WotC Strikes Again: Patents the CSG

GoodKingJayIII

First Post
Imaro said:
You're telling me with WotC's previous maneuvers, you wouldn't?

Emphasis mine. Just out of curiosity here, what previous maneuvers are you referring to? The canceling of Dragon/Dungeon? Something else? What exactly did Wizards do that made them into the evil empire so many perceive them to be?
 

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BaldHero

First Post
Oh i'll tell you what they did to become an evil empire....

They refused to republish the Alternity rpg. That is what they did, those, those...hoodlums!

:lol:
 

Imaro

Legend
GoodKingJayIII said:
Emphasis mine. Just out of curiosity here, what previous maneuvers are you referring to? The canceling of Dragon/Dungeon? Something else? What exactly did Wizards do that made them into the evil empire so many perceive them to be?

Read the Blog(link above). I posted part of it from Ryan Dancey. They basically patented Collectible Card Games and then sent out letters demanding all companies producing collecible card games would have to pay them royalties. I'm sorry this is like someone pantenting roleplaying games...or board games, or even video games.

I'm not saying they're an evil empire, but the fact that they pulled this type of stunt before would have me as Wizkids, ready for another one.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
They basically patented Collectible Card Games and then sent out letters demanding all companies producing collecible card games would have to pay them royalties.

That is because:
1) It is possible to patent certain elements of game design and,

2) Many of the early CCGs used elements that were nearly identical to M:tG.

Those that didn't use patented aspects of M:tG had no problem- not with WotC, anyway- and stayed in business as long as the games were popular. The Star Trek, Middle Earth, ShadowFist, Illuminati, MechWarrior and Doomtrooper CCGs were basically untouched by WotC's patent, as were others. What killed them was a decline in popularity (though the Middle Earth game resurfaced as the LoTR CCg- some of the cards are even identical on the front).
I'm sorry this is like someone pantenting roleplaying games...or board games, or even video games.

If you look around, you'll see that there are infringement lawsuits in those arenas as well...the game Monopoly has been subject of several (like the 1974 Anti-Monopoly lawsuit).
 

Cadfan

First Post
Wait a minute, wait a minute... Wizkids filed the suit, not WotC.

In a patent matter, who files first isn't important. Normally, the plaintiff is the one to file a lawsuit. In patent matters, either party can file. Filing first gives strategic advantage because you can pick a convenient venue. That means, if you think that jurisdiction X is best for your side, you file in jurisdiction X. Or if you think its cheap for you to hire lawyers to litigate in jurisdiction Y, and expensive for your opponent, you file there.

As for the "frivolous" patent, I have no idea whether its frivolous. Probably it isn't. The fact that wizkids went and made an (allegedly) infringing game while the patent was being processed doesn't make the patent frivolous. In fact, I don't know of any argument at all that supports the claim that the patent is frivolous, other than a general bleating about patents being evil, etc, etc, etc. I don't know that its NOT frivolous, but the fact that it got through the USPTO is a good prima facie case that is not refuted by merely insulting the USPTO and wotc's business practices.

And for the record, the patent office doesn't actualy grant every piece of crap that comes its way. A lot of those alleged patent abuses are either urban myths, or examples of people on the internet not being patent lawyers. Sometimes a company will seem to patent something that they didn't invent, but on closer examination, they patented an incredibly limited variant on that same something. They might go on to try to use that patent improperly to intimidate their competition, but that's not the same as the patent office improperly granting a patent.
 

Ranger REG

Explorer
S'mon said:
A patent grant from the USPTO means almost nothing these days, their philosophy is to grant any old garbage and let litigation decide if it's a valid patent or not.
Then the court will decide if USPTO did right or wrong with regard to this particular patent ... under the law.

Again, if you do not like the law as it is, change it.

Besides, it won't kill their competitors, especially if they're smart enough to just wait out the patent's expiration in 15-20 years.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
From a post on Gaming Report:
http://www.gamingreport.com/article.php?sid=23665&mode=nested&order=0&thold=0#10035

ab130 said:
2002 - Wizards designs, but never releases, a game called "Punchbots"

2002 - Wizards files a patent application on constructible strategy games based on Punchbots

Fall 2003 - WOTC R&D Design Lead Mike Selinker leaves Wizards of the Coast and begins designign a new game for WizKids

March 2004 (GTS '04) - WizKids announces it is publishing a revolutionary new Mike Selinker game called "Pirates of the Spanish Main", the first in a "new" category called "constructible strategy games"

May 2004 - Wizards of the Coast sends a cease & desist letter to WizKids warning them not to publish POTSM

July 2004 - WizKids publishes POTSM

If correct, it's an interesting perspective on it.

Cheers!
 

Glyfair

Explorer
ab130 said:
May 2004 - Wizards of the Coast sends a cease & desist letter to WizKids warning them not to publish POTSM

The quote from the article doesn't make this seem to be a cease and desist letter. It's more of a "we expect to have a patent on this, when it goes through expect to negotiate".
 
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MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
Glyfair said:
The quote from the article doesn't make this seem to be a cease and desist letter. It's more of a "we expect to have a patent on this, when it goes through expect to negotiate".

Could you please change the attribution - I didn't say that, a poster on gaming report did.

Cheers!
 

S'mon

Legend
Ranger REG said:
Then the court will decide if USPTO did right or wrong with regard to this particular patent ... under the law.

Again, if you do not like the law as it is, change it.

It's not my law - I'm British, and the UK Patents Office has a policy of actually examing patents properly before granting them, and we don't (in principle) give patents for any old rubbish either. The USPTO is notorious worldwide for its lax approach to patent grants, although AFAIK this is a relatively recent development, a result of a policy shift about 20 years ago. It's a bit annoying as in today's globalised environment the devalued US approach to patenting may well force the rest of the world to relax patent standards, this has already happened de facto with software patents to some extent.
 

Ranger REG

Explorer
S'mon said:
It's not my law - I'm British, and the UK Patents Office has a policy of actually examing patents properly before granting them, and we don't (in principle) give patents for any old rubbish either. The USPTO is notorious worldwide for its lax approach to patent grants, although AFAIK this is a relatively recent development, a result of a policy shift about 20 years ago. It's a bit annoying as in today's globalised environment the devalued US approach to patenting may well force the rest of the world to relax patent standards, this has already happened de facto with software patents to some extent.
The rest of the world? I don't believe China have an intellectual property law and if they do, they hardly enforce on all qualified material distributed inside their country. Correct me if I'm wrong.

But hey, that's what the court system is for, to interpret the law. WotC was awarded the patent but Wizkids challenge that claim. So, let's let the court decide who is right, just as much as YOUR court decided that the author of The Da Vinci Code did not plagiarize someone else's works. (And if you think YOUR court decided wrong, then you change your country's law on IP.)

:]
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
The quote from the article doesn't make this seem to be a cease and desist letter. It's more of a "we expect to have a patent on this, when it goes through expect to negotiate".

And either way works.

If it was a cease & desist letter, its just further evidence in a potential lawsuit.

If its the latter, it will get worked out either by negotiation or lawsuit.
The rest of the world? I don't believe China have an intellectual property law and if they do, they hardly enforce on all qualified material distributed inside their country. Correct me if I'm wrong.

They do have some intellectual property laws, but enforcement is rather arbitrary (and more than likely, linked to a combination of political favoritism and bribery). However, that is beginning to change, since lax enforcement is causing problems in the development of home-grown Chinese IP. It seems the pirates don't seem to care if the IP they infringe upon is American or Chinese. Sometimes, the pirates even operate out of the same factories that produce the licensed materials.

Ditto Russia.
 

Ranger REG

Explorer
Dannyalcatraz said:
They do have some intellectual property laws, but enforcement is rather arbitrary (and more than likely, linked to a combination of political favoritism and bribery).
IOW, arbitrary = selective.

Dannyalcatraz said:
However, that is beginning to change, since lax enforcement is causing problems in the development of home-grown Chinese IP. It seems the pirates don't seem to care if the IP they infringe upon is American or Chinese. Sometimes, the pirates even operate out of the same factories that produce the licensed materials.

Ditto Russia.
Heh. They should have made them privateers and make them attack only foreign IPs. :]
 



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