Title:
ONLINE RACING SYSTEM USING ELECTRONIC TRADING CARDS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A game system is presented. The system includes a plurality of cards, each card being associated a game feature, and a scanner configured to scan information from the cards. The processor is operable to associate a first card with a first player upon the first player causing the first card to be scanned, associate the first card with a first game feature, display a representation of the first game feature on a first display area associated with the first player, enable the first player to access the first game feature, reassociate the first card with a second player upon the second player causing the first card to be scanned, display the representation of the first game feature on a second display area associated with the second player and enable the second player to access the first game feature.



Inventors:
Gatzios, Peter (Toronto, CA)
Application Number:
11/739481
Publication Date:
10/30/2008
Filing Date:
04/24/2007
Assignee:
Spin Master Ltd. (Toronto, CA)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F1/00
View Patent Images:
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20060261551Fantasy baseball board gameNovember, 2006Laporte
20090295086SPORTING EVENT GAME APPARATUSDecember, 2009Needle et al.
20080197564SOCCER GAME TABLEAugust, 2008Tsai et al.
20070218983Progressive gaming systems and methodsSeptember, 2007Lombardo
20050082761Target game with rungsApril, 2005Lynch
20080301067REALITY GAME SHOWDecember, 2008Corn
20080073851Interactive question and answer dream gameMarch, 2008Myers
20060220317Trading Card Game using Historical Figures from World HistoryOctober, 2006Edwards



Primary Examiner:
PIERCE, DAMON JOSEPH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
K&L Gates LLP-Chicago (P.O. BOX 1135, CHICAGO, IL, 60690, US)
Claims:
The invention is claimed as follows:

1. A game system comprising: a plurality of cards, each card being associated with one or more of a plurality of game features; a scanner configured to scan information associated with one or more of the plurality of cards; a processor operable to associate a first card of the plurality of cards with a first player upon the first player causing the first card to be scanned by the scanner, associate the first card with at least a first game feature of the plurality of game features based on first information scanned from the first card by the scanner, display a representation of the first game feature on a first display area associated with the first player, enable the first player to access the first game feature, reassociate the first card with a second player upon the second player causing the first card to be scanned, reassociating the first card including unassociating the first card from the first player, display the representation of the first game feature on a second display area associated with the second player, and enable the second player to access the first game feature.

2. The game system of claim 1, wherein the processor is further operable to remove the representation from the first display area upon the first player being unassociated from the first card.

3. The game system of claim 1, wherein the processor is further operable to disable the first player from accessing the first game feature upon the first player being unassociated from the first card.

4. The game system of claim 1, wherein the processor is operable to prompt the first player to rescan the first card.

5. The game system of claim 4, wherein the processor is operable to prompt the first player to rescan the first card periodically.

6. The game system of claim 4, wherein the processor is operable to prompt the first player to rescan the first card upon the first game feature becoming inoperable or less operable due to game play.

7. The game system of claim 1, wherein the first card includes a barcode area on one side of the first card, the barcode area including a barcode that specifically identifies the first card, and wherein the first card includes an anti-counterfeiting measure.

8. The game system of claim 1, wherein the first card includes a first barcode area located on a first side of the first card and a second barcode area located on the second side of the first card, the first barcode area including a first barcode, the second barcode area including a second barcode, and the first and second barcodes, combined, specifically identifying the first card.

9. The game system of claim 1, wherein unassociating the first card from the first player includes requiring the first user to rescan the first card to prevent being unassociated.

10. The game system of claim 1, wherein unassociating the first card from the first player includes maintaining a record of scannings of the first information, determining a number of the plurality of cards that are associated with the first information, and unassociating the first player if that number of other players have scanned cards associated with the first information more recently than the first player.

11. The game system of claim 1, wherein the processor is further operable to associate the first card with a second game feature of the plurality of game features, display a representation of the second game feature on the first display area, enable the first player to access the second game feature, display the representation of the second game feature on the second display area, enable the second player to access the second game feature, remove the representation of the second game feature from the first display area upon the first player being unassociated from the first card, and disable the first player from accessing the second game feature upon the first player being unassociated from the first card.

12. A method of operating a game system comprising: providing a plurality of cards, each card being associated with one or more of a plurality of game features; providing a scanner configured to scan information associated with one or more of the plurality of cards; associating a first card of the plurality of cards with a first player upon the first player causing the first card to be scanned by the scanner; associating the first card with at least a first game feature of the plurality of game features based on first information scanned from the first card by the scanner; displaying a representation of the first game feature on a first display area associated with the first player; enabling the first player to access the first game feature; reassociating the first card with a second player upon the second player causing the first card to be scanned, reassociating the first card including unassociating the first card from the first player; displaying the representation of the first game feature on a second display area associated with the second player; and enabling the second player to access the first game feature.

13. The method of claim 12, further comprising: removing the representation from the first display area upon the first player being unassociated from the first card.

14. The method of claim 12, further comprising: disabling the first player from accessing the first game feature upon the first player being unassociated from the first card.

15. The method of claim 12, further comprising: prompting the first player to rescan the first card.

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising: prompting the first player to rescan the first card periodically.

17. The method of claim 15, further comprising: prompting the first player to rescan the first card upon the first game feature becoming inoperable or less operable due to game play.

18. The method of claim 12, wherein the first card includes a barcode area on a first side of the first card, the barcode area including a barcode that specifically identifies the first card, and wherein the first card includes an anti-counterfeiting measure.

19. The method of claim 12, wherein the first card includes a first barcode area located on a first side of the first card and a second barcode area located on the second side of the first card, the first barcode area including a first barcode, the second barcode area including a second barcode, and the first and second barcodes, combined, specifically identifying the first card.

20. The method of claim 12, wherein unassociating the first card from the first player includes requiring the first user to rescan the first card to prevent being unassociated.

21. The method of claim 12, wherein unassociating the first card from the first player includes maintaining a record of scannings of the first information, determining a number of the plurality of cards that are associated with the first information, and unassociating the first player if that number of other players have scanned cards associated with the first information more recently than the first player.

22. The method of claim 12, further comprising: associating the first card with a second game feature of the plurality of game features, displaying a representation of the second game feature on the first display area, enabling the first player to access the second game feature, displaying the representation of the second game feature on the second display area, enabling the second player to access the second game feature, removing the representation of the second game feature from the first display area upon the first player being unassociated from the first card, and disabling the first player from accessing the second game feature upon the first player being unassociated from the first card.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Trading cards such as those depicting an image of and information about a sports figure have a long history. Typically such cards are sold in packets of one or more cards, perhaps along with some other item such as gum. Also, the cards in the packet are typically a random selection of the available cards, perhaps with some cards being rarer, and thus potentially more valuable, than other cards. A collector desiring to own at least one of each of the entire set of cards can either continue buying packets in the hopes that the cards needed will be included or the collector can trade with other card holders or even purchase cards from other collectors.

Trading cards that are also game pieces became popular in the 1990's. Such trading cards include Magic the Gathering, Illuminatti, Star Wars and many other card games in which a player/collector forms a deck of cards by buying packets of cards similar to the sports cards described above, trading cards with other players or purchasing cards from other players. Such trading card games added to the enjoyment of collecting trading cards.

SUMMARY

In various embodiments, methods and systems are presented. In one embodiment, a game system includes a plurality of cards, each card being associated with one of a plurality of game features. The system also includes a scanner configured to scan information associated with one or more of the plurality of cards and a processor. The processor is operable to associate a first card of the plurality of cards with a first player upon the first player causing the first card to be scanned by the scanner and to associate the first card with a first game feature of the plurality of game features based on first information scanned from the first card by the scanner. The processor is also operable to display a representation of the first game feature on a first display area associated with the first player and enable the first player to access the first game feature. The processor is further operable to reassociate the first card with a second player upon the second player causing the first card to be scanned, reassociating the first card including unassociating the first card from the first player. The processor is also operable to display the representation of the first game feature on a second display area associated with the second player and to enable the second player to access the first game feature.

In one embodiment, the processor is further operable to remove the representation from the first display area upon the first player being unassociated from the first card. In another embodiment, the processor is further operable to disable the first player from accessing the first game feature upon the first player being unassociated from the first card. In still another embodiment, the processor is operable to prompt the first player to rescan the first card. In one embodiment, the processor is operable to prompt the first player to rescan the first card periodically. In another embodiment, the processor is operable to prompt the first player to rescan the first card upon the first game feature becoming inoperable or less operable due to game play.

In one embodiment, the first card includes a barcode area, the barcode area including a barcode that specifically identifies the first card. In another embodiment, the first card includes a first barcode area located on a first side of the first card and a second barcode area located on the second side of the first card, the first barcode area including a first barcode, the second barcode area including a second barcode, and the first and second barcodes, combined, specifically identifying the first card.

In one embodiment, unassociating the first card from the first player includes requiring the first user to rescan the first card to prevent being unassociated. In another embodiment, unassociating the first card from the first player includes maintaining a record of scannings of the first information, determining a number of the plurality of cards that are associated with the first information, and unassociating the first player if that number of other players have scanned cards associated with the first information more recently than the first player.

Additional features and advantages are described herein, and will be apparent from, the following Detailed Description and the figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a trading card based electronic gaming system in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 2A is a block diagram of a front side of a trading card in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 2B is a block diagram of a back side of a trading card in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 3 is a flow diagram of a process of trading a virtual game feature by trading a physical card in accordance with one embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In one embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-2B, a trading card system 100 is provided, in which trading physical cards 102 are associated with trading virtual items in an electronic game. A player is able to indicate to the electronic game (e.g., by scanning a barcode or other code on a card, by reading a magnetic strip on a card or by any other suitable mechanism for reading information off of a card) that the user possesses a card. As a result, the user is able to access or use one or more virtual items or other game features associated with the card. Further, if a card 102 is traded to another user and that other user indicates possessing the card 102 to the electronic game, the trading card system 100 includes a mechanism which prevents the user who traded away the card from continuing to access the virtual items or other game features.

In various embodiments, users acquire physical trading cards 102 individually and/or in packs by purchasing, trading, winning in a contest (e.g., a game played between two users) or in any other suitable manner. In one embodiment, a starter pack includes the scanning device (or a scanner) 104 configured to read information on the card and input the information into the electronic game being played on an electronic device 106. The scanner 104 preferably communicates with the electronic device 106 via a USB port; however, the scanner 104 can communicate with the electronic device 106 in via any suitable wired or wireless communications mechanism. In another embodiment, such a scanning device 104 is not included in a starter pack.

In one embodiment, the set (or deck) of trading cards includes a plurality of categories of cards 102; however, in various embodiments, such categories are not required. For example, the deck of cards 102 can include main item cards (e.g., a car body, a house, a space ship, a robot, etc.), accessory cards and tuning cards. Further, in one embodiment, the electronic game is a virtual car racing game. The main item cards are various types of racing or other car bodies. The accessory cards include accessories that can be added to a car body. The accessories can affect the performance of the car body in a race or can be merely cosmetic. The tuning cards include cards that further adjust the performance of the car body and/or the accessories. For example, turning cards can represent pit crew adjustments to tires, track conditions or any other suitable conditions. In one embodiment, the starter pack includes a car card, four accessory cards and one tuner card; however, starter packs in various other embodiments can have any suitable number of any suitable types of cards, including but not limited to garage cards, race cards or any other suitable type of card. Further, various embodiments do not include a starter pack. In various other embodiments, booster packs are available which have any suitable number of cards of any suitable type or category. Booster packs preferably have no scanner; however, a scanner can be sold with or included with a booster pack.

In one embodiment in which the electronic game is a racing game, the deck of cards 102 includes 144 types of cards, of which 6 are car cards; however, it should be understood that in various other embodiments a deck of cards can be any suitable size and can include any suitable number of any suitable types of cards. In this embodiment, cars are generic go carts; however, in various other embodiments, cars can have any suitable design and can be modeled after or associated with real car types or can be generic cars, generic race cars, generic vehicles or any other suitable raceable devices. Further, in various embodiments, different car cards are associated with car bodies having different characteristics; however, in other embodiments, differences between car cards are merely cosmetic or relate merely to which accessory or other types of cards are compatible for use with the car card.

Preferably, card types have non-uniform frequency (i.e., some could be rarer than others); however, card types can have any suitable uniform or non-uniform frequency. In various embodiments, each card 102 is assigned a serial number (or identifier) so that the cards are specifically identifiable; however, in other embodiments, some or all of the cards are not specifically identifiable. In one embodiment, that serial number has three fields. The first field 108 is the game number (1 for a car racing game, 2 for a dollhouse game, etc.). The second field 110 is the card number from the deck (e.g., 1 through 144 corresponding to 144 different types of cards in the deck). The third field 112 is a number 1 to a suitable maximum number of cards of that type (e.g., a million). Two different cards may share the same numbers in two fields; however, the three fields combined specifically identify a particular card. It should be understood that other embodiments can have other numbers and types of fields, the fields relating to any suitable aspect of the cards or game and having any suitable values or ranges of values.

In the embodiment, the first 108 and second fields 10 are on one side of a card and the third field 112 is on the other side. Preferably, the system 100 requires both sides to be scanned substantially simultaneously for a card 102 to be validly read; however, such substantial simultaneous scanning is not required. Further, it should be understood that in various embodiments, the cards can have any suitable number of encoded fields located in any suitable locations on any suitable number (e.g., one or two) of sides of the cards.

As described above, cards 102 are preferably associated with a main item (e.g., a car or a house), an accessory for a main item (e.g., a spoiler or a hot tub), or a modifier (e.g., tuner card). Preferably, each pack (starter or booster) includes one card associated with a randomly selected main item; however, neither starter nor booster packs are required to include one of any type of card 102.

In one embodiment, the electronic game is an auto racing game that can be played for free online with limited functionality. Typically, a player playing without the benefit of a scanner and cards will lose because the car used in the free play mode is slow and/or performs poorly. As a result, a player is encourage to register with the system and purchase packs of cards to have a faster, tuned car in the game.

Preferably, a player visits a website associated with the electronic game, obtains a user ID, participates in driving training and earns license to proceed further in the electronic game. However, it should be noted that such a website and any individual features of such a website are not required.

Further, preferably code is downloaded (e.g., from online, from a storage device on the scanner 104, from any other suitable storage device, etc.) to the player's computer to enable the player to play the game; however, such downloading of code is not required in various embodiments. As a player scans in (swipes, reads, etc.) cards 102, the player gains access to a virtual item or other game feature associated with the card. For example, when a player swipes car card in the scanner (reader) 104, a virtual car associated with the card is placed in the player's virtual garage. Preferably, some or all of the other players in the game are able to see the player's car and/or any other suitable scanned in game features in the garage and/or any other suitable virtual location; however, it is not required for players to be able to view each other's virtual items or other game features. In various embodiments, some game features persist for multiple races after being scanned in (e.g., a car scanned in from a card is stored in a garage). In various other embodiments, some game features persist for a limited period (e.g., one race) after being scanned in.

In one embodiment, virtual races are substantially ongoing (i.e., multiple races can be in progress or pending at any one time). A player can preferably join any race; however, in various embodiments, one or more races can require possession of a type of card associated with that race, can require the player to reach a level of progress in the game (e.g., a number or race wins at some previous level), and/or can require invitation from another player. Before or after registering to participate in a race (e.g., by selecting the race, by scanning in a card associate with the race, or by accepting an invitation to the race), a player can check current conditions for the race and prepare a car for the race by selecting the car to use, adding on any modifiers desired (e.g., types of tires or spoilers) and applying tuning cards (e.g., weaponry, shields, etc.) as desired. Preferably, races last a few minutes; however, races can have any suitable duration an can involve any suitable number of laps of any suitable track. Because players can modify their cars using their card collections, a player's performance is based in part upon their skills at picking accessories/cars/tuning to match race conditions and not merely upon how long they've played the game. Further, in various embodiments, players are able to view other player's modifications before the race starts and make adjustments accordingly, if desired.

Preferably, a player can ready a car for a race by dragging and dropping virtual items from the player's garage (i.e., the player's inventory display); however, in various embodiments, a player prepares for a race by scanning in the virtual items to be used in that race or by any other suitable item selection process. Further, preferably, a player can see other cars and their tuning (weaponry, shields, etc.) during the race as well as before the race so the player can retune and adjust to the other racers; however, it is not required to make other players' cars or tuning visible to a player before or during a race. Preferably, the player can view the game from a third person or rear view perspective but not a first person perspective; however, in various embodiments, the player can view the game in a first person perspective or any other suitable perspective.

In one embodiment, the system 100 includes advertisements. For example, an ad can be displayed upon startup, between races or at any other time during the game. The ad can take the form of a commercial displayed on some or all of the display of the electronic device 106. Alternatively, ads can be associated with virtual items. For example, a particular car, modifier or tuner can be associated with a sponsor, and a logo of that sponsor can be displayed when the virtual item is used in a race. Further, cards associated with the sponsored virtual item or game feature can be sold with or otherwise associated with the purchase of the sponsor's product (e.g., sending in the proof of purchase from a laundry soap or snack food results in a sponsored card being delivered to the player). Preferably, the system 100 collects information about the player during a registration process to prevent age-inappropriate ads from being displayed to that player and to demographically target other ads to that player; however, such demographic uses are not required.

In another embodiment, races can be sponsored (e.g., the Pepsi 500). To participate in the race, a player must buy or trade for a special card. Preferably, the card is sold with products of the sponsor (e.g., in a case of Pepsi for the Pepsi 500); however, the cards can be obtainable in any suitable manner.

In one embodiment, players can chat (e.g., predictive or controlled/censored chat or any other suitable type of chat). Preferably, a player's ability to chat is limited by the player's age or other demographic information; however, such a limitation is not required. In another embodiment, players can participate in a blog in which players discuss their card/race combination successes.

In one embodiment, players can watch races in which they are not participating. In another embodiment, events, competitions, or other suitable activities take place in which players can accumulate points and/or awards. In one embodiment, the points or awards can be used to access a virtual card which may or may not be available as a physical card and which may or may not have a limited number (e.g., one) of uses.

Preferably, cards are reusable (i.e., can be swiped multiple times); however, such reusability is not required. Further, preferably, once a card is swiped and in user's garage, there no need to re-swipe to race again; however, in various embodiments, a player is required to reswipe a card periodically or occasionally to continue using the card.

In one embodiment, the system 100 allows players to trade virtual items or game features by physically trading the cards associated with the items or features. In this embodiment, when a second player swipes a card, the virtual item or game feature becomes accessible by the second player and is displayed in the second player's garage. Preferably, the traded item or feature is no longer accessible by the first player immediately upon the second player swiping the card. The system greys out or otherwise removes the item from the first player's inventory. However, it is not required for the first player to immediately lose access to the item or feature upon a second player swiping the card. The first player can continue to have access until the player would be required by the game to reswipe (or rescan, reread, etc.) the card (e.g., due to the virtual item being damaged in a race, due to a periodic reswipe requirement, etc.), if desired.

FIG. 3 shows the process of trading a virtual item in accordance with one embodiment. At block 300, a first player obtains a card (e.g., by purchasing a pack, purchasing the card or trading for the card). At block 302, the first player scans the card into the game system, the virtual item associated with the card is displayed in the first player's garage and the first player has access to, the virtual item. At block 304, the first player transfers (e.g., gives, sells or trades to) the physical card to a second player. At block 306, the second player scans the card into the game system, the virtual item associated with the card is displayed in the second player's garage, the second player has access to the virtual item, the virtual item is removed from the first player's garage and the first player loses access to the virtual item.

Preferably, the cards 102 are not alterable. However, in various embodiments, the cards can include a storage medium (e.g., a magnetic strip or RFID storage area) upon which card information can be stored and altered. In one embodiment, information about the virtual item associated with a specific card (e.g., the item's ownership history, its use history, etc.) is maintained by the system and is viewable by one or more users. Preferably, this information is maintained at a server; however, the information can be maintained at any suitable location. Additional specific demographic info about cards, items, players, trading and their interactions can be collected and used to plan expansions to the game and/or deck of cards or to target advertisements or for any other suitable purpose.

Preferably, the cards have an image of the item or feature with which they are associated; however, cards can have any suitable image or information. Preferably, the serial number (identifier) associated with a card unlocks an executable file that enables the cards item or feature for the player's use when playing a flash based or any other suitable type of game over the Internet or any other suitable electronic network with other users around the world or in any other suitable locations, each player using the accessories and main items to which he or she has access; however, the identifier is not required to unlock an executable file and any suitable type of game can be played using the cards in any suitable manner. Further, the identifier can be spread across two or more cards. For example, a card in a pack may include the first field 108 described above and the other cards may include the second 110 and third fields 112 described above. As a result, in this embodiment, a player must scan two cards to specifically identify a particular card. It should be appreciated that the identifier can be spread across two or more cards in any other suitable manner.

In an alternative embodiment, an identifier associated with a card unlocks or provides access to more than one virtual item or game feature. For example, the identifier associated with one card can unlock a car, a set of tires and some decals. In another embodiment, a plurality of identifiers are associated with the card, each identifier being associated with one or more virtual items or game features.

In another alternative embodiment, a card is associated with more than one encoded identifier or other suitable information. The plurality of encoded information can located together or at separately spaced apart locations (e.g., across the bottom of the card, on either side of the card and/or the reverse side of the card, or any other suitable locations). In this embodiment, the encoded information at various locations is different and can be used in conjunction with other encoded information from the same or a different card or alone to provide access to one or more virtual items or other game features.

Preferably, a user can give or trade accessories, main items or other virtual items or game features associated with cards 102 with other users only by physically transferring the cards associated with the accessories, main items or other virtual items or game features being given or traded. However, if desired, the system 100 can enable virtual trading of cards. In such an embodiment, a rescanning of the card would override a virtual trade.

In one embodiment, the identifier scanned off the card (e.g., by a barcode scanner 104 or any other suitable scanner) is converted into a code that specifically identifies the card. However, the code is converted to a second code before the second code (rather than the first code) is sent to the online portion 114 of the system 100. It should be understood that the system is not required to have an online portion 114. In one embodiment, the conversion consists of appending or inserting a series of characters to the beginning, middle, or end of the first code. Preferably, the conversion includes applying a mathematical function to the first code which guarantees the unaltered first code does not appear as any part of the second code; however, the conversion can include any suitable operations. Preferably, the second code is generated either in the card scanner or in software resident on the player's computer; however, the second code can be generated at any suitable location. Further, in one embodiment, the second code is used to specifically identify the card at the online portion of the system 100 and the second code is not converted back into the first code. Because the second code specifically identifies a card, the system 100 can use the second code to track card histories, enforce card trading, detect counterfeiting, and collect use and demographic data.

In an alternative embodiment, the identifier associated with a card is not sent to an online portion of the system 100. Game codes are downloaded to the user's computer, and the scanned identifiers unlock features of the game on that computer. When the player enters a race, information about the car's performance characteristics which do not specifically identify the cards that have been scanned and used by the player are sent to the online portion of the system 100. To reduce simultaneous card sharing even though the online portion is not capable of determining that a specific card is being used by two different players in this embodiment, cards expire randomly or on a regular schedule, or the virtual items associated with the cards becomes damaged or destroyed during races. As a result, players are forced to rescan their cards to continue to use these items.

In one embodiment, cards are not specifically identifiable because each sequential identifier or other suitable identifier is associated with at least two cards of the same card type. Thus, card type 1, sequential identifier 1 is associated with at least two physical cards 102. Preferably, the two or more cards having the same identifier are sold in different geographical locations in the United States or other locations, enabling the system 100 to identify the specific cards without certainty but with a high degree of likelihood; however, such regionalized separation of sales is not required.

The system 100 can reduce counterfeiting or simultaneous sharing of a card in this embodiment by requiring a user to scan a card each time before it is used or on some random or non-random schedule. Alternatively, the cars or accessories associated with the cards are damaged or destroyed in a race, thus necessitating their rescanning before the item can be fully operational and/or useable again. Further, counterfeiting is reduced in one embodiment by having a circular queue of players who have access to the two or more copies of one card. For example, if two of each card code are printed, the system could track who scans that card code and when. Then, if a third person scans the card code, the player who least recently scanned his or her card would lose access. In counterfeiting situations, recipients of counterfeit cards would receive reduced benefit from the card (as legitimate users rescan their cards) and legitimate users could be provided with a mechanism for reporting suspected counterfeiting based on the increased necessity of rescanning the card and for submitting their authentic cards for authentication and reissuance.

In various embodiments, the card includes one or more anti-counterfeiting measures. Anti-counterfeiting measures can include any mechanism for making unauthorized copying or production of cards more difficult and/or more expensive. Preferably, the cards cannot be read and used in an electronic device if the anti-counterfeiting measures are not present; however, in various embodiments, it is not required for the anti-counterfeiting measures to be present for the cards to be read and used in the electronic device. An example of an anti-counterfeiting measure using infrared ink is described below.

In one embodiment, the identifier is encoded on the cards using an infrared ink; however, it should be understood that other embodiments encode information on the cards in various other suitable manners. Infrared ink can include any suitable substance and is detectable by an infrared scanner (e.g., an infrared barcode scanner), but not by a non-infrared scanner (e.g., a typical barcode scanner). In this embodiment, an infrared scanner (e.g., an infrared barcode scanner) scans the card to read the identifier. In one embodiment, such an infrared scanner is also capable of scanning barcodes encoded on the cards using a different type of ink (e.g., non-infrared ink or any other suitable visible ink). As a result, in this embodiment, the infrared scanner, by itself, could be tricked into scanning a counterfeit card printed using non-infrared ink. However, this embodiment also includes a non-infrared scanner (e.g., typical barcode scanner) capable of reading information encoded using the different type of ink. In this embodiment, if the non-infrared scanner also detects the identifier, the system determines that the scanned card is a counterfeit. It should be appreciated that in various other embodiments, any other suitable information (e.g., information other than the identifier) can be encoded and used with the above two scanner system to prevent counterfeiting of cards. Further it should be understood that in various embodiments, the infrared scanner and the non-infrared scanner can share one or more components (e.g., a housing).

In another embodiment, an anti-counterfeiting measure includes determining the position of two or more barcode areas on the cards. In this embodiment, the location of a first barcode area on a first side of a card and the location of a second barcode area on a second side of the card are determined. Then, the locations are compared relative to one another. If a counterfeiter attempts to replicate the cards, the attempt is made more difficult by the need to precisely align and position the two bar code areas relative to each other one different sides of the card.

It should be understood that various changes and modifications to the presently preferred embodiments described herein will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Such changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present subject matter and without diminishing its intended advantages. It is therefore intended that such changes and modifications be covered by the appended claims.