What is the best way to patent a game? 5 Answers as of December 11, 2010

I have invented a game that my friends and I enjoy very much and am looking to patent the idea. It is similar to an outdoor game like Baggo or Bocce Ball. From speaking with LegalZoom they made it sound difficult to patent a game, so I am looking for some help. Can I simply file a provisional patent or should I look for legal aid?

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DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
A game or other recreational activity may be patentable in the articles or devices used in the playing of the game, in the process for making the game articles and devices, and in the method of playing the game itself. Games of "pure chance" are an exception and are not patentable. A patentable invention must be useful, and new (novel) and not predictably derivable (non-obvious) from similar inventions in the prior art. You should consult a patent attorney to determine if such an invention might be patentable.

Please contact me at your earliest convenience for assistance with your patenting and trademark and copyright licensing needs.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 12/11/2010
Fish & Associates, PC
Fish & Associates, PC | Robert D. Fish
Patenting games can be a bit tricky, because much of the novelty is really originality, the sort of thing that is better protected by copyright rather than patents. But games can patented provided there is something inventive about the game. Its not a bad idea to file a provisional, and you can do yourself or have an attorney/agent help out. But remember, for a provisional to provide an effective priority date to a subsequent utility, the provisional must satisfy the enablement, best mode, and written description requirements.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/8/2010
Handal & Morofsky LLC
Handal & Morofsky LLC | Anthony H. Handal
Searching to make sure the game is new is particularly important. If that is the case, it is like any other invention. However, it is likely to be difficult for a non-lawyer to address the issues in such a patent application and seeking the help of a lawyer is recommended.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 12/7/2010
Law Offices of Daniel Richardson
Law Offices of Daniel Richardson | Daniel R. Richardson
I have patented games, I do not know what legalzoom is talking about, but then you probably didn't talk to a patent attorney there.

As to provisional patent versus utility patent, that depends on the circumstances and you have not given nearly enough facts to advise on that aspect.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/7/2010
Kafantaris Law Group
Kafantaris Law Group | Theo Kafantaris
It is quite common to file for a patent on various games, both electronic and traditional. You can file for a provisional patent, but I would advise discussing the issue with a patent attorney first. Feel free to contact me if you would like my help in the matter.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/7/2010
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