Title:
Game piece and method of using the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A game piece includes symbol identification areas, symbol definition areas, and a first symbol area. Each symbol identification area visually identifies a unique symbol, each symbol definition area is visually proximate to a corresponding symbol identification area and wherein each symbol definition area defines a prize that is represented by the symbol visually identified in the corresponding symbol identification area, and the first symbol area includes a visually concealed symbol. The visually concealed symbol is provided as a symbol that is visually identified in at least one of the symbol identification areas.



Inventors:
Smith, Thomas W. (Paso Robles, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/187215
Publication Date:
01/25/2007
Filing Date:
07/22/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/139
International Classes:
A63B71/00; A63F1/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COLLINS, DOLORES R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SINSHEIMER JUHNKE LEBENS & MCIVOR, LLP (1010 PEACH STREET, P.O. BOX 31, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA, 93406, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A game piece, comprising: a plurality of symbol identification areas, wherein each symbol identification area visually identifies a unique symbol; a plurality of symbol definition areas, wherein each symbol definition area is visually proximate to a corresponding symbol identification area and wherein each symbol definition area defines a prize that is represented by the symbol visually identified in the corresponding symbol identification area; and a first symbol area including a visually concealed symbol, wherein the visually concealed symbol is provided as a symbol visually identified in at least one of the plurality of symbol identification areas.

2. The game piece of claim 1, wherein the prize defined within each symbol definition area includes an entirety of at least one of a particular good or service that the sponsor is engaged in selling.

3. The game piece of claim 1, wherein each symbol definition area identifies how to exchange the game piece for the prize that is represented by the symbol visually identified in the corresponding symbol identification area.

4. The game piece of claim 1, wherein each symbol definition area further identifies a sponsor providing the prize that is represented by the symbol visually identified in the corresponding symbol identification area.

5. The game piece of claim 4, wherein each symbol definition area further identifies the sponsor by name.

6. The game piece of claim 4, wherein each symbol definition area further identifies the sponsor by address.

7. The game piece of claim 1, wherein the monetary value of each prize defined within the plurality of symbol definition areas is equal to or greater than a purchase price of the game piece.

8. The game piece of claim 1, wherein the monetary value of each prize is fixed.

9. The game piece of claim 1, further comprising a second symbol area including a symbol associated with a prize having a monetary value greater than or equal to the monetary value of each prize defined within the plurality of symbol definition areas.

10. The game piece of claim 9, wherein the symbol within the second symbol area is visually unconcealed.

11. The game piece of claim 9, wherein the symbol within the second symbol area is visually unconcealable.

12. The game piece of claim 9, wherein the first symbol area is detachably coupled to the first symbol area.

13. A method of producing game pieces, comprising: receiving, from at least one sponsor, at least one offer to provide at least one prize that is exchangeable for at least one game piece defining a plurality of prizes; and producing at least one game piece, wherein the at least one game piece includes: a plurality of symbol identification areas, wherein each symbol identification area visually identifies a unique symbol; a plurality of symbol definition areas, wherein each symbol definition area is visually proximate to a corresponding symbol identification area and wherein each symbol definition area defines a prize offered by a sponsor and represented by the symbol visually identified in the corresponding symbol identification area; and a first symbol area including a visually concealed symbol, wherein the visually concealed symbol is provided as a symbol visually identified in at least one of the plurality of symbol identification areas.

14. The method of producing game pieces of claim 13, wherein the monetary value of each prize defined within the plurality of symbol definition areas is equal to or greater than a purchase price of the game piece.

15. The method of producing game pieces of claim 13, wherein the offer to provide at least one prize includes an offer to provide an entirety of at least one of a particular good or service that the sponsor is engaged in selling.

16. A method of advertising, comprising: receiving, from at least one sponsor, at least one offer to provide at least one prize that is exchangeable for at least one game piece defining a plurality of prizes; producing at least one game piece, wherein the at least one game piece includes: a plurality of symbol identification areas, wherein each symbol identification area visually identifies a unique symbol; a plurality of symbol definition areas, wherein each symbol definition area is visually proximate to a corresponding symbol identification area and wherein each symbol definition area defines a prize offered by a sponsor and represented by the symbol visually identified in the corresponding symbol identification area; and a first symbol area including a visually concealed symbol, wherein the visually concealed symbol is provided as a symbol visually identified in at least one of the plurality of symbol identification areas; and selling the at least one game piece for a purchase price.

17. The method of advertising of claim 16, wherein the monetary value of each prize defined within the plurality of symbol definition areas is equal to or greater than the purchase price of the game piece.

18. The method of advertising of claim 16, wherein the offer to provide at least one prize includes an offer to provide an entirety of at least one of a particular good or service that the sponsor is engaged in selling.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The principles of the present invention relate to games of chance.

2. Discussion of the Related Art

One form of advertising campaign that has been used to attract customers to stores revolves around the use of game pieces in certain games of chance. Stores often distribute game pieces to their customers with the goal of increasing sales by attracting more or repeat customers. The game pieces sometimes provide an instant prize and may include a portion that is combined with other game pieces to redeem a different prize.

One type of game piece includes a perforated cover that conceals a hidden prize. To play the game, the player removes the cover to reveal the prize and exchanges the game piece for the prize. Another type of game piece includes a scratch-off cover that conceals a selection of potential prizes. Accordingly, the player exposes a prize by scratching-off the cover with a coin, fingernail, etc.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An embodiment of the present invention generally provides game piece including symbol identification areas, symbol definition areas, and a first symbol area. Each symbol identification area visually identifies a unique symbol, each symbol definition area is visually proximate to a corresponding symbol identification area and wherein each symbol definition area defines a prize that is represented by the symbol visually identified in the corresponding symbol identification area, and the first symbol area includes a visually concealed symbol. The visually concealed symbol is provided as a symbol that is visually identified in at least one of the symbol identification areas.

Another embodiment of the present invention generally provides a method of producing game pieces including receiving, from at least one sponsor, at least one offer to provide at least one prize that is exchangeable for at least one game piece defining a plurality of prizes; and producing at least one game piece as described in the preceding paragraph.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other aspects, features and advantages of several embodiments of the present invention will be more apparent from the following more particular description thereof, presented in conjunction with the following drawings.

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate first and second portions of a game piece in accordance with a first aspect of the present invention; and

FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate first and second portions of a game piece in accordance with a second aspect of the present invention.

Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding components throughout the several views of the drawings. Skilled artisans will appreciate that elements in the figures are illustrated for simplicity and clarity and have not necessarily been drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions of some of the elements in the figures may be exaggerated relative to other elements to help to improve understanding of various embodiments of the present invention. Also, common but well-understood elements that are useful or necessary in a commercially feasible embodiment are often not depicted in order to facilitate a less obstructed view of these various embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of describing the general principles of exemplary embodiments. The scope of the invention should be determined with reference to the claims.

The principles of the present invention provide a method and system of implementing advertising campaigns, fundraising campaigns (e.g., for nonprofit, political and/or charitable purposes) and the like, using game pieces. Game pieces such as those described below may be purchased from a game piece distributor for a predetermined amount of money. Individual game pieces may be provided in substantially any size, shape, design, etc., and in any denomination. Prizes that may be won with an individual game piece may be provided by one or more sponsors (e.g., a commercial establishment) and may have a fixed monetary value. The purchase price of an individual ticket may be less than or equal to the monetary value of any prize that may be won with the game piece.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a game piece 10 in accordance with a first aspect the present invention includes first and second portions 20 and 30, respectively. In one embodiment, the first and second portions 20 and 30 are provided as opposing surfaces of a single ticket.

A first symbol area 22 in which a symbol (e.g., one or more numbers, letters, pictures, or the like, or combinations thereof) may be arranged within the first portion 20 (e.g., printed on a surface of the ticket) and visually concealed with a removable concealer. In one embodiment, the removable concealer may include an opaque structure (e.g., latex material, pull tabs formed of plastic, paper, etc.), a structure containing patterned translucent/transparent areas, or the like, or combinations thereof. In one embodiment, the symbol within the first symbol area 22 may be visually concealed by the concealer when a user purchases the game piece from the game piece manufacturer/distributor.

The second portion 30 may include a plurality of symbol identification areas 32a to 32n and corresponding symbol description areas 34a to 34n visually proximate thereto. A symbol (e.g., one or more numbers, letters, pictures, or the like, or combinations thereof) may be arranged within each symbol identification area 32a to 32n (e.g., printed on a surface of the ticket). In one embodiment, each symbol identification area 32a to 32n visually identifies a unique symbol. Each symbol definition area 34a to 34n defines a particular prize that is represented by the symbol visually identified by the corresponding symbol identification area 32a to 32n. Particular prizes defined within the symbol definition areas 34a to 34n may, for example, include goods and/or services that the sponsor is engaged in selling. In one embodiment, the particular prizes defined within the symbol definition areas 34a to 34n may include an entirety of a particular good and/or service that the sponsor is engaged in selling. For example, the particular prize may consist of an oil change service, a watermelon, installation of carpet, or the like, rather than 20% off the cost of an oil change service, a watermelon, or installation of carpet.

The user may reveal the symbol concealed within the first symbol area 22 by removing the removable concealer (e.g., by scratching the latex material, removing the pull-tabs, etc.). Once revealed, the user may visually inspect the symbol and compare the revealed symbol with symbols arranged within the symbol identification areas 32a to 32n. When the user identifies the revealed symbol as a symbol arranged within at least one of the symbol identification areas 32a to 32n, the user may exchange the game piece 10 for the particular prize(s) defined within the corresponding symbol definition area(s) 34a to 34n.

In one embodiment, the symbol arranged within the first symbol area 22 can always be identified as a symbol arranged within at least one of the symbol identification areas 32a to 32n. Accordingly, the game piece 10 can always be exchanged for a prize. In another embodiment, the symbol arranged within the first symbol area 22 may be randomly selected from among the symbols arranged within the symbol identification areas 32a to 32n. Accordingly, the user of game piece 10 is prevented from knowing exactly which prize the game piece 10 can be exchanged for until the symbol arranged within the first symbol area is revealed.

Each symbol identification area 34a to 34n may further identify the sponsor providing the particular prize. In one embodiment, sponsors may be identified via name, address, phone number, web address, or the like, or combinations thereof. In another embodiment, each symbol identification area 34a to 34n may further identify how the game piece 10 can be exchanged for the particular prize (e.g., a symbol identification area may identify that the game piece 10 can be exchanged for the particular prize by physically bringing the game piece 10 to the sponsor's place of business).

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, a game piece 10′ in accordance with a second aspect of the present invention may, for example, include a lower game piece portion 12 and an upper game piece portion 14. In one embodiment, the lower and upper game piece portions 12 and 14 detachably coupled to each other via, for example, perforations 16 formed within the game piece 10′.

As shown, the first and second portion 20 and 30 of the lower game piece portion 12 are essentially provided as the game piece 10 described above with respect to FIGS. 1 and 2. The first portion 20 of the upper game piece portion 14, however, may include a second symbol area 24 in which a symbol (e.g., provided as one or more numbers, letters, pictures, or the like, or combinations thereof) is arranged within the first portion 20 (e.g., printed on a surface of the ticket). The symbol within the second symbol area 24 may be randomly selected from a plurality of symbols included within a predetermined symbol set. Moreover, one or more symbols within the symbol set, predetermined or otherwise, may correspond to one or more particular prizes.

In one embodiment, the symbol arranged within the second symbol area 24 may be visually concealed with a removable concealer. In one embodiment, the removable concealer may include an opaque structure (e.g., latex material, pull tabs formed of plastic, paper, etc.), a structure containing translucent/transparent areas, or the like, or combinations thereof. In another embodiment, the symbol arranged within the second symbol area 24 may not be visually concealed.

The second portion 30 of the upper game piece portion 14 may include a legend area 36 defining one or more particular prizes that are represented by one or more symbols within the predetermined symbol set. When the symbol included within the second symbol area 24 is identified as representing one or more particular prizes (e.g., via the legend area 36, the announced results of a raffle, etc.), the upper game piece portion 14 may be exchanged for the particular prize(s) defined within the legend area 36. In one embodiment of the present invention, the monetary value of the one or more particular prizes associated with symbols arranged within the second symbol area 24 may be greater than or equal to the monetary value of prizes associated with symbols arranged within the first symbol area 22.

While the principles and embodiments herein disclosed has been described by means of specific embodiments, examples and applications thereof, numerous modifications and variations could be made thereto by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention set forth in the claims. For example, although the term “game piece” is used in the embodiments described above as referring to a physical ticket having surfaces, the principles of the present invention may be readily extended to game pieces embodied within various virtual environments (e.g., video displays, computer networks such as the Internet, World Wide Web and Intranets, and the like). Virtually embodied, visually concealed symbols arranged within the first and/or second symbol areas may be represented by driving a display to show darkened or scrambled regions, or the like, or combinations thereof. Visually unconcealed symbols arranged within the first and/or second symbol areas may be represented by driving a display to simply show the symbol.