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Subject: WOTC claims patent on CSGs? rss

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P Duggan
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http://www.tabletopgamingnews.com/?p=7748

Quote:
Wizards of the Coast today announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has awarded it a patent U.S. Patent No. 7,201,374 on game play design for constructible strategy games.

Wizards pioneered the constructible strategy game category five years ago. The invention, code named “Punch Bots”, combined Wizards’ original repeat-purchase business model and the excitement of trading card game combat to create strategically assembled – and disassembled – models. Wizards first filed for patent protection in October of 2002. The full text and images of the patent are available at www.uspto.gov.


Punch bots? That isn't even in BGG. What is it?

the patent
Quote:
A game, toy or article of manufacture includes a set of rules and at least one model. The model has multiple movable parts, where under the rules of play, the model begins in an assembled configuration. As the model loses points under the rules of play, at least some of the parts are removed from the model, or replaced with substitute parts. The model may be formed from a panel or other substantially planar member, with the individual pieces formed therein. Methods of game play, computer-implemented games, and other aspects of the invention are described herein. Many other options are possible, as described above.

And wouldn't Combots Combots qualify as assembled and removing parts as it loses points under rules of play? Not "planar" but the basic idea is removable parts as you lose points
 
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Robert Trifts
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So much for Wizkids' Star Wars Pocket Model Game which was due out this summer.

Of course, given Topps' stake in CSG's, it's probably time to challenge this patent.
 
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Brad Fuller
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hmmm so what does this mean for Wizkids? Are they still allowed to make Pirates and that rocket game.
 
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Brad Fuller
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hmmm so what does this mean for Wizkids? Are they still allowed to make Pirates and that rocket game.
 
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Robert Trifts
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What a pile of crap. This patent can't meet the novelty test.

Constructible Strategy games were invented by at LEAST the 1990s and were popular on the Gencon floor. The credit goes to the the guys who invented Lego Wars.

Before there was Pirates of the Spanish Main - there was Pirate Lego Wars. It was a fan fave on the Gencon floor by at LEAST 1997 (the first year WotC ran the convention)

Steve Jackson (of Steve Jackson games) copyrighted the rules in 1998. They’ve been available as shareware ever since.

Link to the rules is here: http://www.io.com/~sj/PirateGame1.html

The original Lego Wars, using space combat vehicles, was around since 1991.

The unifying game mechanic in Lego Wars was that damage was reflected on the model by removing a mast, cannon etc. Damage Control in game could repair it and put the mast or cannon (or whatever) back on the model.

This patent is a load of hockum, imo.

The one difference in these products appears to be that the so called CSG patent refers to *moving* parts. Lego and PotSM parts do not move.

But a lot of computer 3d models that reflect and repair damage in game visually by removing pieces of the model (or adding to same) sure as hell "move".

If WotC moves to stop Wizkids, my bet is Topps will be challenging that patent in a New York minute.
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Bob Roberts

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Combots beats the Lego game by 15 years. 1983.
And it does say moveable parts, not moving which could mean something entirely different.

I hope someone challenges this, it's not quite up there with some of the worst offenses but it's pretty close.
 
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Robert Wesley
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Oh they're JUST "attention whoring" here, sort of like the "Paris Hilton" role model version, since there have been plenty of others that were around well before some of these folks had even been born, or is this "hatched"?, or perhaps "Hell-spawned" is more appropriate, for whatever the case may be. In fact, with what they've described, then Broadside shall meet the 'criterion' of that, and this is from 1962. Well, guess WHO "owns" the 'Milton Bradley' line now? As well as these 'dorques'? Yep, that's right, the dreaded and "damnable HasBORG"!
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Morgan Dontanville
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GROGnads wrote:
Oh they're JUST "attention whoring" here, sort of like the "Paris Hilton" role model version, since there have been plenty of others that were around well before some of these folks had even been born, or is this "hatched"?, or perhaps "Hell-spawned" is more appropriate, for whatever the case may be. In fact, with what they've described, then Broadside shall meet the 'criterion' of that, and this is from 1962. Well, guess WHO "owns" the 'Milton Bradley' line now? As well as these 'dorques'? Yep, that's right, the dreaded and "damnable ggBORG"!
robot


I was thinking the same thing...

...only in English.
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Jim Pulles
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Quote:
The credit goes to the the guys who invented Lego Wars.

Yes... but did they patent the idea? Probably not.
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arz man
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Jim_P wrote:
Quote:
The credit goes to the the guys who invented Lego Wars.

Yes... but did they patent the idea? Probably not.


But the fact that they didn't patent means nobody can patent the same idea now, it has become "public knowledge"...
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Richard Turner
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The claims of that patent can be found here:

http://v3.espacenet.com/textclam?DB=EPODOC&IDX=US2004084842&...

Claim 1 states for example:

"1. A game system, comprising:
at least one panel of planar, substantially rigid material, having formed therein first and second sets of components,
wherein the first set of components includes at least three toy components that may be manually removed from a balance of the panel and manually assembled into a toy without need for glue or external fasteners, and
wherein the second set of components includes at least two randomizer components that may be manually removed and manually assembled into an randomizer object without need for glue or external fasteners, wherein the randomizer object is configured to provide one of several random values when the randomizer object is actuated by a player;
at least one accessory that may be manually removed from the panel and removably attached to the assembled toy; and
a set of game rules;
wherein the randomizer object is associated with the accessory and is for use under the game rules, wherein the assembled toy may be employed in a game defined by the game rules, and wherein a predetermined value derived from actuation of the randomizer object by the player negatively affects an opponent toy associated with an opponent player so that one of multiple components of the opponent toy is removed."
 
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Chris
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Quote:
A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state to a patentee (the inventor or assignee) for a fixed period of time in exchange for the regulated, public disclosure of certain details of a device, method, process or composition of matter (substance) (known as an invention) which is new, inventive, and useful or industrially applicable.


The key term here is of course "NEW"
WotC did not provide a new invention. This is a been there and done that invention and the only way this will hold up is if they can strong arm anyone into submission. The only way to make sure that their bulling tactics don't work is to not purchase their games. I for one will no longer purchase WotC games. I understand that this will of course mean no more MB, Hasbro and PB games lol and a dozen other items but I can't see supporting the company if they file patents for obvious items that they did not invent.

I hope that if you agree you will do the same.
 
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Chris
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RCTurner wrote:
The claims of that patent can be found here:

http://v3.espacenet.com/textclam?DB=EPODOC&IDX=US2004084842&...

Claim 1 states for example:

"1. A game system, comprising:
at least one panel of planar, substantially rigid material, having formed therein first and second sets of components,
wherein the first set of components includes at least three toy components that may be manually removed from a balance of the panel and manually assembled into a toy without need for glue or external fasteners, and
wherein the second set of components includes at least two randomizer components that may be manually removed and manually assembled into an randomizer object without need for glue or external fasteners, wherein the randomizer object is configured to provide one of several random values when the randomizer object is actuated by a player;
at least one accessory that may be manually removed from the panel and removably attached to the assembled toy; and
a set of game rules;
wherein the randomizer object is associated with the accessory and is for use under the game rules, wherein the assembled toy may be employed in a game defined by the game rules, and wherein a predetermined value derived from actuation of the randomizer object by the player negatively affects an opponent toy associated with an opponent player so that one of multiple components of the opponent toy is removed."


Sounds like PotSM to me. The only problem I see is that they filed for the patent long before PotSM was released. This "Could" be a problem but as I am not a patent attorney I don't know the law. I do know Right from Wrong but in the US that has NOTHING to do with the law (especially trademark and patent laws)


 
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Jeffrey D Myers
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As Richard suggests, one needs to read the claims of the patent to determine what they are patenting.

For U.S. Patents, go to pat2pdf.org to get a nice PDF copy.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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Its basically all those styrene games they want patent claim on: Pirates, Racer Knights, Nascar, Star Wars Pocket, Transformers.

PunchBots was just a rumor.
 
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Richard Turner
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If anyone is really bored they can visit the USPTO website and examine the file which will be online. They can see what prior art was cited and what arguments were put by WOTC to overcome any prior art.

I am a patent attorney, btw.
 
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Mark C
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I believe there was a recent Supreme Court ruling that curtailed the enforcement of these kinds of silly patents. But who's gonna fight a big corporation over a frivilous patent? Not many, and even if you do, there's no guarantee you'll win. Point being that patenting something isn't done because you actually have a good invention, but merely as a legal "tactic" if you will.

The deep pocket/best lawyers usually win. They can certainly inflict a lot of pain.
 
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Jay Adan
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Gamer_Dog wrote:
I believe there was a recent Supreme Court ruling that curtailed the enforcement of these kinds of silly patents. But who's gonna fight a big corporation over a frivilous patent? Not many, and even if you do, there's no guarantee you'll win. Point being that patenting something isn't done because you actually have a good invention, but merely as a legal "tactic" if you will.

The deep pocket/best lawyers usually win. They can certainly inflict a lot of pain.


Which part of their patent do you consider frivolous? Have your read it yet. Checked the dates? Looked at the arguments against the cited prior art (as Mr. Turner mentioned above)?
 
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P Duggan
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I'm taking it for granted that the filing of the patent for CSGs was prior to the release of Pirates of the Spanish Main.

I wonder, though, if its clear that any of the makers of CSGs would have known about the patent. I guess it's up to manufacturers to know about filed patents, and not work on things that are patented.

I also assume that the whole constructible styrene toy invention was prior to the filing of the patent.

But assume they didn't know about the patent. You still have issues of obviousness. (wikipedia)
Quote:
Is there any teaching in the prior art, as a whole, that would, not simply could, have prompted the skilled person, faced with the objective technical problem formulated when considering the technical features not disclosed by the closest prior art, to modify or adapt said closest prior art while taking account of that teaching [the teaching of the prior art, not just the teaching of the closest prior art], thereby arriving at something falling within the terms of the claims, and thus achieving what the invention achieves?
making a game using existing styrene pieces I think is fairly close to obvious.

Perhaps the claim of making a randomizer from sheet styrene and including it with the game pieces is a non-obvious idea.

I think that the fact that Wizkids made a pirates game from styrene ships should be taken as some kind of demonstration that the idea has some kind of obviousness, assuming it would be proved they have no knowledge of the patent claim.

Its also strange how a manufacturer who doesn't think an idea is patentable looses to the one who does.

Once WoTC showed that a Collectible game was a new invention, taking the step of realizing a whole slew of collectible objects (plastic minis, breakable toys, chunks of styrene, paper discs) can be effective mediums for games seems like it would meet the obviousness test for a "skilled person" to solve the technical problem of making a game from toy X.
 
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Walter Hunt
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sisteray wrote:
GROGnads wrote:
Oh they're JUST "attention whoring" here . . .


I was thinking the same thing...

...only in English.


One of the funniest things I've read on BGG in a long time, Morgan.

W
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Brian Dysart
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This is from the US patent; the earlier link was to the European patent

Quote:
5. The game method of claim 2, further comprising a set of self-adhesive labels for customizing the first or second toy bases.


PotSM doesn't use stickers (I don't know if any of the others do), so is this enough for that game not to infringe on this patent? The Star Wars game wouldn't be affected, as the models are basically markers and don't change during play (the patent cites the Z Cardz game as prior art). I'm familiar enough with the Nascar or Racer Knights games, but I don't think they use stickers either.
 
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Jeffrey D Myers
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Claim 5 is a so-called dependent claim because it refers back to an earlier claim. For the most part, only pay attention to the independent claims (such as claim 1), which do not refer back to an earlier claim.
 
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wayne r
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So what?

They also have a patent on CCGs. Most companies don't heed it and as far as I know WotC has never challenged any game company producing CCGs with it.

I think they are just blowing smoke and trying to scare the upstarts who want to produce a CSG. They want to get royalties from such companies who plan to produce a CSG like they tried to do with their patent on CCGs but is anyone listening? I doubt it.
 
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Oni no board wrote:
So what?

They also have a patent on CCGs. Most companies don't heed it and as far as I know WotC has never challenged any game company producing CCGs with it.

I think they are just blowing smoke and trying to scare the upstarts who want to produce a CSG. They want to get royalties from such companies who plan to produce a CSG like they tried to do with their patent on CCGs but is anyone listening? I doubt it.

I would have to pull out my old Decipher Star Wars rule books, but I think they did pay WotC a royalty. It could have been the Star Trek game, but I think it was the Star Wars CCG.
 
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wayne r
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EasyPickens wrote:
Oni no board wrote:
So what?

They also have a patent on CCGs. Most companies don't heed it and as far as I know WotC has never challenged any game company producing CCGs with it.

I think they are just blowing smoke and trying to scare the upstarts who want to produce a CSG. They want to get royalties from such companies who plan to produce a CSG like they tried to do with their patent on CCGs but is anyone listening? I doubt it.

I would have to pull out my old Decipher Star Wars rule books, but I think they did pay WotC a royalty. It could have been the Star Trek game, but I think it was the Star Wars CCG.


I don't remember which companies paid royalties. I just remember hearing that 2 companies agreed to. The rest adopted a wait and see attitude to see if WotC would take action against them. If Decipher had to pay, wouldn't they have to pay royalties for both? Unless a company just had to pay a flat royalty fee to produce any number of CCGs.
 
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