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U.S. Patent No. 7,657,477: Gaming system providing simulated securities trading
Issued February 2, 2010, to SummaLP Applications, Inc.


Summary:

The ‘477 patent may be interesting to anyone who took a business course in college. The invention describes a game where the user can trade virtual stocks based on real-world market prices. Players have the option of either opening or closing a long position in the stock or opening or closing a short position in the stock. Based upon the decisions the user makes, a financial report is continuously updated and can be printed off and viewed at any time.  This invention allows a series of users (a class, for example) to join together and enter into the financial game competing against each other. The teacher, at the end of the year, can tally all the financial information to see who made the most profitable decisions.

Abstract:

A trading game allows players to engage in trading based on real-world prices of real-world securities. Simulated positions of real-world securities in player portfolios may be opened and closed in accordance with instructions provided by each player. The performance of each player may be tracked relative to an index. A tradescreen may be generated for displaying current financial information of a portfolio of a player and for entering hypothetical data to produce revised financial information. The hypothetical data may be submitted to update the portfolio of the player.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A method for operating a gaming system on a computer system having a server and at least one computer, the method comprising: opening and closing simulated positions of real world securities in simulated securities portfolios for a plurality of players in accordance with instructions provided by each of the plurality of players; tracking by the server or the at least one computer performances of the simulated securities portfolio of each of the plurality of players relative to one of 1) performances of the simulated securities portfolios of the other players, and 2) one or more of a securities index; maintaining a portfolio database in the server for the simulated securities portfolios for each of the plurality of players, wherein each simulated securities portfolio has current financial information associated with the respective simulated securities portfolio; receiving a request for a tradescreen from a requesting player of the plurality of players; and generating the tradescreen based on the portfolio database of the server for the requesting player for display on a computer of the requesting player, the tradescreen for displaying the current financial information for the simulated securities portfolio of the requesting player and for calculating and displaying revised financial information for the simulated securities portfolio of the requesting player, the tradescreen for entering proposed data comprising one of a proposed trade and a proposed transfer of the simulated positions of real world securities, the tradescreen for allowing the requesting player to determine if the proposed data entered into the tradescreen would produce one of a first type of result and a second type of result; providing an interface on the tradescreen for enabling the requesting player to submit the transaction corresponding to the proposed data entered into the tradescreen to update the portfolio database in the server with the revised financial information for the simulated securities portfolio of the requesting player in an event the requesting player determines that the proposed data would produce the first type of result; and updating the portfolio database in the server with the revised financial information for the simulated securities portfolio of the requesting player upon the requesting player submitting the transaction; wherein the revised financial information for the simulated securities portfolio of the requesting player is based on the proposed data entered into the tradescreen and the current financial information for the simulated securities portfolio of the requesting player.

Sweepstakes Patent Company, LLC v. Burns et al. and Mosely et al.
Southern District of Florida
Case Nos. 0-14-cv-62351 and 0-14-cv-62354 

In two new cases, plaintiff Sweepstakes Patent Company (SPC) accuses internet cafe service providers in Florida of infringing two patents, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,569,082 and 5,709,603. The complaint alleges that the internet cafes reward customers with contest entries for each purchase of access time, and that these contests infringe the '082 patent and '603 patent.

The '082 patent was filed April 6, 1995 and is generally directed to providing a player with a game piece having a destiny code. The player inputs the destiny code into a lottery game processor, and the processor provides the user with access to an interactive "lottery-type game." The processor determines whether the user wins or loses based in part on the destiny code. The user's actions may or may not influence whether the user wins, as well. The '603 patent is a continuation of the '082 and recites similar subject matter. Claim 10 of the '082 patent is referenced in the complaint and representative:
10. A lottery type game comprising:
a gaming piece, said gaming piece including a code which includes data indicating whether a player wins or loses the lottery game and an amusement game, said data being unrecognizable to the player, such that the player does not know whether the player will win or lose the games prior to play of the amusement game;
a processor for receiving said code input by the player prior to amusement game play;
said processor generating the amusement game on a display for play by the player,
said processor determining whether the player will win or lose the amusement game based upon said code; and
a display for providing an indication to the player of the amusement game win or loss based upon said code.
The complaint alleges that the defendants operate or provide software for internet cafes with a sweepstakes element. Users are provided with sweepstakes entries when they purchase internet access time (though no purchase is required).  A user may redeem their sweepstakes code on their terminal and be presented with a brief interactive game that lets the user know whether they have won in an exciting manner. According to the complaint, the outcome of the game (whether the user wins or loses) is determined based on the sweepstakes access code rather than just based on the way the user plays the game.

The sweepstakes revealers of Burns et al.'s system, according to the complaint.
It is worth noting that SPC tried to bring suit against Burns et al. earlier this year in the Middle District of Florida. The order dismissing that case revealed that inventor Kaye / SPC previously sold both patents to another company, Ingenio. As part of the transaction, Ingenio licensed the patents back to SPC. The license agreement stated that Ingenio, as licensor, must be notified of any potential patent infringement actions and must expressly provide written authorization prior to the licensee (SPC) bringing any such suit. SPC had not received written authorization in its first suit against Burns et al., and that case was dismissed in July 2014.

In the instant complaint, filed October 14, 2014, SPC alleges that is is the lawful assignee of all right, title and interest in and to the '082 patent and the '603 patent. An assignment from Ingenio to SPC was recorded with the USPTO on October 10, 2014. Thus, SPC seems to have corrected the problem with its earlier suit.

We'll provide further updates on any interesting developments in these cases.
RC3, Inc. v Bieber
Florida Middle District Court, No. 3:2012cv00193


Florida based game developer RC3 created a game, Joustin’ Beaver, in which a beaver that jousts must navigate the whirlpool of success, sign otter-graphs, and avoid the phot-hogs. Justin Bieber’s representatives did not appreciate the similarities in both name and appearance between the title character and Bieber and, in early February 2012, sent RC3 a cease and desist letter threatening legal action for the use of Bieber’s likeness in game. In response, on February 24, 2012, RC3 filed suit, seeking declaratory judgment that their game was not infringing.

Finding lack of jurisdiction, as Bieber was not domiciled in the state of Florida and the suit was not influenced by Bieber’s actions within the state, the suit was dismissed on September 17, 2012.
U.S. Patent No. 7,670,220: Racing games and other games having garage, showroom, and test drive features
Issued March 2, 2010, to Microsoft


Summary:

The ‘220 patent describes a racing game where players enter a showroom filled with cars from which he can select one to race. The invention also lets the player take a test drive of a car before he commits to that car. The cars in the showroom are grouped by manufacturer to help a player locate a care more easily. By showcasing the cars in a garage and allowing the user to test drive the car before committing, the invention allows the user to select a car which matches his driving style closely and thus makes the game more enjoyable for the user.

Abstract:

Racing games and other computer-implemented games having garage, showroom and test drive features are disclosed herein. In one embodiment, a method for implementing a racing game in accordance with one embodiment of the invention includes displaying a plurality of cars in a simulated showroom setting. Game players can roam freely about the showroom in first-person mode and inspect the cars in close detail. If a player desires, he or she can test drive one or more of the cars to assess its performance before competing in a racing event with the car.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A computer-implemented method for selecting a car in a racing game, the racing game including a race portion, the method comprising: viewing a plurality of different cars in a showroom setting, wherein the plurality of different cars may be viewed simultaneously; selecting a first car of the plurality of different cars for a test drive, wherein the first car has not been purchased, and wherein the first car may not be used to race until it has been purchased; test driving the first car; and competing in the race portion of the racing game with at least one of the first car or a second car of the plurality of different cars.

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