Patenting Ideas and Technology

Video Games

Video Game Patent Attorney

Can you patent a game?

If you're wondering how to patent a game, a patent may potentially be obtained for the design of the game, for its software or hardware. 

Types of gaming ideas that can be patented

The term “gaming” is used to refer to a wide variety of ideas.  In one sense, gaming refers to gaming activities that are wager-based (lottery games, casino-based games, etc.); whereas in another sense, it refers to gaming activities or experiences that are more recreational in nature (video games operated by a game console, mobile device, headset, etc.).

Variations of all of these ideas may potentially be patented depending upon certain factors that can be analyzed by an experienced patent lawyer.  At the outset, an initial question to be answered is how much computer hardware vs. computer software is used to implement the gaming experience? The reason that this question is so important is that the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) imposes additional requirements on patent applications that may be construed as “software inventions” rather than those that are not.  That being said, many gaming ideas cannot be simply pigeonholed into one or the other (software or hardware); rather, there is usually some mix (80% software and 20% hardware, as an example).  

Accordingly, just because your game idea falls into one genre of “gaming” (lotteries as opposed to video games) does not necessarily mean that you will or will not obtain a patent.  For example, one implementation of a video game may include substantial hardware elements, while another does not.  

The hardware vs. software analysis is only part of a comprehensive analysis that can be performed by a registered USPTO patent attorney with a software engineering background to help you evaluate whether your particular type of game or gaming system is a strong candidate for the patent application process.

Why should i get a patent for my game

The “gaming” industry as a whole, even as broadly defined above, has been experiencing tremendous growth.  In one particular segment, MarketWatch reports that the global lottery market is projected to grow 4.6% from 2019 to 2018 .  In another segment, NewZoo projects that 2019 will be the first year that the global esports market will exceed $1 billion in revenue. Accordingly, the gaming industry as a whole has been growing quite substantially, and appears as if it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Of particular note, adoption of technologies in particular gaming segment are starting to “cross-over” into other segments.  For instance, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) devices, which have been typically used in the video game world, are now beginning to be adopted within lottery systems.  And it doesn’t stop there. The race is on for companies to provide the best user experience possible, which will likely involve adoption and integration of multiple technologies. From blockchain platforms that allow use of cryptocurrency for payments and allow for enhanced security for lottery ticket transactions to social media platforms being integrated within esports video games, innovation is abounding the gaming world by storm. 

If you do not innovate as well, it will be difficult to keep pace with the technological advances in the gaming industry.  By filing for a patent, you can protect your intellectual property rights and continue innovating to provide a better user experience for gamers than your competitors to help your company reach its growth potential.  

Famous video game patents

Due to the popularity of games and the size of the gaming market, “copycats” are common in this space. While not all game inventors end up monetizing their patents, the gaming industry is full of examples of successful patents. Some game design patents have made history and even changed the course of the gaming industry. One famous example is a Nintendo patent that helped it to become a leading player in the U.S. console market. Another famous example of a video game patent is Sega of Americas patent on in-game directions. Microsoft holds a number of patents for its wildly popular X Box gaming console.

How do I go about getting a patent for my game?

The first step in trying to patent a game is to obtain the assistance of a USPTO registered patent attorney, who is experienced not only with respect to one genre of games (lottery games as opposed to video games), but who is well versed in (1) a variety of gaming contexts; and (2) many computerized (software and hardware) technologies that may be adopted by,  or integrated within, those gaming contexts. Obtaining a patent for a gaming idea may be a difficult task, but not necessarily impossible – especially if you have an experienced patent lawyer, who has an in-depth understanding of how to navigate through the potential obstacles for patenting gaming systems.  

The second step is working with your patent attorney to prepare and file a patent application. his document will consist of detailed text and drawings that will be presented to the USPTO by your patent attorney to emphasize the inventive features of your gaming invention.  Although it can be quite an arduous task, a patent lawyer that is experienced not only in patent law, but specifically in obtaining granted gaming patents, can do the vast majority of work in getting the patent application prepared and filed.  

Finding the patent attorney most suited to patent your gaming idea

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Patent Ingenuity has expertise, and significant experience, with patenting games.  For example, the founder, Mr. Simpson (link to bio), has successfully prepared and obtained numerous “gaming” patents for clients. 

In particular, Mr. Simpson is a USPTO registered patent attorney with a software engineering background that has extensive experience working with lottery patents.  He has obtained numerous lottery patents, and has a deep knowledge of the inner workings of various lottery-based technologies, ranging from lottery game management systems to lottery terminals situated at lottery vendors.  Mr. Simpson has also successfully negotiated numerous license agreements to monetize lottery system and process patents.

In addition, Mr. Simpson is a patent lawyer with significant experience in preparing patent applications for casino-based gaming systems.  Having learned the various intricacies of casino systems, slot machines, etc., Mr. Simpson uses his experience to draft patent applications that are directed to various nuances that are particular to games implemented in a casino environment, such as security features, gaming regulation specific features (particular “Class” of gaming machine), and user experience enhancements.

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“gaming,” video game systems and processes are also areas with which Mr. Simpson has extensive patent experience.  As video game technologies have continued to develop, Mr. Simpson has observed the cross-pollination between game console, mobile devices, social media, and esports.  The user experience and behind-the-scenes technology have been evolving at a rapid pace, and Mr. Simpson strives to maintain a thorough understanding of these developments. 

As a result, Mr. Simpson, at Patent Ingenuity, is a patent lawyer that helps clients file and obtain patents in a wide variety of gaming contexts. 

Patent Ingenuity is a patent law firm based in San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles, which has extensive experience with patenting gaming systems and processes.  A registered USPTO patent attorney, with a software engineering background, can help you strategize how to best protect your game.

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