guy will spend the campaign complaining about this. Or stretch goal order or the style of the artwork or the amount of a specific ethnicity available or anything else, because I haven't been involved in many KS campaigns where someone didn't find something to complain about. With the anonymity of the Internet, people will always find something to complain about. But without actual discussion and debate that provides reasoning and examples, it all becomes noise for the sake of making noise. It's sad how often I see Internet forum noise.

Now there's a precedent I can get behind stopping! But that's a topic for a different forum.
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The Rake
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I'm kind of on the fence with this. Not really sure how I feel. I completely understand Michael's situation and sympathize with his concerns but at the same time feel very worried that this may cause issues for many other small companies in the industry.

I have always dreamed of making a game someday with many ideas floating around in my head for years. One of them being to decorate meeple style player pawns with items like cowboy hats, lasso's, gun's etc. I've often wondered why companies haven't done more of this ever since seeing the pawns in the game Colosseum. I thought it was awesome that the Emperor and Consul's pawn's had robes and other accouterments on them rather than just being plain standard different colored pawns. When Flick 'em Up! used the hat's that fit over the meeple's heads I thought that was amazing and kind of like the idea's I had been thinking about.

My concern would be that if a patent is granted and a smaller game developer than Gamelyn Games wants to make a game that might have a similar meeple with accouterments component, they would have to pay fees or royalties, which they most likely can't afford to do or be open to being sued. That in my opinion would be a bad thing for the industry in general.
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Daniel
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trakes wrote:
My concern would be that if a patent is granted and a smaller game developer than Gamelyn Games wants to make a game that might have a similar meeple with accouterments component, they would have to pay fees or royalties, which they most likely can't afford to do or be open to being sued. That in my opinion would be a bad thing for the industry in general.


The royalties are actually my only concern. But Michael said in his posting, that if someone would want to make such meeples in the future, this would be possible.

If the patent holder would charge royalties, I am afraid most companies would just reject to use these meeples and go for standard meeples instead. The margins on board games are so low, there is no space for meeple royalties. Unless you are a large company. And in that case the large company would invent their own same same but different ITEMeeple.

So let's stay positive, let Gamelyn introduce this to the market and let's see how far the ITEMeeple can evolve.
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Meeples belong to the gaming community as a whole. We've got cowboy meeples, animeeples, giant meeples, tiny meeples, and now these lovely weapon holding meeples. There's even an image of meeples holding weapons that's existed on bgg for ages.

The odd thing about MeepleGate is that Michael essentially wants to protect a bolt on idea which is itself bolted onto a 100% rip off of an existing theme (Nintendo's wonderful Zelda).

And hang on a minute, did I read right up there - now he says it's risky to do this game publishing thing on Kickstarter??!! And there was me thinking you get all the money up front before you make a game like some kind of magical fairyland for business with virtually no risk compared to the good old days. Game makers have never had it so bloody good!

The mask has slipped, Michael... I thought you loved us all, but as you make clear in those weasel words at the top - family comes first... along with the car, house, holidays, mmmmmmm MONEY!!!!!!

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Marty McFly
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willsargent wrote:
Meeples belong to the gaming community as a whole.
Why?

Meeples are simply a physical component of games, and improving upon them is a process of invention. To me, saying that meeples belong to the community that plays games is like saying book bindings belong to the community that reads books, and if someone finds a way to improve on book bindings then they shouldn't patent it because book bindings belong to the reading community, not the inventor.

Will a patent stop other games from being published? Hard to say at this time, but I seriously doubt it. However, stifling the inventive spirit by insisting that someone shouldn't protect their investment could just as easily have the opposite affect. People won't want to take steps forward because there's risk of having your invention/idea stolen since the precedent has been set that they can't protect that investment.

I'd rather have the innovations. And if someone doesn't want to pay royalties (assuming they are charged royalties and that those royalties are cost-prohibitive), then let them come up with a new innovation. That only brings more new things to the industry.
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Pauly Paul
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mgcoe wrote:
We serve the traveling gamer, the gamer on a budget and the gamer with limited shelf space, and we take a margin loss to keep doing it.


I appreciate this. I really do. Thank you.
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Michelle
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martidem wrote:
Meeples are simply a physical component of games, and improving upon them is a process of invention. To me, saying that meeples belong to the community that plays games is like saying book bindings belong to the community that reads books, and if someone finds a way to improve on book bindings then they shouldn't patent it because book bindings belong to the reading community, not the inventor.

Will a patent stop other games from being published? Hard to say at this time, but I seriously doubt it. However, stifling the inventive spirit by insisting that someone shouldn't protect their investment could just as easily have the opposite affect. People won't want to take steps forward because there's risk of having your invention/idea stolen since the precedent has been set that they can't protect that investment.

I'd rather have the innovations. And if someone doesn't want to pay royalties (assuming they are charged royalties and that those royalties are cost-prohibitive), then let them come up with a new innovation. That only brings more new things to the industry.


Agreed 100%.

I'm a patent and trademark paralegal. I groan every time an IP thread comes up on BGG, because people always exaggerate, overstate, and conflate what patents, trademarks, and copyrights actually do.

Gamelyn isn't setting any game-piece-patenting precedent, because Gamelyn is far from the first company to apply for or receive a patent on a game pawn or other board game component. This isn't even the more controversial act of trying to patent a gameplay mechanic (like MtG's infamous card-tapping patent).

You can go to the US Patent and Trademark Office's website and search published patent applications (which may have been rejected later) or issued patents and see for yourself how many there are. Search something like "game piece" in the title, and you'll find all sorts of stuff. (Note, the USPTO's interface is terrible).

If Gamelyn's patent was recently filed, we won't even know exactly how broad or narrow its scope is until it is published several months from now (assuming it's a utility patent). But Michael has said it is pretty narrow in scope, which probably means that once other companies get to see the patent to evaluate it, it won't be that hard to find a way to do something similar without infringing on Gamelyn's application/patent.

I think it's pretty hard to deny that Gamelyn did innovate here. I don't think it makes sense to deny them the right to try to protect that innovation. The Patent and Trademark Office will ultimately decide whether, and how much, of that idea is actually legally protectable, but for now they have some protection against lazy, blatant knockoffs. That's a good thing in my book.
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Paul Newsham
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breegull wrote:
I think it's pretty hard to deny that Gamelyn did innovate here.


I'll happily deny it. They mixed a meeple with Playmobil. I'm sure in your job you see enough of this that you become immune to the shock of someone taking another person's work (the meeple), putting holes in it, and claiming innovation. To the average person, it's grotesque.

If Gamelyn's games were somehow hugely innovative then maybe I'd give them a pass on this. Now I'm looking at their back catalogue and thinking they've got some nerve.

If your game is so derivative and so dependent on this gimmick that some other publisher "copying" your meeples will ruin its chance of success, why should anyone put down any of their own money to help you bring it to the market?
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Gianluca Casu
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The Eternal Champion wrote:
mgcoe wrote:
Our patent submission is really not about making sure no one else can ever make meeples that carry items, because even if it gets approved, people can still do that. It's about making sure that we can see our idea through the 9+ months of pre-market exposure without it being ripped off. This isn't the same little board game community that it was 5 years ago. There are very big, very real, very business minded and competitive publishers out there
buying up and squishing their competition.


I think Michael makes a very valid point here.



Yes, and after seeing Rahdo's runthrough it makes actually sense.

In fact the weapons are unique and if meeple one has the sword, IT has the sword, none else.

In game term this could have been solved with three cards with equipment and stickers on the meeple, but this would have been fiddly.

You need that each meeple shows clearly its option, hence the need for the accessory.

Problem is that as soon you realize this, you realize that the game is basically dependant on this and if you go without protection and some happy MOFO registers a patent you are gutted.

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Wim Leenaerts
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Quote:
To the average person, it's grotesque.

I'm an average person and I don't think it's grotesque. Please don't put words in my mouth.
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Chris
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My first reaction to the ITEMeeple™ was: SQUEEEEEE! (seriously)

My second was, "Why hasn't anyone thought of this before?", which basically self-justifies protection of an original idea/invention (i.e. patent).

More power to Gamelyn Games for this! This is a lovely concept and a hugely iconic idea.

To say something half-jokingly: I NEED this in my life!

Consider the game insta-"backed". (It's not live yet.)
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It's live now: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/coe/tiny-epic-quest-int...

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Scott M.
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IS there a Patent(pending)refrence # we could use if we wish to contest the patent or voice our opinion about it to the patent office(s)? Or is all of this moot point if it was already approved?

I am in the camp I dont want to see this approved.
 
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Greg Gresik
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atraangelis wrote:
IS there a Patent(pending)refrence # we could use if we wish to contest the patent or voice our opinion about it to the patent office(s)? Or is all of this moot point if it was already approved?

I am in the camp I dont want to see this approved.


Ummm...patent decisions aren't typically "democratic" in nature.

And, I, for one, am fine if the patent gets approved. It's a good and unique idea. Why would you not want Gamelyn to be able to protect their investment and/or receive credit/compensation for it?

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Josh E

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Patents can be licensed. A patent doesn't mean that no one can do the same thing, just that no one can profit without either licensing or getting permission from the creators. Depending on the scope of the patent, it needs to be remembered that tooling is not cheap. I think a patent makes sense, and if I want my own meeples to hold stuff, I'd probably just use a drill and things would fall out. Getting the hex holes in high reliability production I don't even want to think about.
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The Rake
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arkhamnative wrote:
My first reaction to the ITEMeeple™ was: SQUEEEEEE! (seriously)

My second was, "Why hasn't anyone thought of this before?", which basically self-justifies protection of an original idea/invention (i.e. patent).

More power to Gamelyn Games for this! This is a lovely concept and a hugely iconic idea.

To say something half-jokingly: I NEED this in my life!

Consider the game insta-"backed". (It's not live yet.)


While I do think that they have done a nice job with implementing game pieces onto a player's meeple, I really do not see why this is such a big deal and everyone is in such awe about it. Nor why it really needs a patent other than Michael's mention of fear of another larger company producing something similar more quickly and getting it to market before TEQ is completed and that possibly affecting their profits.

Many other previous games have done what I consider similar types of things. Colosseum and Flick 'em Up! like I mentioned earlier have parts either attached or placed on their player pawns. Just quickly coming to mind, Inkognito has hats and masks that are attached by pushing the parts tabs into little holes on the pawns and the Dragonlance game let you attach the lance onto your dragon in a similar fashion. I'm sure there have been many other games over the years that have done something similar. I guess since it's not all that common and the popularity of the Tiny Epic line it has everyone thinking it's a big deal. (Note: I am not trying to belittle their work, I think they have done a really nice job)

I'm all for Gamelyn Games being protected from big business bullying or being ripped off somehow, but patenting something that I feel is a variation of something done previously even though it may not be all that common, does make me worry that it might harm or limit other small game developers and the industry in some way.

I can't help but think, wouldn't things be better if everyone could just used the term's "Living Card Game" and "tap" your card?

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Marty McFly
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trakes wrote:
Nor why it really needs a patent other than Michael's mention of fear of another larger company producing something similar more quickly and getting it to market before TEQ is completed and that possibly affecting their profits.

I don't think the protection is to stop others from ripping off the game. It's to stop others from requesting a patent themselves and therefore shutting down the game's production unless Gamelyn pays to use the ITEMeeples under someone else's patent request.

Gamelyn has invested $10K in design, tooling, and prototyping. Equiping meeples is very integral to the game mechanics. If someone else decided to be sleezy and request a patent (even if they eventually didn't get that patent) TEQ would need to be cancelled or that other party would need to be paid.
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