I've only started playing my game for the day, and I've determined an early winner:
U.S. Patent No.
Method of playing card games comprising saying the alphabet with words, saying words with words, and saying the alphabet with words while saying words with words
Filed: October 1, 2008
Inventor: Timothy Joiner
1. A method of playing a card game by a plurality of players; comprising
(a) providing a deck of 52 playing cards; each card having an identical identifying design on the back side, wherein 31 of the 52 cards are letter cards having one specific letter from the alphabet marked on the face side such that the five vowels A, E, I, O, and U are marked on two of the cards and each of the other letters of the alphabet is marked on one card, and 21 cards are wild cards, such that 3 cards are marked as a single letter wild card; 15 cards are marked as single letter or multiple letter wild cards and 3 cards are marked as 2 times the same letter or more wild cards;
(b) shuffling and stacking the deck face down into one pile for use by a plurality of players;
(c) a player beginning their turn by removing the top card from the stack of face down cards, flipping it over face up and setting it down in a face up pile;
(d) when the face up card is one of the 31 letter cards the player must enunciate a word that pronounces the letter on the face up card as it is pronounced as an alphabet letter such that the player says an alphabet letter while saying a word;
(e) when the face up card is one of the 21 wild cards the player must enunciate a word the pronounces a letter as an alphabet letter per a specific requirement of the wild card;
(f) awarding points to the player upon successful enunciation of a word as follows: one point for the 31 lettered cards, one point for the 3 single letter wild cards; one point for each letter pronounced as an alphabet letter for the 15 single or multiple letter wild cards; two points for the first time plus one point for each additional time the same letter is pronounced as an alphabet letter for the 3 wild cards marked as 2 times the same letter or more;
(g) repeating steps (c)-(f) for each player in turn until all the cards in the face down pile have been played; and
(h) adding the total points of each player to determine a winner.
Commentary: See the spec for play examples. In theory, I have no problem with this claim from a Bilski perspective. (But see Homer J., "In theory, communism works. In theory....") There's no question the method is tied to the cards. And the cards are clearly "particular", i.e., they aren't "general purpose" cards, if that even matters. On the other hand, I can take a Sharpie to my old deck of Bicycles to mark them up as recited in step a). Perhaps throwing in that step would make this a clean transformation prong case. Maybe I'll try that tonight and play this with my kids -- modifying the game, of course, so as not to infringe. On the other hand, are the cards really necessary to play this? Why not have one player yell out a letter to challenge an opponent? Wouldn't that make using the cards insignificant post-solution activity? In theory...
The serious question, of course, is--if there was not a 101 problem before--does a 101 problem arise by encoding this game in software so that the "card" is virtual and flashes on the screen of a home computer (which also keeps track of score)? Your choices:
- card game passes machine prong; software implementation does not
- card game fails machine prong; software implementation passes
- both pass machine prong
- both fail machine prong
- it depends
- Pro se inventor (Surprised?)
- No Figures
- No accelerated exam needed for this app, which gestated for nine months before issuing
- Parent app was rejected for improper claim form, then abandoned.