Title:
Method and system for scoring games played at home via use of a computer program or the Internet
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a system of scoring games played at home via use of a computer program or the internet. This invention can be used to give people the ability to run organized, in home competition. It would also be able to provide this ability for players to compete at home as the basis of marketing efforts on behalf of dealers/manufacturers in their respective industries. The system can be used with many types of games such as pool, poker, darts air hockey, foosball and etc. This invention encompasses the ability to provide both handicapped (skill level) and non-handicapped competition.



Inventors:
Kromer, Daniel John (Sandusky, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/308557
Publication Date:
11/02/2006
Filing Date:
04/06/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BLAISE, MALINA D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FURR LAW FIRM (UTICA, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method comprising of having a plurality of users connect to a game server from a plurality of locations to play a competitive game.

2. A method according to claim 1 further comprising having said players connect to the game server through the Internet.

3. A method according to claim 1 further comprising having said players connect to the game server through a direct connection.

4. A method according to claim 1 further comprising where said game is an organized competition.

5. A method according to claim 1 further comprising having an output means for said game server.

6. A method according to claim 1 further comprising having said users connect to said game server using an informational processing system.

7. A method according to claim 1 further comprising having said users consist of a group of one or more of players, dealers, organizers and spectators.

8. A method according to claim 1 further comprising having players run an organized game in a plurality of locations.

9. A method according to claim 8 further comprising having said locations being a player's home.

10. A method according to claim 1 further comprising having dealers organize games for players.

11. A method according to claim 1 further comprising having said games be a tournament.

12. A method according to claim 11 further comprising having prizes for the winners of said tournament.

13. A method according to claim 11 further comprising having dealers organize said tournament for said players.

14. A method according to claim 11 further comprising having handicapped competition.

15. A method according to claim 11 further comprising having said results of said tournament being displayed in a results board.

16. A method according to claim 1 further comprising having handicapped competition.

17. A method according to claim 1 further comprising having said game being pool.

18. A method according to claim 1 further comprising having said game being poker.

19. A method according to claim 1 further comprising having said game server using webcams at said locations.

20. A method comprising of having a plurality of users connect to a game server from a plurality of locations to play a competitive game, where said users consist of a group of one or more of players, dealers, organizers and spectators, where said game is an organized competition, having said results of said tournament being displayed in a results board and allowing handicapped competition.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS (IF ANY)

This application claims the priority date of Provisional Application No. 60/594428 field Apr. 6, 2005.

STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY-SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT (IF ANY)

None

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a method and system for scoring games played at home via use of a computer program or the Internet.

2. Description of Prior Art

Organized pool competition in the commercial and professional sectors has existed for many years. There are many, many leagues which exist for pool, but they play primarily in bars and billiard halls. There are several national organizations which run leagues nationwide, both handicapped and non-handicapped. Some of these result in teams and individuals qualifying to competitions in Las Vegas, by qualifying thru local league play.

There are a number of amateur team pool tournaments in the country. Major flaws exist in virtually every system in use today.

3. Prior Art

U.S. Pat. No. 6,786,824 by Cannon and issued on Sep. 7, 2004, is for a method, apparatus, and system for providing a player with opportunities to win a feature event award. It discloses a method of gaming and related gaming devices and systems. A base, or primary game is employed wherein qualification for an additional feature event is based upon one or more predetermined activities associated with the primary game.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,775,580 by Jira, et al. and issued on Aug. 10, 2004, is for an interactive real time computer processed golf tournament system. It discloses a method for playing an interactive computer processed golf tournament in real time via the Internet. The method includes the steps of registering users via the Internet and storing the user name, address, age, telephone, credit card data and club number on a library file. The method includes scheduling named tournaments, registering users via the Internet as contestants in one of the named tournaments including, assigning the user a position within a flight of a first round of the named tournament, and storing the assigned position on the library file.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,729,959 by Moore, et al. and issued on May 4, 2004, is for a computer game display system and processes, in electronically-controlled Multi-participant game contests, for aggregating and composing a common display and for incorporating virtual participants in the context of games/contests involving active participants. It discloses an information display system and method for computer-based games and the like, particularly of the type involving multiple participants who may be present at a game site or alternately located at one or more remote sites. The display system and method monitors the status of each participant as particular game progresses.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,726,567 by Khosla and issued on Apr. 27, 2004, is for a simulated real time game play with live event. It discloses a game play system that allows remote players to participate in a concurrent simulation of a live event as the live event is occurring. The system gathers input from sensors located at the live event, preprocesses this input, and transfers it to a computer system, which uses this input to create a concurrent simulation of the live event.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,688,983 by Yoshizawa and issued on Feb. 10, 2004, is for a client computer, server computer, network ranking system, network ranking method, task processing method and recording medium. It discloses a client computer, server computer, network ranking system, network ranking method, task processing method and recording medium allowing even experienced players to keep a feeling of tension and allowing even beginners to have chances to be ranked high. It is possible to set to only one the number of times the play result of a computer game issued as a task from the server computer to each client computer, etc. can be registered for one day. This allows even experienced players to experience a feeling of tension that no retry is possible.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,650,903 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,434,398 by Inselberg and issued on Nov. 18, 2003 and Aug. 13, 2002 respectively, are for a method and apparatus for interactive audience participation at a live spectator event. It discloses a method that provides interactive audience participation at live spectator events. The method includes providing each spectator with an interactive device that presents a promotional message and includes a user interface, broadcasting audio programming to the spectator through the interactive device, querying the spectators, wherein answers to the querying may be entered by spectators via the user interface of the interactive device, transmitting the answers to a central processor, storing the answers as spectator data, processing the spectator data into results, storing the results of the processing of the spectator data and broadcasting the results of the processing of the spectator data.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,468,155 by Zucker, et al. and issued on Oct. 22, 2002, is for systems and methods to facilitate games of skill for prizes played via a communication network. It discloses systems and methods to facilitate games of skill for prizes played via a communication network. According to one embodiment, a potential game to be played at a remote player device via a communication network is determined.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,425,828 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,224,486 by Walker, et al. and issued on Jul. 30, 2002 and May 1, 2001 respectively, are for a database driven online distributed tournament system. It discloses a method and a system for a distributed electronic tournament system in which many remotely located players participate in a tournament through input/output devices connected to a central controller which manages the tournament. The method includes the steps of (a) uniquely identifying a player communicating with the central controller via an associated input/output device; (b) responding to payment of an entry fee by the player for allowing the player to participate in a tournament occurring within a fixed time window via an associated input/output device; (c) accessing a database to store in the database player information that is generated as the player participates in the tournament, such information being available for use in a subsequent tournament, which is administered by said controller and in which the player participates; and (d) awarding the player a prize for achieving a preestablished performance level in the tournament. In another preferred embodiment, the method further includes the steps of determining whether the player has been qualified to advance to a subsequent game session, in which at least one player is eliminated from the previous game session; and permitting each player qualified to a subsequent game session to participate in that game session.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,321,128 by Costin, IV, et al. and issued on Nov. 20, 2001, is for a virtual golf game. It discloses a system and method that adequately and accurately compares golf scores from two different courses by comparing the relative difficulty of each course played and the relative ability of the players in conjunction with a selected Tournament course, which may be an imaginary or physical course, for determining the winner of a match or game of golf. One method of practicing the present invention uses the USGA Handicap Index, Slope Rating system and Course Rating system to adjust the scores of the players and match the hole handicaps at the two or more courses. Next, the holes of the played courses (including the players']scores) and Tournament course are arranged by hole handicap, hardest to easiest. The final step involves comparing the scores relative to par to determine the score (for stroke play) or the winner of the hole (for match play). This process is repeated for the other holes until all 18 holes have been compared.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,293,868 by Bernard and issued on Sep. 25, 2001, is for a stadium game for fans. It discloses a game which is played by fans of sports events such as baseball, football, basketball and soccer. Each player makes advance predictions as regarding the outcome they expect to occur during the event. The player records his predictions in a form that can be checked by a computer. The record of the player's predictions is either transmitted to a remote analysis location or is analyzed within the computer in which the predictions were made. The predictions of each player are analyzed and compared to actual actions occurring during the event, and scores are given to each player based on the accuracy of his predictions.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,193,610 by Junkin and issued on Feb. 27, 2001, is for an interactive television system and methodology. It discloses an interactive apparatus and method that allows participants to compete in an interactive game, such as a contest or sporting event, occurring in real time or as a taped broadcast of a real time event. The event with which the participant may interact is broadcast live or previously taped but not aired. At home, participants can play along with the broadcast on a real time basis as a previously taped segment of the television show is aired. Interactive play may be accomplished by access to an on-line version of the game while the corresponding game show airs live or is rebroadcast to the participant for the first time on television.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,082,887 by Feuer, et al. and issued on Jul. 4, 2000, is for a game machine with automated tournament mode. It discloses a game machine that includes a tournament mode for conducting automated tournaments. In the tournament mode, pluralities of tournament games are playable by a plurality of players on the game machine. Each of the plurality of tournament games generates a total player score upon completion of game play. The player scores are used to determine the tournament winners. One or more sequences of tournament games are preprogrammed from the plurality of tournament games, and a tournament period is programmed for each tournament game. The preprogrammed tournament game for each sequence is playable during the programmed tournament period for the respective sequence. A plurality of sequences of tournament games may be preprogrammed to run simultaneously. The tournament sequences may either continuously repeat or may end after the last tournament in the sequence is completed.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,080,063 by Khosla and issued on Jun. 27, 2000, is for a simulated real time game play with live event. It discloses a game play system that allows remote players to participate in a concurrent simulation of a live event as the live event is occurring. The system gathers input from sensors located at the live event, preprocesses this input, and transfers it to a computer system, which uses this input to create a concurrent simulation of the live event. A remote game player can then interact with the concurrent simulation by providing input to the concurrent simulation through a user interface. This system combines the excitement of a highly interactive video game with the drama and publicity surrounding a live event. The live event can thereby set the standard of performance for the concurrent simulation. Remote game players may additionally compete against each other to determine an overall global winner amongst the remote game players in the live event.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,860,862 by Junkin and issued on Jan. 19, 1999, is for an interactive system allowing real time participation. It discloses an interactive apparatus and method that allows the participants to compete in an interactive game based on an event which is occurring in real time. A ticker tape or some other visual display or audio broadcast or the like is shown or broadcast on a device of an interactive apparatus with real time score values indicative of the players' performance in the event. Using the interactive apparatus, the participants select and trade members on the team using a menu displayed or broadcast on the interactive device. The menu provides relevant information regarding the performance of the participant's team, and allows the participant to select and trade members on the participant's team with members listed in a contest roster database while the event is occurring in real time. By allowing the participant to interact in real time, the intellectual challenge and emotional enjoyment of the interactive game are greatly enhanced.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,226,177 by Nickerson and issued on Jul. 6, 1993, is for a real-time wireless audience response system. It discloses a system for collecting data from a plurality of respondents having a central portion with a central processor and a base station and a remote portion with a plurality of wireless response units for respondents to be prompted to enter response data to a visually perceptible display which may be shown live, on a television monitor or may be taped. The display may include multiple choice questions. The central processor accumulates the response data via radio, optical or acoustic communication links with the remote units, each of which has a unique address. The central processor displays the accumulated response data in real time and may overlay the processed response data and originate display shown to the respondents.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,114,155 by Tillery, et al. and issued on May 19, 1992, is for a system for automatic collection and distribution of player statistics for electronic dart games. It discloses a method and apparatus for conducting dart leagues or tournaments wherein players participate at multiple remote locations. The present invention provides a plurality of remotely located electronic dart games connected via a communication medium to a central control device enabling bidirectional communication between the central control device and the plurality of remotely located electronic dart games. The invention in a preferred embodiment enables players to participate in a dart league or tournament from various locations, however, it is possible for the plurality of electronic dart games to be at one location. Each electronic dart game is capable of receiving data from and transmitting data to player cards. Each dart game player has a player card that identifies a player to a respective dart game, and the player card also stores player data and game statistics. A master dart game is located at each remote location. The master dart game interfaces with each of the non-master dart games at that remote location. The master dart game stores statistical data received from the non-master dart games. The central control device polls each master dart game at each remote location at a predetermined time so as to upload and assimilate current statistical data from each remote location. The central control device then calculates the current standing of each player and downloads player standings to each remote location. The standings of the players can be displayed at each remote location via a portable display.

The need for a better method which allows people to run in home, organized competitions that are tracked by computer shows that there is still room for improvement within the art.

1. Field of the Invention

2. Description of related art including information disclosed under 37 CFR § 1.97**> and 1.98<.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a system of but can it be written so that the purpose is to provide a method of marketing goods and services related to the home entertainment market. The system which allows people such as players, consumers, and customers to run in home, organized competitions (tracked by computer). Additionally, providing in home, organized competitions is in and of itself a commercially viable concept scoring games played at home via use of a computer program or the internet. This invention can be used to give people the ability to run organized, in home competition. It would also be able to provide this ability for players to compete at home as the basis of marketing efforts on behalf of dealers/manufacturers in their respective industries. The current invention's focus is 3 games; pool, poker, and darts but it can be used with other games as well. This invention encompasses the ability to provide both handicapped (skill level) and non-handicapped competition.

The process is more efficient, effective, accurate and functional than the current art.

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

Browser: a software program that runs on a client host and is used to request Web pages and other data from server hosts. This data can be downloaded to the client's disk or displayed on the screen by the browser.

Client host: a computer that requests Web pages from server hosts, and generally communicates through a browser program.

Content provider: a person responsible for providing the information that makes up a collection of Web pages.

Embedded client software programs: software programs that comprise part of a Web site and that get downloaded into, and executed by, the browser.

Cookies: data blocks that are transmitted to a client browser by a web site.

Hit: the event of a browser requesting a single Web component.

Host: a computer that is connected to a network such as the Internet. Every host has a hostname (e.g., mypc.mycompany.com) and a numeric IP address (e.g., 123.104.35.12).

HTML (HyperText Markup Language): the language used to author Web Pages. In its

raw form, HTML looks like normal text, interspersed with formatting commands. A browser's primary function is to read and render HTML.

HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol): protocol used between a browser and a Web server to exchange Web pages and other data over the Internet.

HyperText: text annotated with links to other Web pages (e.g., HTML).

IP (Internet Protocol): the communication protocol governing the Internet.

Server host: a computer on the Internet that hands out Web pages through a Web server program.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator): the address of a Web component or other data. The URL identifies the protocol used to communicate with the server host, the IP address of the server host, and the location of the requested data on the server host. For example, “http://www.lucent.com/work.html” specifies an HTTP connection with the server host www.lucent.com, from which is requested the Web page (HTML file) work.html.

UWU server: in connection with the present invention, a special Web server in charge of distributing statistics describing Web traffic.

Visit: a series of requests to a fixed Web server by a single person (through a browser), occurring contiguously in time.

Web master: the (typically, technically trained) person in charge of keeping a host server and Web server program running.

Web page: multimedia information on a Web site. A Web page is typically an HTML document comprising other Web components, such as images.

Web server: a software program running on a server host, for handing out Web pages.

Web site: a collection of Web pages residing on one or multiple server hosts and accessible through the same hostname (such as, for example, www.lucent.com).

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Without restricting the full scope of this invention, the preferred form of this invention is illustrated in the following drawings:

FIG. 1 shows an overview of how a User accesses the system;

FIG. 2 shows multiple players are connected to the system;

FIG. 3 shows a sample results page; and

FIG. 4 shows a visual imaging system.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

There are a number of significant design features and improvements incorporated within the invention.

The present invention relates to system 1 of scoring games played at home via use of a computer program or the internet. This invention can be used to give people the ability to run organized, in home competition. It would also be able to provide this ability for players to compete at home as the basis of marketing efforts on behalf of dealers/manufacturers in their respective industries.

The system's primary focus would be on any game that could be played competitively such as games like pool, and poker, as well as other games such as darts, air hockey, foosball, etc. The purpose of this invention is to give players the ability to run organized, in home (outside of a commercial establishment), competition. These competitions can be set up by dealers who sell products or services related to these respective game industries. This invention encompasses the ability to provide both handicapped (skill level) and non-handicapped competition.

FIG. 1 illustrates a functional diagram of a computer network for World Wide Web 500 access to the System 1 which runs the game 2 from a plurality of Players 10 who access the system Web Site 100 or the Players 10 can connect directly to the System 1. Accessing the System Web Site 100 can be accomplished directly through a communication means such as a direct connection, an intranet, a local Internet Service Provider, often referred to as ISPs, or through an on-line service provider like CompuServe, Prodigy, American Online, etc. or Wireless devices using services like AT&T or Verizon. Each player 10 will have a display device such as a monitor and input device like a keyboard. This display and input device can even be a PDA like a Blackburn.

Dealers, organizers and spectators can also connect to the system like the players to participants or observe the games.

The Players 10 contact the System Web Site 100 using an informational processing system (Client) capable of running an HTML compliant Web browser such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Lynx and Mosaic. A typical system that is used is a personal computer with an operating system such as Windows 95, 98 or ME, NT, 2000 or Linux, running a Web browser. The exact hardware configuration of computer used by the Players 10, the brand of operating system or the brand of Web browser configuration is unimportant to understand this present invention. Those skilled in the art can conclude that any HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) compatible Web browser is within the true spirit of this invention and the scope of the claims.

In one preferred embodiment of the invention, the Players 10 connect to the System Web Site 100. In the preferred embodiment the system has numerous web pages. The information in the web pages are in HTML format via the HyperText Transport Protocol (http) and on Server System 310. The Gamer System 110 includes software to allow viewing of web pages, commonly referred to as a Web Browser, such as Communicator available from Netscape Communications Corp. or Internet Explorer available from Microsoft Corp. The user system is capable of accessing web pages located on Server System 310.

Output can include a graphical user interface, hardcopy, facsimile, e-mail, messaging or other communication with any humanly or machine discernable data and/or artifacts. In some embodiments, output can include transmitting the risk variable related data to a designated recipient, any humanly or machine discernable data and/or artifacts.

The data processing system 1 allows for secure input, data transfer and storage of a wide array of information. The system 1 allows and handles the direct transfer of security rights for the Players 10. The input, data exchange and storage of the data is achieved by electronic data transmission, thus eliminating the need for paper logs. In a first embodiment of the invention, as further discussed below, means for processing data is provided which includes computer software installed at various locations within the data processing system. In a second embodiment of the invention, the data processing system has means for processing data which is installed on a web server computer; therefore, there is but one necessary installation of the means for processing data, and users log on to a website and conduct functions within the data processing system through the web server. The first embodiment can also be referred to as a Windows™ version, and the second embodiment can be referred to as a web browser version. The functionality of both embodiments is essentially the same; however, the second embodiment (the web browser version) may incorporate some additional enhancements, as further discussed below. The data processing system in both embodiments utilizes a secure environment to transmit all data through encryption/decryption. The data processing system further provides for an audit trail of modifications made to the recorded data.

The data processing system 1 for both embodiments includes computer processing means for processing data, storage means for storing data on a storage medium, and communication means for transferring data in a secure environment.

For the first embodiment on the Windows™ version, the data is entered on remote work stations and stored in local databases until the user performs a data transmission function which electronically transfers the data to a central database. The central database acts as a central repository enabling multiple off-site users to view and/or modify data, and generate reports or output.

For the second embodiment (the web browser version), it can be conceptually broken down into two main components or groupings that allow the data processing system to achieve its functionality. They are as follows: (1) a main database that acts as the central repository for data entered into the system and (2) a means for processing data or computer software means in the form of coded computer instructions.

For the web browser version, it is unnecessary to have the different installations of the computer software because the web server computer has the entire means for processing loaded thereon. The user in the web browser version logs on to the website and then performs desired functions based upon functions made available to the type of user. There are two ways in which data is entered through the browser version: (1) through a website and transmitted via a LAN or the worldwide web to the web server. The web server then forwards the data to the database; or (2) through a data feed from a separate third party electronic online trading system and transmitted via a LAN or the worldwide web to the web server or an FTP server. The web server or FTP server then forwards the data to the main database. Transmission of data in the second embodiment via the worldwide web or LAN is also secure utilizing data encryption/decryption provided by SSL. Other than consolidation of the means for processing data at the web server computer, and the manner in which data is entered and retrieved through a website, the first and second embodiments have the same functionality, except for those additional features discussed below with

respect to the second embodiment.

In an alternative embodiment, a player 10 can connect to the system through a direct wire link 113 or a wireless link 115 as shown in FIG. 2. FIG. 2 shows how multiple players 10 can connect to the system to play a tournament 132. Some of these players can be at a centralized tournament location such as a pool hall 135.

Once connected to the system 1 a player 10 would enter a tournament 132 via the system 1. These tournaments can be scheduled events or can be pick-up tournaments. The player 10 or a person watching the game will enter the results of their game as they play. The system 1 will track the results of all the players 10 and will display a results board. This results board will show the standing of each of the players 10 in the tournament. A sample results board is shown in FIG. 3. The tournament 132 winners can be awarded prizes for winning or placing in the tournament. These types of tournaments will increase the interest in playing these games at home and using the pool table at home.

The system 1 can also incorporate a two way visual imaging system 254 so that the players 10 can view others playing in the tournament 132. This can be done through the use of a web cam 230 with the images 235 being transmitted to the system 1 and back out to the other players 10 as shown in FIG. 4. This will also help to assist in preventing any of the players 10 from cheating when that could be an issue such as a high stakes tournament. This imaging system 254 can also be used in a card game such as Texas Hold-Em when the desire is to keep the players hands en sync.

The system 1 will allow a handicapping process such as those currently being used in pool, bowling, golf, darts, or a number of other sports. This will make the tournament and game play more competitive for the players 10.

The system 1 is the first system to encompass the concept of initiating and tracking organized competition to the home market. The system would also be able to provide the ability for players to compete at home as the basis of marketing efforts on behalf of dealers/manufacturers in their respective industries.

Conclusion

Although the present invention has been described in considerable detail with reference to certain preferred versions thereof, other versions are possible. Therefore, the point and scope of the appended claims should not be limited to the description of the preferred versions contained herein. The system is not limited to any particular programming language or computer platform.

As to a further discussion of the manner of usage and operation of the present invention, the same should be apparent from the above description. Accordingly, no further discussion relating to the manner of usage and operation will be provided.

With respect to the above description, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.