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Subject: WOTC claims patent on CSGs? rss

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Eric Franklin
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Steel_Wind wrote:
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.

I don't know that it'll make a difference for SWPMG - The models in SWPMG (From what I've seen) aren't disassembled during play - they are basically collectible plastic counters. (The rules are here: https://secure.wizkidsgames.com/StarWars/ )

From the initial post:
Quote:
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.
This doesn't happen in SWPMG. If you had the stats, you could even use the WotC SWCMG figures with this one.

It will probably impact Pirates, however (as others have said) - assuming WizKids was going to continue it past the current expansion (there are always rumors and rumblings, but the latest batch has been louder and better-informed than normal).

*shrug* Time (and lawyers) will tell.

Eric
 
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Rick Monson
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Oni no board wrote:
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.
If I remember correctly, one game triggered it - then the company just caved and paid the royalties. It's been 8-10 years, and I just don't remember the details. I would have to check some of the printed materials, but I really do remember seeing the WotC patent information inside one of their books.

At least I think so?
 
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Robert Trifts
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Charles Ryan, former D&D brand manager who is no longer with WotC had this to say on the subject earlier today on ENWorld:

_______________________________

"Here are a few things to keep in mind before judging WotC's motives:

* WotC claims that their application is based on a game they developed--but didn't bring to market--back in 2002. I can vouch for that--l laid eyes on the game. And I'm not the only one--WotC unveiled the game to distributors at their annual conference before cancelling it later in the year.
* As others have pointed out, the patent application was filed in 2002--before PotSM came out, and many years before WizKids had announced Star Wars or WotC had announced Transformers.
* The timing of the awarding of the patent isn't in WotC's hands. If you read Loren's comments on ICv2, it appears WotC learned of the award last month. The timing of the award, and WotC's announcement, near the release of SWPM and Transformers is, I think, purely coincidental.
* WotC already holds a patent for TCGs. Back when that was awarded, in 1995 or thereabouts, there was a lot of concern in the industry that they were going to shut everyone else down. They didn't.


[An aside: Some people are questioning the validity of the patent because of previous games that might be considered "constructible battle games." Don't get hung up on that term (which doesn't even appear in the patent). WotC's patent is much narrower, covering games that much more closely resemble the PotSM/SWPM/Transformers model. It's narrow enough that it might not even cover PotSM.]

Will WotC use this to shut down its competition? Maybe, but I'm guessing that would kill the category, which doesn't do anyone any good. More likely, they'll see it as a barrier to entry, which will restrict the number of players in the category and let WotC manage it better. In fact, if this indicates anything at all, it's that WotC is considering getting more seriously into the category--which should be a good thing for fans of this sort of game!"

Charles Ryan
________________________________

Original post here: http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=197270
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Robert Trifts
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And this information at ICV2 should serve to put some people at ease concerning the immediate fallout:

A spokesperson for Wizards of the Coast told ICv2, "We have no plans at this time to take legal action against any other industry players who may have existing or future games that fall within the scope of this patent."

WizKids, which published the first constructible strategy game that actually made it to market (Pirates of the Spanish Main, in 2004, see "WizKids Plans Pirates Game"), replied to a query from ICv2 with the following statement: "This announcement has no effect on our products in the marketplace."

Original article here: http://www.icv2.com/articles/home/10628.html
 
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Robert Trifts
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And still more, this from Loren Greenwood, CEO of Wizards of the Coast:

May 24, 2007

Loren Greenwood, CEO of Wizards of the Coast, responded to questions posed by ICv2 concerning the patent award announced by WotC yesterday.


In the announcement Wizards of the Coast indicated that it had been awarded a patent for a "constructible strategy game," yet that phrase was never used in the patent application -- does WotC feel it has the right to use the "CSG" phrase now to describe its new Transformers game?


The industry as a whole uses the generic term constructible strategy game to describe these types of games. That context is helpful when talking specifically about our new Transformers 3-D Battle-Card Game because it helps people understand the gameplay. However, we are calling our game a "3-D Battle Card Game" because we like the image that conveys to consumers.

WotC was careful not to use the term "CSG" in describing what was called the "Transformers 3-D Battle Card Game," but which did resemble already established games in the CSG category -- why didn't you use the "CSG" designation previously?


We decided to label our Transformers game a 3-D Battle Card Game because our marketing team feels that it best fits this particular product.


Do you feel that the awarding of the patent gives you the right to use the "CSG" designation?


It is not up to us how the public and industry refers to our games. We feel that the 3-D Battle Card Game label best suits our Transformers game, so we are using that.

Do you feel that the CSG category of games will grow and prosper?

While it's impossible to predict something like that, we certainly hope to see growth in this category and are excited about the opportunities it provides.

When did WotC learn that it had been awarded a patent based on its 2003 application?


We actually filed a provisional patent in October 2002, which is noted on the face of our patent. The patent was awarded on April 10, 2007. We had anticipated since late 2006 that a patent would likely issue eventually, based on communications from the patent office. In March, we received a notice informing us that the patent was projected to issue on April 10th.

Original article here: http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/10636.html
 
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Rick Monson
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All this boils down to one thing.

The "collectable" industry is facing the same basic problems most regular industry sectors face.

More products chasing fewer dollars.

The patent press release is just designed to put a bit of uncertanty into the minds of WizKids' customers. Would it hold up in court, doesn't really matter (at least short term). The rest of the industry has to live with yet another black mark from WotC.

A bigger question is did WizKids apply for any patent on its Pirates CSG? They have the one on their combat dial, but did they apply for any others?

With the patent, WotC has a pretty nice "ace" if they feel that their is too much competition for their Transformers 3-D battle game. Right now WotC is happy and friendly ... but if it will improve their bottom line, watch out.

Goliath marches on.
 
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Paul Franzosa
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Gamethyme wrote:
Steel_Wind wrote:
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.

I don't know that it'll make a difference for SWPMG - The models in SWPMG (From what I've seen) aren't disassembled during play - they are basically collectible plastic counters. (The rules are here: https://secure.wizkidsgames.com/StarWars/ )

From the initial post:
Quote:
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.
This doesn't happen in SWPMG. If you had the stats, you could even use the WotC SWCMG figures with this one.

It will probably impact Pirates, however (as others have said) - assuming WizKids was going to continue it past the current expansion (there are always rumors and rumblings, but the latest batch has been louder and better-informed than normal).

*shrug* Time (and lawyers) will tell.

Eric
But doesn't this happen in this game from 2001?

Z-G
http://boardgamegeek.com/game/1820

from the rules: "2 Strikes: SLAG TARGET CARD: Foe removes part from figure and card from
play, discarding the card into their slag heap."
 
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Paul DeStefano
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zosa wrote:
But doesn't this happen in this game from 2001?

Z-G
http://boardgamegeek.com/game/1820

from the rules: "2 Strikes: SLAG TARGET CARD: Foe removes part from figure and card from
play, discarding the card into their slag heap."

You have to look at the patent as a whole, not just a singular expression in it. There's other games where the minis actually take damage. But they don't fit all of the other constraints.
 
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Rich
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EasyPickens wrote:
Right now WotC is happy and friendly ... but if it will

That's just paranoid crazy talk. What are you going to claim next, WotC pulling Dragon and Dungeon out from under Paizo?
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Steel_Wind wrote:
A spokesperson for Wizards of the Coast told ICv2, "We have no plans at this time to take legal action against any other industry players who may have existing or future games that fall within the scope of this patent."

They have no more demands to make in Europe.
 
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Robert Fix
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lordunborn wrote:
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)



They want to PATENT PotSM? With the crappy rules system that the game came with? Be my guest.
 
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