WizardofEngland
WizardofEngland
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November 22nd, 2010 at 12:37:35 AM permalink
I have two ideas for good casino games, using simple easy to learn rules, with a decent edge for the casino, and fun, fair payouts for the gambler. How do I go about checking if the game already exists? Then how do I test it without someone stealing the idea?
http://wizardofvegas.com/forum/off-topic/general/10042-woes-black-sheep-game-ii/#post151727
Paigowdan
Paigowdan
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November 22nd, 2010 at 4:01:03 AM permalink
This is the drill:
In the U.S.,
1. check FIRST with the United States Patent and Trademark Office via their site, www.USPTO.gov;
2. UNDER the SEARCH options, check, using multiple keywords that ADEQUATELY and closely describes your invention, producing:
3. A list of patents to review; read and understand the nature of the patents you are reviewing, looking closely for any mechanisms that describe, overlap, or mimic your game invention idea.
4. Do this several times using combination of product or invention keywords, making sure you pull up all relevant patent documents.

5. If you come across something that is similar to your idea, but you use, or can use, methods or mechanisms that do NOT infringe the patented mechanism, or there are distinct differences so that you are confidentr that you are in the clear, then

6. Contact a patent attorney who has considerable game patent experience, and IF you think the idea is viable enough to be a commercial product, proceed with either a provisional patent or non-provisional patent to file a patent.

7. Also have the attorney provide some non-disclosure agreements, so that you can safely discuss the ideas with gaming industry people, to determine if they are really viable; if so, continue on with the patent.

8. Then continue on with producing prototype layouts, on which you can deal the game, working out the dealer and casino procedural processes of the game in a "general discovery process" that will later be used to accurately update the patent and closer reflect what the final product will entail in a real casino environment.

9. Get a gaming mathematician to review the accuracy of the house edge of each bet type:
a) Even money to 2:1 payout main bets should have a house edge in the 2.0% to 3.5% house edge range;
b) bonus payout tables uniformly in the 2:1 to 100:1 range should have a 7.5% or so house edge.
c) game design should be unfraudable (cannot be cheated or thwarted for player edge)

10. Add revsions to patent based on this testing/discovery process.

11. Write a product description Guide of the game to review with a VP of product Development of a commercial casino game developer (DEQ Systems corporation, Gaming Network, Shuffle Master, Galaxy Gaming, etc.)

12. Ultimately ending with an agreement with a distributor who will install versions of your new game invention.

Any questions about the process or steps, feel free to PM me or MathExtremist or Wizard about next steps and additional notes.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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November 22nd, 2010 at 4:40:24 AM permalink
Do Google searches for key phrases that describe the game.

Also do regular Google searches for the name you plan on calling it - particularly if the name describes the game.

I.E. I originally wanted to call my Poker For Roulette something more basic such as Roulette Poker. But www.roulettepoker.com www.roulette-poker.com www.pokerroulette.com and www.poker-roulette.com were all taken. Interestingly, NONE of them were related to anything similar to my bet, so I remained confident that my idea is unique, but I just had to come up with a new name.

And then reserve the website domain name. It's only a couple bucks to reserve the name. Worry about content later. (I also do basic web design, so content came easy for me.)
I invented a few casino games. Info: http://www.DaveMillerGaming.com/ 覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧 Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁
mkl654321
mkl654321
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November 22nd, 2010 at 3:10:10 PM permalink
You'll have to clear two basic hurdles:

1. The idea has not been thought of before, and submitted for patent and/or copyright.

2. The idea has enough appeal, to the casinos and the public, to warrant their purchasing it.

Each of these I would estimate at 50 to 1, making your overall chances about 2500 to 1 for each idea. And I have the feeling I'm being optimistic.
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
Switch
Switch
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November 22nd, 2010 at 8:39:48 PM permalink
Paigow Dan has given you a thorough reply on how to go about protecting and researching a new game.

However, from your username I'm guessing that you are from the UK? If so then you can patent your idea in the UK and then have one year to file the patnet in the US. There are patent officers in the UK although, in my experience, if you can find a US patent attorney then you are far better off - UK patent officers have their own US patent attorneys so you are basically paying a 'middleman' fee.

There is a lot of talk about this and it is generally frowned upon for various reasons BUT you can file your own UK patent and the cost is £0.00 (actually, not quite true, it costs a postage stamp :-) ). This allows you a year, without the upfront expense of a lawyer, to test your game out. Please note: this is not my suggested advice and it is the way I started. You can get away with it but there are lots of pitfalls even if you have a decent command of the English language. I suppose you could read some established patents on a game similar to your idea but, if you have the finace available, then I would seek a US patent attorney or ask someone here to recommend one (I saw that one has already been recommended in this forum).

Also, you can get a non-disclosure agreement and discuss your ideas with someone in the profession. Early feedback can be valuable both in finding out if the game is patentable as well as whether there are flaws in the actual gameplay, stat's etc of the game.

Finally, take a long, deep breath and expect the worse. mkl has already given you realistic odds of success and I believe he is being very optimistic at the 50/1 for part 2 - personally I would add another zero.
Paigowdan
Paigowdan
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November 23rd, 2010 at 2:44:00 AM permalink
Yes,
The odds against success are huge. I worked very hard for very long, was already in the gaming industry, and also got lucky.

I did take an attitude of "follow your dreams" within reason, and I did get there. The odds are more like one in 500. Rob Scott of DEQ told me this.

I also told myself that if I did NOT succeed in getting to the promised land of having real tables in real casinos, then all that work was STILL worth it, as I would have just sat on my ass on the couch, wasting my time being a veggie in front of the movie channel anyway.

It was a very interesting and brutal process to go through. If I had known then what I know now, I might have opted to try my hand at writing a screenplay; the odds are better, and success there is more glamorous.

I work with gaming mathematicians, patent attorneys, and with sales reps and product development guys for game distributors. Nice guys? Yes. Glamorous? Hell no. Sometimes we'd throw dice, play Pai Gow or go to a strip club. Beats the shit out of teaching High School math at a North Las Vegas High School, I can tell you that, so my regular gig is dealing Craps, Pai Gow Poker, and Blackjack during the swing shift at a locals casino. The money will come, and I will travel.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
Switch
Switch
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November 23rd, 2010 at 5:45:15 AM permalink
Funny that Dan, I taught math', on and off, in the UK school and college system for 15 years before I delved into this profession (or is it dived ? :-) )

I love the travelling too, or rather the places I go, (I hate the actual travelling itself unless I'm driving there).

I remember back about 12 years ago I applied for a math' teaching job in one of the top schools in Las Vegas. I ended up being one of the last 2 candidates and they eventually gave the job to a person from Nebraska saying that they had to offer the position to a US person of equal ability rather than a 'foreigner'.

Just thinking that it's these 50/50 situations in life that have a major impact on our future. I could quite easily be living somewhere in Las Vegas teaching math' and not entered this stimulating, albeit frustrating, profession at all. 'Sliding Doors' - a film that really makes you think and underlines how critical the 'apparently everyday' decisions which can have such a dramatic effect.

Now if only I'd entered into the realm of gaming educational websites - I could have a house like Mike's :-)
MathExtremist
MathExtremist
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November 23rd, 2010 at 9:42:23 AM permalink
Quote: Switch

However, from your username I'm guessing that you are from the UK? If so then you can patent your idea in the UK and then have one year to file the patnet in the US. There are patent officers in the UK although, in my experience, if you can find a US patent attorney then you are far better off - UK patent officers have their own US patent attorneys so you are basically paying a 'middleman' fee.



Just to be clear, the UK Patent Act (1977) does not permit patents on
"a scheme, rule or method for performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business, or a program for a computer"

UK Patent Act, 1977, Part 1.2.c, page 8 of that document.

The EPO rules are essentially the same. And I have been involved in litigation where a patent was deemed to claim nothing other than a program for a computer and was summarily invalidated.
"In my own case, when it seemed to me after a long illness that death was close at hand, I found no little solace in playing constantly at dice." -- Girolamo Cardano, 1563
Paigowdan
Paigowdan
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November 23rd, 2010 at 9:47:10 AM permalink
Quote: Switch

Funny that Dan, I taught math', on and off, in the UK school and college system for 15 years before I delved into this profession (or is it dived ? :-) )



It is "descended..." :)
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
Switch
Switch
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November 23rd, 2010 at 3:02:30 PM permalink
Quote: MathExtremist

Just to be clear, the UK Patent Act (1977) does not permit patents on
"a scheme, rule or method for performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business, or a program for a computer"

UK Patent Act, 1977, Part 1.2.c, page 8 of that document.

The EPO rules are essentially the same. And I have been involved in litigation where a patent was deemed to claim nothing other than a program for a computer and was summarily invalidated.



That's very true although I believe that the UK has an alliance with the US in that UK pending patents will be given the originally filed UK date when applying for a US full patent within 12 months of filing the UK provisional.

Of course it means that you can never be granted a UK full patent for 'Method of Play' unless you can add tangible aparatus to your idea.
DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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November 23rd, 2010 at 7:34:33 PM permalink
There is a difference between "playing" a game, and "operating" a game.

A specific strategy for playing can't be patented, but the rules for participation / operating can be.
I invented a few casino games. Info: http://www.DaveMillerGaming.com/ 覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧 Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁
MathExtremist
MathExtremist
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November 23rd, 2010 at 8:33:39 PM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

There is a difference between "playing" a game, and "operating" a game.

A specific strategy for playing can't be patented, but the rules for participation / operating can be.


Only in the U.S. Operating a game by a casino is a business method, and business method patents are still allowable here but not in U.K. or EPO signatories. See the recent Supreme Court decision in Bilski v. Kappos for the latest on the U.S. piece.
"In my own case, when it seemed to me after a long illness that death was close at hand, I found no little solace in playing constantly at dice." -- Girolamo Cardano, 1563
buzzpaff
buzzpaff
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March 17th, 2011 at 7:20:33 PM permalink
You'll have to clear two basic hurdles:

1. The idea has not been thought of before, and submitted for patent and/or copyright.

2. The idea has enough appeal, to the casinos and the public, to warrant their purchasing it.

In the USA it is first to invent, not first to file. Hopefully new legislation is about to stop that !
MathExtremist
MathExtremist
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March 17th, 2011 at 7:29:27 PM permalink
The first-to-file rule may harm small inventors. Only larger companies have the means to pay filing fees on speculative inventions and the ability to simply write them off if/when they don't pan out. The companies that are in favor of first-to-file are, not surprisingly, the ones that can already afford to do this. Most smaller inventors, and that includes basically all casino table game inventors, cannot. I personally have a handful of unfiled game ideas in the wings, but casino game methods face more hurdles than most other patent applications. These days, examiners are issuing 101 rejections on matter that would have been previously allowed.
"In my own case, when it seemed to me after a long illness that death was close at hand, I found no little solace in playing constantly at dice." -- Girolamo Cardano, 1563
buzzpaff
buzzpaff
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March 17th, 2011 at 7:42:28 PM permalink
And it is only getting worse. 10 years ago I called Shufflemaster and Roger Snow answered the phone. He transferred me to his secretary and she mailed me a 2 page non-disclosure form. Double spaced and in everyday language. I took it to an inventor's club and everyone marveled at it's simplicity and fairness. Tried similar route 2 months ago and after a runaround received a 4 page legalese document , all one sided, and damn near a request for them to see if anybody in their organization ever worked on anything like it in years past. At least you have mathematical skill on your side.
etablegames
etablegames
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March 17th, 2011 at 8:37:19 PM permalink
The so-called "distributors" want you to have installations before they are serious about your game. They smell money then chase the money. (or they don;t think they are better than casino operators or the general public.) They don't take any risks. After you have installations, they come and sell the game for you, and paying you 15%-25%. What a deal. Make sure you're doing new games because the whole process is fun, not the money (let money comes on its own feet.)
buzzpaff
buzzpaff
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March 17th, 2011 at 9:31:23 PM permalink
Why reinvent the wheel Just improve BJ and hold'em poker. Hell of a market in those 2 games
WizardofEngland
WizardofEngland
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March 18th, 2011 at 1:43:59 AM permalink
Quote: buzzpaff

Why reinvent the wheel Just improve BJ and hold'em poker. Hell of a market in those 2 games



I would love to improve hold'em but I think the game is already so fantastic.
Even the things I hate, bad beats, bad players all make the game great.
http://wizardofvegas.com/forum/off-topic/general/10042-woes-black-sheep-game-ii/#post151727
buzzpaff
buzzpaff
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March 18th, 2011 at 5:19:28 AM permalink
Wiz So did the people who grew up watching Bret Maverick play draw poker. Or the pro's who then played 5 card stud. Then a long came 7 card stud. But the rocks ruined that, Ever wonder why low card has to bring it in ?
Doyle Brunson has a great story about a cowhand inventing holdem so he and 9 other bunkmates could play 7 card stud with just the one deck of cards in the bunkhouse. Will not argue with the Godfather of Holdem but wonder if that cowhand ever drove a herd to Cincinatti Ohio.
Because I have a book on poker published in the 40's that talks about a game called Cincinatti. Had a flop turn river Only difference was each player got 5 cards pre-flop LOL
Seriously as a tournament player, congratulation on your win. But even you must admit a tweak of 20-30% pre-flop and flop action would be beneficial both in open play and tournaments. I had no problem with losing nights at all, But hate the nights when the few times I get a good starting hand I can not get any action.
And surely until subtle collusion in on-like poker games is greatly diminished without any rule changes, ranks of hands, etc, Hold'em growth will be limited.
Good luck in WSOP
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