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Government Says New Card Games Unpatentable Unless You Invented A New Deck

Gamble On New Blackjack Game Doesn't Pan Out For Inventors

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A federal circuit court ruling earlier this month said that you will have a very difficult time being able to get a patent on a new card game using the standard 52-playing card deck.

Two individuals were trying to get a patent on a new way of dealing and playing blackjack, but the court found it to be a “patent-ineligible abstract idea,” according to an article from Dennis Crouch, a professor at the University of Missouri School of Law. The ruling could have a far-reaching impact in the games industry.

Though Ray and Amanda Smith failed to get their patent, the court did say that some card games are potentially patentable. It would likely take “a new or original deck of cards” to make that possible, rather than simply changing the rules to an old game, regardless of how novel.

Another way of looking at is that shuffling and dealing a standard deck of cards are “purely conventional” activities, and thus not patent eligible, according to Crouch.

As an analysis on lexology.com pointed out, “a standard deck with some non-generic component, like a player-supplied token,” might help win protection.

“The ruling is not helpful for those seeking to patent card games,” wrote the law firm Pillsbury, because “the risk for inventions built around standard decks is certainly elevated.”