Columbus Day

In the US, we are still celebrating Columbus Day at the Federal Level. So, USPTO and the Courts are closed. (The Law School is still in operation and I’m teaching today.)

U.S. Patent 4,915,391 claims:

1. A board game comprising:

a. a game board having an endless path of contiguous blocks, some of the blocks representing property which is purchasable and a plurality of the blocks each displaying two alternative directions,

b. a plurality of destiny cards, each card describing an event,

c. a plurality of ownership cards, each card describing commercial transactions for a different piece of property,

d. a device operable by the players for determining randomly between said two directions,

e. a plurality of tokens, one for each player,

f. a plurality of property markers for identifying ownership of property, and

g. means for determining a numerical value.

14 thoughts on “Columbus Day

  1. 5

    Since the Washington’s team might be headed to the World Series, see
    US 6,530,571 B1

    Or, you might look at something closer in terms of prior art: US 5,482,288

    Board games have a long history of being patentable subject matter.

  2. 4

    Which claim elements [including those including “direction” but lacking reference to the “endless path”] 103 distinguish over “Monopoly”?

    1. 4.2

      No matter which, we can all agree that the distinctions provide unexpected levels of entertainment (measured using the most scientifically advanced entertainment measuring devices available to the PTO at the time).

  3. 3

    Abstract! Just like automobile axles!

    Game boards? Abstract!

    Cards? Abstract!

    Devices? Abstract!

    Tokens? Abstract!

    Property markers? Abstract!

    Everything! Abstract! Abstract! Abstract!

    Why should we bother with the intellectually honest Sections 102, 103, and 112 . . . when our abstract pacifiers are so close at hand . . .

    1. 3.1

      “Derp I’m confused by derp simple logic and derp why is “ownership” abstract but a piece of cardboard is not derp DERP I mean derp they are both things derp lawyering is teh hard enough already DERPpity derp!”

  4. 2

    That is one heckuva g@rbage patent claim.


    So much risk involved in creating such useful and technical “articles of manufacture” like that!

    The ancient “science” of … playing games … but with game pieces, cards and boards. Behold the wonders of human ingenuity. Why, even David Boundy can’t help but be impressed by that claim.

    1. 1.1

      What’s not “abstract” about a drawing of a rectangle that “represents property”?

      Serious question for the derp thinking David Boundy.

    2. 1.2

      “ My playing board has a rectangle that represents a new Taylor Swift CD sitting on a shelf!” <— the great David Boundy discovers the patent grift for the zillionth time

    3. 1.3

      Perhaps they were misled by an attorney who characterizes claims as either ‘an abstract idea’ or ‘not an abstract idea’.

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