Title:
Buy, license or litigate - a game of patent strategy
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention is directed to a game of patents in which patents are bought, licensed and/or litigated to create profitable businesses. More specifically, patents are used by the players to build one or more technologies into a business. The player with the most profitable business at the end of the game is the winner.



Inventors:
Juhasz, Paul R. (Houston, TX, US)
Application Number:
12/291146
Publication Date:
05/21/2009
Filing Date:
11/06/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F3/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
MENDIRATTA, VISHU K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
The Juhasz Law Firm, P.C. (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A game comprising: a patent indicia having an associated cost to purchase and an associated value; a number generator for generating random numbers; a currency species for use in playing said game, each player provided with a predetermined amount of currency for playing said game; each player bidding a number to purchase said patent indicia, said number bid by each said player being a number each said player generates using said number generator, wherein one said number generated by each said player is a winning number, said patent indicia going to said player generating said winning number.

2. The game of claim 1 further comprising: additional patent indicia, each additional patent indicia having an associated cost to purchase and an associated value, said patent indicia and said additional patent indicia forming a plurality of patent indicia; said additional patent indicia being played in the same way as said patent indicia; wherein at the end of play each player adds up each of the associated values of each said patent indicia of said plurality of patent indicia won by each said player, said player with the greatest accumulated value of said plurality of patent indicia winning said game.

3. The game of claim 2 wherein a predetermined number of said patent indicia of said plurality of patent indicia are dealt to each said player prior to the start of said game leaving a remaining number of said plurality of patent indicia for bidding play, each player bidding a number on each said remaining number of said plurality of patent indicia to purchase said remaining number of said plurality of patent indicia, each said remaining number of patent indicia going to the winning bidder, wherein at the end of play each player adds up each of the associated values of each said patent indicia of said plurality of patent indicia won by each said player, said player with the greatest accumulated value of said plurality of patent indicia winning the game.

4. The game of claim 3 wherein said predetermined number of patent indicia dealt each player prior to the start of the game is held by each player face down throughout the play of the game.

5. The game of claim 3 wherein said predetermined number of patent indicia comprises five patent indicia.

6. The game of claim 2 further comprising a set of control cards, each said control card having a predetermined action for a player to take; wherein the bidding player with the winning bid having the option to purchase the patent indicia or pulling and playing a control card.

7. The game of claim 2 further comprising a plurality of strategy cards, each said strategy card having a predetermined action for a player to take; wherein the bidding player with the winning bid having the option to purchase the patent indicia or pulling a strategy card for play in a current or later round of play.

8. The game of claim 2 further comprising a set of control cards and a set of strategy cards, each said control card having a predetermined first set of actions for a player take, each said strategy card having a predetermined second set of actions for a player to take, wherein the bidding player with the winning bid having the option to purchase the patent indicia, pulling and playing a control card from said set of control cards, or pulling a strategy card from said set of strategy cards for play in a current or a later round of play.

9. A game comprising: a plurality of patent indicia, each said patent indicia having an associated value; each player provided with one or more patent indicia prior to the start of said game; a number generator for generating random numbers; a currency species for use in playing said game, each player provided with a predetermined amount of currency for playing said game; wherein a player sells an interest in one said patent indicia to an other player, said cost of said interest being determined by a number generated by said number generator.

10. The game of claim 9 wherein said interest in his patent indicia being sold is a license under said patent indicia.

11. The game of claim 9 wherein said interest in his patent indicia being sold is a sale of the patent indicia to the buying player.

12. The game of claim 9 wherein said an other player buying said interest in said patent indicia is determined by a predetermined number generated using said number generator.

13. The game of claim 9 wherein said cost of said interest is based on a number generated by said an other player using said number generator.

14. A game comprising: a plurality of patent indicia, each said patent indicia having an associated value; each player provided with one or more patent indicia during the course of said game; a number generator for generating random numbers; a currency species for use in playing said game, each player provided with a predetermined amount of currency for playing said game; wherein a player litigates a patent indicia against an other player, an outcome of said litigation being determined by a number generated by said number generator

15. The game of claim 14 wherein said an other player is a player determined by a predetermined number generated using said number generator.

16. The game of claim 14 wherein said outcome of said litigation is infringement by said an other player of said patent indicia.

17. The game of claim 14 wherein said outcome of said litigation is damages owed by said another player for infringement of said patent indicia.

18. The game of claim 15 wherein said damages is based on a number generated by said an other player using said number generator.

19. The game of claim 14 wherein said outcome of said litigation is willful infringement by said another player of said patent indicia.

20. The game of claim 14 wherein said outcome of said litigation is enhanced damages owed by said another player for willful infringement of said patent indicia.

21. The game of claim 14 wherein said outcome of said litigation is an injunction.

22. A board game comprising: a plurality of technology/business spaces arranged along a roadway; a patent associated with each technology/business space; one or more game pieces associated with each player for traveling said roadway of technology/business spaces; a number generator for determining the number of spaces each such player is to advance along said roadway; a currency species for use by each such player for purchasing patents associated with one or more of said technology/business spaces; wherein on landing on a technology/business space that is not owned by any other player, said player has a first option to buy said technology/business space or said patent indicia associated with said technology/business space; wherein on landing on a technology/business space that is owned by said any other player, said player has a second option of play.

23. The board game of claim 22 wherein said second option of said player is to license any said patent indicia associated with said technology/business space.

24. The board game of claim 22 wherein said second option of said player is to litigate any said patent indicia associated with said technology/business space.

25. The board game of claim 22 further comprising a space for take-over of a patent indicia of a target player.

26. The board game of claim 24 wherein an order of play for said take-over comprises said player landing on said take-over space making a tender offer for any said patent indicia associated with said technology/business space.

27. The board game of claim 25 wherein said order of play for said take-over further comprises said target player preventing said takeover of said target by generating a predetermined number using said number generator.

28. The board game of claim 26 wherein said order of play for said take-over further comprises a third player entering said order of play as a white knight, said white knight trumping said tender offer of said take-over player.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention is directed to a game of patents in which patents are bought, licensed and/or litigated to create profitable businesses. More specifically, patents are used by the players to build one or more technologies into a business. The player with the most profitable business at the end of the game is the winner.

BACKGROUND

In the Twelfth Century Dark Ages, science was a black art of sorcerers. It was not until the Leonardo Da Vinci and Sir Isaac Newton's of the world that this black art was unlocked for everyone to know, use, and appreciate. The Art of Intellectual Property—Patent, Copyright, Trademark, and Trade Secret Essentials for Professionals, Paul R. Juhasz, Presented at the 2006 Conference on Legal Issues for Design Professionals, Jun. 22, 2006, Houston, Tex.

Intellectual Property is the black art of the Twenty-First Century Information Age. Extensively practiced by patent attorneys and those few who have been educated in the art, few lay people know much about Intellectual Property, how to use it, or, for that matter, appreciate what it can do for a business. See The Art of Intellectual Property.

This invention provides a game of strategy where intellectual property is used to build imaginary businesses. In addition to countless hours of challenging enjoyable play, the game enables players to learn more about intellectual property and how intellectual property issues can affect a business.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

I have invented a game of patent strategy where players buy, license and/or litigate patent assets.

In one embodiment the game comprises: one or more patent title or indicia having an associated cost to purchase and an associated value; a number generator for generating random numbers; a currency species for use in playing the game, each player provided with a predetermined amount of currency for playing the game; each player bidding a number to purchase each said one or more patent title, said number bid by each said player being a number each said player generates using the number generator, wherein for each said one or more patent title one said number generated by each said player is a winning number, each said patent title going to the player generating the associated winning number. At the end of the game, each player calculates the total value of his patent assets by adding up the value of all of the patent titles acquired by the player during the course of the game. The winner is the player whose assets add up to the greatest amount of money. In another embodiment, at the start of the game, each player is dealt a predetermined number of the patent title which are played face down throughout the course of the game. The game continues as above described. At the end of the game, the patent titles dealt each player are revealed. Each player includes the value of those face down patent titles in the calculation of the total value of his patent assets for purposes of determining a winner. In yet further embodiments, control, strategy, and/or tactic cards may be played to guide the direction of play.

In another embodiment, each player may sell an interest in one patent title to another player, the cost of the interest being determined by a number generated by the number generator. The interest in the patent title may be a license under the patent and the game provides for illustrative orders of licensing play. Alternatively, the interest sold may be an outright sale of the patent. In one example, an order of play for the acquisition of a patent by a take-over is provided.

In another embodiment, each player litigates a patent against another player. Alternative examples are provided for a variety of orders of litigation play.

In yet another embodiment a board game is provided comprising: a plurality of technology/business spaces arranged along a roadway; a patent associated with each technology/business space; one or more game pieces associated with each player for traveling the roadway of technology/business spaces; a number generator for determining the number of spaces each such player is to advance along the roadway; a currency species for use by each such player for purchasing patents associated with one or more of the technology/business spaces; wherein on landing on a technology/business space not owned by any other player, the player has a first option to buy the technology/business space or patent title associated with the technology/business space; wherein on landing on a technology/business space that is owned by said any other player, the player has a second option of play including the licensing or litigation of the patent. The board may contain a litigation and/or a Take-over space. Strategy and control cards may also be used with this game.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a preferred embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 shows a preferred patent title of the invention.

FIG. 3 shows a preferred set of patent titles of the invention.

FIG. 4 shows a preferred set of currency of the invention.

FIG. 5 shows a preferred order of play of the invention.

FIG. 6 shows a preferred listing of the cost to buy certain patent title.

FIG. 7 shows additional game pieces of the invention.

FIG. 8 shows a preferred listing of actions for control cards.

FIG. 9 shows an alternative embodiment of the order of play of the invention.

FIG. 10 shows a preferred listing of actions for strategic cards.

FIG. 11 shows yet an alternative embodiment of the order of play of the invention.

FIG. 12 shows a preferred listing of actions for tactical cards.

FIG. 13 shows yet another alternative embodiment of the order of play of the invention.

FIG. 14 shows a preferred order of play between players in connection with licensing a patent.

FIG. 15 shows an illustrative order of play for a take-over of a patent title held by another player.

FIG. 16 shows a preferred order of play between players in connection with litigating a patent.

FIG. 17 shows an alternative order of play between players in connection with litigating a patent.

FIGS. 18A, 18B show an illustrative order of play for a litigation of a patent using a jury of players.

FIG. 19 shows yet another illustrative order of play between players in connection with litigating a patent where the target player is the holder of the patent.

FIG. 20 shows an illustrative game board for use in playing the invention.

FIG. 21 shows a distribution for a set of sales cards for use in another illustrative embodiment of the inventive game.

FIGS. 22-24 show further illustrative game boards for playing the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As shown in FIG. 1, in a preferred embodiment, invention 10 comprises a deck of patent title cards 20, a specified amount of currency 30, and a random number generator 40. As shown in FIG. 2, the deck of patent titles comprises a set of individual patent title cards 22 in which each card represents the title to a specified patent 24. FIG. 3 shows a listing of an example set of patent titles for use in the preferred embodiment. There are 28 patent titles shown in the figure. In the preferred embodiment, these patents are associated with 12 technology sectors. FIG. 3 also shows one valuation given to each patent. For example, a patent on a cell phone in the telecom technology sector has a valuation of 26. On a scale of “1 to 28” the highest Technology/Business Space/Patent Valuation of “28” is given to the Technology/Business Space/Patent associated with Software since in the preferred embodiment the Software Technology/Business Space/Patent stands to gain the most business return from its patents. The lowest Technology/Business Space/Patent Valuation of “1” is given to the Insurance Technology/Business Space/Patent since as a services oriented operation this business stands to gain the least business return from its patents. The foregoing valuations are illustrative only and other valuations may be used with this invention. The use of these valuations in the play of the game will be described later.

FIG. 4 shows an illustrative selection of currency denominations and one illustrative listing of the number of bills each player will be provided before the start of the game. Random number generator 40 shown in FIG. 1 is preferably a dice or a plurality of dice for randomly determining a number. Alternatively, number generator 40 may be any random number generator. For example, random number generator may be a deck of numbered cards, an electronic number generator, a mechanical device such as a spinning wheel, or any other device which may be used to generate a random number. Yet another random generator is a two sided decision indicator such as shown in FIG. 1 having sides “Y” 41 and “N” 42 which may be used to make a random determination.

FIG. 5 shows a flow diagram for the preferred embodiment of play. The game begins at start 101. Each player is provided with seed money 102. The deck of patent titles 20 is shuffled and each player is dealt five patent titles face down 103. These patent titles define the patent holdings of each player at the start of the game. The deck of patent titles 20 is placed face down on the playing surface. Each player may look at the five patent titles he has been dealt but the patent titles are otherwise not shown to the other players during the course of play.

To play the game, players take turns drawing 105 a patent title from the deck of patent title cards 20. Each patent title drawn is placed face-up on the playing surface. For each patent title drawn the players take turns bidding for the right to buy the patent 106. Players bid for the patent using the number generator 40. Preferably, number generator 40 is a pair of dice with the player rolling the highest roll having the right to buy the patent. In an alternative embodiment the player must purchase the patent. But in the preferred embodiment, the winning player may elect or forego purchase of the patent 107. Purchase of the patent is by paying the price of the patent to the bank as is described below. Each purchased patent is kept face up in front of the player unlike the patent titles dealt to the player at the start of the game which are kept face down until the end of the game.

If player foregoes purchase of the patent title 22, the patent title is placed 130 face down in the deck of patent titles. Players keep playing until the last title card has been pulled 140. If there remain patent titles 22 to be purchased players continue taking turns pulling 105 patent titles from the deck of patent titles and bidding on the purchase of those patent titles as indicated in steps 106, 107. At the point the last patent title 22 has been pulled 140, each player reveals the five patent titles that were played face down throughout the game. Each player adds up the dollar value of all the patent titles held by the player 190. The value of a patent at the end of the game may be the price to purchase 25 shown in FIG. 2 on the patent title card 22. Preferably, the value of the patent has a value that is different than the purchase price and is shown as an end of game value 26 on the patent title card 22. The player whose patent titles add up to the most amount of money is the winner of the game 200.

Referring again to FIG. 2, patent title 22 provides the purchase price of the patent 25. FIG. 6 shows a preferable illustrative listing of the cost to buy the patent title. As shown in the figure, the cost to buy the cell phone patent is $26 million dollars. Alternatively, the price may be that cost multiplied by the number generated by the player winning the bid to buy the patent. As yet another alternative, the price may the cost to buy the patent multiplied by a number that is newly generated by the winning player. Where the value of a patent at the end of the game 26 has a value that is different than the purchase price, the end of game value 26 may be a fixed value, have a variable value or be a combination of the two. With a variable cost valuation, the variable value may include one or more factors that may increase or decrease the value of the patent. If any of those factors have occurred during play of the game, those factors may change the worth of that patent at the end of the game.

As one example of a variable cost valuation of a patent, referring again to FIG. 3, there are shown three patent titles in the telecom technology sector—namely, cell phones, network and service provider. Similarly, the other technology sectors include a grouping of one or more patents. These patent groupings are referred to as the Technology Sector. Thus, for example, Cell Phone, Network and Service Provider Technology/Business Space/Patents appear under one grouping—namely, the Telecom Sector. As another example, Software, Internet and Semiconductor are grouped together under the Technology Sector. Ownership by any one player of more than one Technology/Business Space/Patent in a Technology Sector may increase the cost valuation of a patent in that Technology Sector at the end of the game. It may also increase the other costs or prices associated with that patent as shown on the Patent Title 22 in FIG. 1 such as the cost of licensing or litigating that patent. As one example, if a player owns two Technology/Business Space/Patents of the Technology Sector, such as Cell Phone and Network patents of the Telecom Sector the cost of an infringement 38 noted on the patent title shown in FIG. 2 may be the price to purchase 25 increased by a factor of 10. If a player also owns the Service Provider patent so that he owns all three of the patents in the Telecom Sector, the infringement payment 38 shown in FIG. 2 may be the price to purchase 25 increased by a factor of 100. The foregoing examples are illustrative only and other valuations may be used in the play of this inventive game.

In an alternative to the FIG. 5 embodiment, at the start of the game players may be provided with one or more game cards that allow a player to trump a winning bid on a patent. In one embodiment the first player to play his card becomes the winning buyer of the patent. In that case, the new winning player is the player that buys the patent title 120 in the order of play shown in FIG. 5. In another embodiment, other players may also play their trump cards in which case the winner may be the holder of the last trump card played. Alternatively, when more than one player plays a trump card, a standoff between those players is created which can be decided by each player in the standoff generating another random number to determine the winning player.

In the preferred embodiment, dealing of five patents to each player is an illustrative number of patents only and any number of patents may be dealt each player at the start of the game. In the embodiment where all of the patent titles are dealt to each player, the game may immediately advance to each player adding up the dollar value of all the patent titles held by the player 190. The player whose patent titles add up to the most amount of money is the winner of the game 200.

In an alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 9, play continues as above indicated in the order of play shown in FIG. 5 or its alternatives except that the invention further comprises a set of control cards 50 as shown in FIG. 7. The control cards comprise a set of cards that instruct the player to take certain actions during the play of the game and are played face down. FIG. 8 shows an illustrative listing of a variety of actions that may be instructed by the control cards. For example, one card may instruct the holder of the card to license-out 82 one of his patents to another player. As another example, one card may instruct the holder of the card to license-in 84 a patent held by another player. As yet another example, one card may instruct the holder of the card to litigate 86 his patent against one or more players. Other license-in, license-out and litigation actions, such as those additional actions shown in FIG. 8 are possible. In addition, other actions such as collect or pay a player some amount of money for a certain reason may also be provided. In these ways, the control cards create opportunities for each player to grow the net worth of his patent assets. A number of illustrative ways in which players may litigate and license their patents is discussed later. The foregoing examples are illustrative of the kind of control cards that may be used and other control cards may be used in the play of the inventive game.

By specifying the action to be taken by a player, control cards 50 shown in FIG. 7 also dictate the play of the game. In this embodiment and as shown in FIG. 9, play begins with steps 101 through 106 which are the same steps performed and described in connection with FIG. 5 except that the control cards have also been shuffled and placed face down on the playing surface. For each patent title 22 drawn the players take turns bidding for the right to buy the patent. In this embodiment, the winning player 108 must decide whether to buy the patent title 22 or pull a control card 52 shown in FIG. 7 from the deck of control cards 50. If the winning player decides to buy 120 the patent title, the purchase is made as described in connection with the order of play shown in FIG. 5 above and the purchased patent title 22 is kept face up in front of all of the players for the remainder of the game. If the winning player decides to pull and play 132 a control card 52, the drawn control card is placed face up on the table and the player drawing the card must take the action 54 indicated on the card. In an alternative embodiment, the player may elect to hold onto the control card to play later in the game.

A bit more discussion of the control cards now follows. FIG. 8 shows the illustrative listing of actions 54 that a control card 52 may indicate a player to take. For instance, any action 54 indicated on the control card may instruct the player to license-out 82 one or more of his patents to one or more other players. Alternatively, the action 54 may instruct the player to license-in 84 one or more patent titles 22 to another player. The control card may specify the amount of money that each player is to pay for the license or instruct that the cost of the license is to be a license value indicated on the patent title 22 shown in FIG. 2 which is shown as the cost to license 28 on the patent title 22. Alternatively, the control card may specify that the cost of a license be a multiple of the cost to license 28 specified on the patent title 22. The control card 40 may specify the licensing multiple or specify that the multiple be determined by a roll of the number generator 40. If the licensing multiple is determined by a roll of the number generator 40, preferably the player who is paying for the license is the player rolling the number generator to determine the licensing multiple. Alternatively, any player may roll the number generator including the player holding the control card even if the player holding the card is the player that is instructed to license the patent. In addition, the control card may indicate that a specific player is to roll the number generator in determining the cost of the license such as the player to the right of the cardholder. The foregoing examples are illustrative examples only and other examples may be used in the practice of this invention.

Referring again to FIG. 9, after the highest bidder 108 either buys title 120 or pulls and plays a control card 132, players keep playing until the last title card has been pulled 140. If there remains patent titles 22 to be purchased players continue taking turns pulling 105 patent titles from the deck of patent titles and bidding on the purchase of those patent titles or playing a control card as indicated in step 108. At the point the last patent title 22 has been pulled 140, players may continue pulling and playing control cards 150. Alternatively, play may immediately advance to step 190 and end 200 of the game. Preferably, play continues until all of the control cards have been pulled and played 160 but may end sooner by agreement of the players. At that point each player reveals the five patent titles that were played face down throughout the game. Each player adds up 190 the dollar value of all the patent titles held by the player. Referring to FIG. 2, the value of a patent at the end of the game may be the price to purchase 26 shown on the patent title card 22. Preferably, the value of the patent has a value that is different than the purchase price and is shown as an end of game value 26 on the patent title card 22. Fixed and variable cost valuation of a patent title has been described in greater detail previously may be used to determine the end of game value of a patent. The winning player is the player whose patent titles add up to the most amount of money.

In the embodiment of FIG. 9, each player who secures a license in the patent of another may track these licenses throughout the course of the game through the use of place markers. FIG. 7 shows a game piece for a license interest 70. The license interest 70 may be color coded to distinguish licenses between players. Alternatively, the game pieces of each player may be differentiated in other ways, such as by shape. A player taking a license may place the license interest 70 piece on or near the patent of the other that is licensed in order to indicate his license interest in that patent. FIG. 7 shows other game pieces such as 10% interest 71, 50% partnership interest 78 for placement on or near the patent title of the other player for the purpose of marking the interest of the player in the patent of another. These interests and their creation are described in connection with strategy cards 50 that now follows.

In an alternative embodiment, play continues as indicated in FIG. 9 except that the invention further comprises a set of strategy cards 60 as shown in FIG. 7. Alternatively, play may continue without using control cards 50. The strategy cards comprise a set of cards 62 as shown in FIG. 7 that allow the player to take certain strategic actions 64 during the play of the game and are played face down. FIG. 10 shows an illustrative listing of a variety of strategic actions 64 shown in FIG. 7 that a strategic card 62 may allow a player to take. For example, one card may give the holder of the card a patent non-infringement defense 92 against a patent infringement action brought by another player. As another example, another card provides a no-damages defense 99 which allows a player to pay no damages in the event the player is found to infringe the patent of another player. As still another example, a copyright suit win 91 card can be played against a target player to collect 10,000 times the number generated by the target player

As yet another example, a minority interest right 93 allows the player to take a 10% minority interest in a patent of another player. Alternatively, the interest may an equal partnership 50% interest 94, a distributorship interest 95, a manufacturing site interest 96, or it may be any other interest in the business. The patent of the target may be a patent that is shown on the playing surface face up or it may be a patent of the target that remains on the playing surface face-down in the event that embodiment of the invention is being played. In the latter case, the player taking the interest in the patent of the target will not find out the value of his stake in that patent until the patent is revealed at the end of the game. This creates further uncertainty in the outcome of the game thereby heightening the interest of the players in the game.

The strategy card may specify the amount of money that the holder of the card is to pay for the interest or instruct that the cost of the interest is to be an amount indicated on the patent title 22 shown in FIG. 2 as shown on the patent title 22. The different prices for the different interests are shown in FIG. 2 as price of 10% interest 30, price of distributorship 32, and price of manufacturing site 34. As previously described these valuations may be fixed or variable. Alternatively, the strategy card may specify the cost of the interest to be a multiple of a price that is specified on the patent title 22. The strategy card 60 may specify the multiple or specify that the multiple be determined by a roll of the number generator 40. The strategy card may specify which player is to generate that number.

On taking the interest, the stake holding player preferably places a place marker on or near the target patent indicating his interest in that patent. FIG. 7 further shows a distributor interest marker 72, and a manufacturing site marker 74 for placement near or on the patent of the target in which an interest was taken. At the end of the game, the value of all of the interests held by each player in the patents of other players is included in the calculation of the total value of the assets of the player. The value of each interest may be a multiple of the cost and price of the interest noted on the patent title 22 shown in FIG. 2. Alternatively, the patent title may provide a schedule of valuations for each interest for use at the end of the game. Fixed and variable valuation described previously may also be used in the valuating of these interests at the end of the game.

Referring again to FIG. 10, as yet another example, the strategy card may be a white knight right 98 which allows the holder who has been targeted for a takeover by another player to designate another player as a white knight to purchase the patent instead of the hostile raider. The card may specify the amount of money that the White Knight is to pay to buy the patent or instruct that the cost of the patent is to be an amount indicated on the patent title 22 as shown on the patent title 22 shown in FIG. 2 as White Knight price of purchase 36. Fixed and variable valuation described previously may also be used in setting the purchase price that the White Knight is to pay. Alternatively, the strategy card may specify that the White Knight cost of the interest be a multiple of the price specified on the patent title 22. The strategy card 40 may specify the multiple or specify that the multiple be determined by a roll of the number generator 40. Another White Knight card 97 may be played by a card holder whenever a patent has been targeted for takeover by another player.

In this embodiment and as shown in FIG. 11, play begins with steps 101 through 106 as previously described in FIG. 9 above except that the strategy cards have also been shuffled and placed face down on the playing surface. For each patent title 22 drawn the players take turns bidding for the right to buy the patent. In this embodiment, the winning player 109 must decide whether to buy the patent title 22 or either pull and either play or hold a strategy card 62 from the deck of strategy cards 60 or pull and play a control card 52 from the deck of control cards 50. If the winning player decides to buy 120 the patent title, the purchase is made as described in FIG. 9 above and the purchased patent title 22 is kept face up in front of the player for the remainder of the game. If the winning player decides to pull either a strategy card 62 or a control card 52, the player pulls the respective card. If a strategy card 62 is pulled, the card holder may either hold the card face down for later play keeping the card face down until used or play it in the current round by showing the card face up on the playing surface and taking the strategic action 64 indicated on the card. If a control card 52 is pulled, the holder must play the card. Because the strategy cards are kept face down so the strategic options provided by a card are unknown to all except the card holder until the card is played The Strategy Cards introduce an element of uncertainty into the game because the other players never know what strategic options are available to any one player at any point in the game and when those strategic options will be played. In an alternative embodiment, the order of play shown in FIG. 11 uses strategic cards but no control cards.

After the highest bidder 109 either buys title 120 or pulls and holds or plays a strategy card or pulls and plays a control card 134, players keep playing until the last title card has been pulled 140. If there remain patent titles 22 to be purchased players continue taking turns pulling 105 patent titles from the deck of patent titles and bidding on the purchase of those patent titles as indicated in steps 109. At the point the last patent title 22 has been pulled, players continue pulling and playing strategy cards or control cards 152. Preferably, play continues until all of the strategy cards have been pulled and played 162 but may end sooner by rules of the game or by agreement of the players. At that point each player reveals the five patent titles that were played face down throughout the game. Each player adds up 190 the dollar value of all the patent titles held by the player and all interests held by the player in the patents of others. The valuation of each patent and interest has been previously described. The winning player is the player whose patent assets add up to the most amount of money.

In an alternative embodiment, play continues as indicated in FIG. 11 except that the invention further comprises a set of tactical cards 66 as shown in FIG. 7. The tactical cards comprise a set of cards 67 that specify certain tactical actions 68 the holder of the card must take during the play of the game and are played face up. FIG. 12 shows an illustrative listing of a variety of tactical actions that a player must take depending on the tactical card drawn. For example, one card may require the holder to pay certain damages for trade theft secret 210. Another card awards the holder a specified amount of money for a successful marketing campaign 212. Yet another card declares the holder bankrupt and the holder loses a turn. These tactical actions are illustrative only and other tactical actions may be used with this invention.

In this embodiment and as shown in FIG. 13, play begins as described in FIG. 11 with steps 101 through 106 except that the tactical cards have also been shuffled and placed face down on the playing surface. Alternatively, play may continue without using control cards 40. For each patent title 22 drawn the players take turns bidding for the right to buy the patent. In this embodiment, the winning player 112 must decide whether to buy the patent title 22 or either pull and play or hold a strategy card 62 from the deck of strategy cards 60, pull and play a tactical card 67 from the deck of tactical cards 66, or pull and play a control card 52 from the deck of control cards 50. If the winning player decides to buy 120 the patent title, the purchase is made as described in FIG. 11 and the purchased patent title 22 is kept face up in front of the player for the remainder of the game. If the winning player decides to pull and play or hold a strategy card or pull and play a tactical or control card, the player pulls the respective card. If the card pulled is a strategic card, the player either holds the card face down for later play or plays it in the current round placing the card face up on the playing surface and taking the strategic action 64 indicated on the card. If the card pulled is a tactical or control card the player takes the action indicated on the card in the current round of play.

After the highest bidder 112 either buys title 120 or pulls and holds or plays a strategy card 134 or pulls and plays a tactical card or a control card, players keep playing until the last title card has been pulled 140. If there remains patent titles 22 to be purchased players continue taking turns pulling 105 patent titles from the deck of patent titles and bidding on the purchase of those patent titles as indicated in steps 112. At the point the last patent title 22 has been pulled 140, players continue pulling and playing strategy and control cards 154. Preferably, play continues until all of the strategy and control cards have been pulled but may end sooner by rules of the game or by agreement of the players. At that point each player reveals the five patent titles that were played face down throughout the game. Each player adds up 190 the dollar value of all the patent titles and interest held by the player. The valuation of the patents and interests in the patents of other players is as has been previously described. The winning player is the player whose patent titles add up to the most amount of money.

FIG. 14 shows a preferred illustrative order of play between players in connection with licensing a patent. Preferably, the licensing of a patent is initiated by control card 50 shown in FIGS. 7, 8 which instructs the holder to license-out or license-in a patent. Alternatively, licensing may be initiated in other ways such as by a different card, such as a strategy card 60 shown in FIGS. 7, 10, by some other form of indicator or by the election of a player during a turn or other rules of the game. Referring again to FIG. 14, initiation of a license activity starts 310 a license play. If a control or strategy card is involved in initiating the licensing activity, the card may indicate how the licensing activity is to be played. For example, a control card may instruct which player to license or to take a license from. The player who will take out the license or the player who will license his patent may be the player on the right or left of the cardholder or it may leave it up to the holder of the card or other rules of the game to pick that player. Alternatively, the card may designate a number to be used in counting down the players clockwise or counterclockwise to identify such player. If the control or strategy card is silent on which player the patent holder is to license then this determination is preferably made by the players other than the patent holder generating a number using number generator 40 with the player generating a predetermined number winning the right to license the patent 320. Preferably the player generating the highest number wins the right to license the patent but the lowest number or some other predetermined number may be used to determine which player wins the right to license the patent. In another example of play where the rules of the game allow a player to elect to license a patent during his turn on his own by simply announcing his intent to license without involvement of any card, that player may decide which other player to license. Alternatively, the player to be licensed may be determined in accordance with other rules for the game.

The price of the license is preferably determined by the player who is licensing the patent generating a number using number generator 40 to determine a multiple 330 for use in calculating the cost of the license. Alternatively, the control or strategy card initiating the licensing activity may specify the multiple. The cost of the license is then calculated by multiplying the multiple 330 by the cost to license 28 preferably found on patent title 22 shown in FIG. 2. The license activity ends 350 on payment of the cost of the license to the patent holder.

FIG. 15 shows an order of play for the preferred embodiment of play for a take-over of a patent by another player. The take-over begins 360 when a player plays a take-over control or strategy card as disclosed in connection with the previous figures. Alternatively, the take-over begins when a player lands on a Take-over space 694 on the illustrative game board shown in FIG. 20. In the next step 362, a target needs to be identified. Alternatively, play may allow for there to be more than one target in the take-over. Preferably, the target player is determined by random number generator 40, preferably by a roll of the dice. For example, the take-over player may roll the dice and starting with the person to his left, the take-over player may go around the table counting each player until arriving at the player at the bottom of the count. The player at the bottom of the count is the take-over target player. Alternatively, the target player may be decided in other ways including the take-over player himself deciding which player is to be the target.

In the preferred embodiment, only one patent of the target is the subject of the take-over. Alternatively, two or more patents may be subject of the take-over. In step 364, the take-over player decides which patent(s) will be the subject of the take-over. Preferably, the take-over player makes this selection. Alternatively, the selection may be dictated by the control or strategy or other card that allows for the take-over play. In step 366, the take-over player rolls the dice to determine a multiple for a tender offer for taking over the patent title of the target. The tender offer would preferably be calculated by multiplying this multiple by the cost to acquire the patent title. More specifically, and as previously discussed in connection with the patent title shown in FIG. 2, a cost to acquire 31 may be included on the patent title. Alternatively, the tender offer may be calculated by multiplying the multiple by a predetermined number such as $1 million dollar. Fixed and variable valuation of patents and interests described above may also be used.

In step 368, the target player may accept or reject the tender offer. If the target rejects the tender offer, the target rolls the dice to try to stop 370 the takeover. If the target rolls a number that is the same or higher than the number rolled by the take-over player in determining the multiple, the target has succeeded in stopping 372 the take-over and the game ends 390. If the target rolls a lower number than the number rolled by the take-over player, the tender offer made by the take-over player becomes the price for the take-over 380 of the patent of the target. If in step 368 the target player accepts the tender offer, the tender offer made by the take-over player becomes the price for the take-over 380 of the patent of the target. These examples are illustrative only and others may be used in practicing the invention.

As shown in FIG. 15, another player may become involved in play as a white knight. Alternatively, play may commence without a white knight in whether case the tender offer price 380 leads to an end 390 of this order of play. Preferably, the ability of another player to become a white knight depends upon if that player holds a card that allows the player to become a white knight. The player may hold such a card through a strategic card. Alternatively, as discussed below, each player may be provided with one or more white knight cards at the start of the game for use in playing the white knight in any take-over. If two or more players decide to play their white knight cards on the same take-over, these players may, for example, roll the dice against each other with the prevailing player preferably being the one that rolls the higher number. Alternatively, the prevailing player may be the one throwing the lower number or the decision as to which player is to be the white knight may be decided using other rules of the game.

If no other player enters the play as white knight, the tender offer made by the take-over player becomes the price for the take-over 380 and on payment of that price to the patent holder the take-over play is ended 390. If a white knight enters play 382, the white knight generates a number 384 to be used as a multiple for a tender offer made by the white knight. Preferably, the tender offer of the white knight is calculated by multiplying this multiple by the cost to acquire the patent title. Alternatively, the tender offer of the white knight may be the White Knight Price To Purchase 37 found on patent title 22 in FIG. 2. If the white knight's tender offer is higher than the tender offer of the take-over player 386, then the white knight's offer is the tender offer price 388. On payment of that price the white knight takes the patent from the target player and the take-over play is ended 390. If the white knight's tender offer is lower than the tender offer of the take-over player, then the take-over's offer is the tender offer price 387 and on payment of that price the white knight takes the patent and the take-over round of play is ended 388.

Any one player known as the litigating player may also initiate a litigation against any other players known as the target player. Alternatively, litigation may involve more than one litigating player and/or more than one target player. Preferably, the litigating player holds the patent that is litigated and the target is another player accused of infringing the patent. Alternatively, the target may be the player holding the patent and the litigating player is a player seeking to neutralize the patent by having the patent declared invalid, unenforceable or not infringed.

There may be one or more outcomes possible in a litigation, such as whether the patent is infringed, whether damages are owed for the patent infringement, the amount of damages owed for the infringement, whether the infringement is willful, whether the damages is to be enhanced due to the willful infringement, whether the target player found to infringe will be prevented from playing one or more rounds because of an injunction. FIGS. 16-19 show different embodiments for illustrative orders of litigation involving one or more of these outcomes. For example, in one embodiment, the litigation involves the litigating and target players determining whether there is infringement. In this embodiment, the consequences of that infringement, such as for example, the amount of damages and/or other outcomes of the litigation, may be determined by control card 52 or strategic card 62 or other rules of the game. In another embodiment, control card 52 or strategic card 62 may determine that a target player has infringed one or more patents of the patent holder. In this embodiment, the litigation may involve the players determining the amount of damages owed by the target for the infringement and/or the other outcomes of a litigation indicated above. Alternatively, the other outcomes of the litigation may be determined by control card 52 or strategic card 62 or by other rules of the game.

FIG. 16 shows a preferred illustrative order of play between a player who is litigating a patent of his against another player. In this example, control card 52 shown in FIGS. 7, 8 instruct the card holder to litigate his patent 86. Alternatively, a different card, such as a strategy card 62 may be used to initiate the litigation. In yet another alternative embodiment, where the rules of game may allow any player to elect to litigate a patent during his term by simply announcing his intent to litigate without resort to any card authorizing the litigation.

Initiation of a litigation activity starts 410 a litigation play. If a control or strategy card is involved in initiating the litigating activity, the card may indicate how the litigating activity is to be played. For example, a strategy card may instruct which patent the player is to litigate. Preferably, the litigating player makes this decision on his own. As yet another example, a control card may instruct which player is to be the target of the litigation. The card may identify this player as the player on the right or left of the card holder or it may leave it up to the card holder to pick the target player. Alternatively, the card may designate a method for determining the target. For example, the card may designate a count-down number to be used to determine the target. In this example, the card holder would count down the players clockwise or counterclockwise as the card may specify until he reaches the one count. The player identified at the one count is the target of the litigation in this example. In the preferred embodiment, the target is determined by the use of the number generator. Preferably, with reference to FIG. 16 each player other than the patent holder generates a number using number generator 40 with the player generating a predetermined number being the target of the litigation 420. Preferably the target is the player generating the lowest number but the target may be the player generating the highest number or the player generating some other number that may be specified by the rules of the game. For example, a control card authorizing the initiation of the litigation may indicate the target to be the player who generates a specified number, such as the number “7”. If no player generates this number using the random number generator then the litigation ends at that point. Alternatively, the players continue taking turns generating random numbers until one player generates the number indicated on the card. The player generating that number is the target in this example. In yet another alternative embodiment, the target may be any player selected by the litigating player or specified by the rules of the game.

In the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 16, the order of litigation continues with the litigating player and target player generating a number to determine whether the patent is infringed 440 by the target. Preferably, the patent is found to infringe if the litigating player generates a number that is higher than the number generated by the target player. Alternatively, the outcome of this step in the litigation may be determined by the target player generating a number that is higher than the number generated by the litigating player. In either embodiment, the outcome of this step in the litigation may be determined by the player generating the lower number or by some other number specified by the rules of the game. As yet another alternative, a two sided decision indicator 41 such as shown in FIG. 1 may be used to make this determination. Decision indicator 41 shows one side of the indicator indicating a “Y” for yes. Decision indicator 42 shows the other side of the indicator indicating an “N” for no. In this alternative, preferably the litigating player tosses the indicator. If the Y” side of the indicator shows face up the patent is infringed. If the decision indicator shows the “N” side face up the patent is not infringed. Alternatively, the decision indicator may be tossed by the target player. As yet another alternative embodiment, the outcome of the litigation may be determined by action between the litigating or target player and one or more of the other players as described herein.

If the patent is not infringed, that ends 490 the litigation. In an alternative embodiment, the order of play may provide for another step of the players determining whether damages are owed at all preferably by numbers generated using the number generator or by other rules of the game. In the preferred embodiment, if the patent is infringed, the damages for the infringement is presumed to exist and preferably determined by the litigating player generating a number using number generator 40 to determine a multiple 450 for use in calculating the damages. Alternatively, this damages multiple may be determined by a number generated by the target player or by one or more of the players not involved in the litigation. In yet another alternatively, a card, such as a control or strategy card initiating the litigation may specify the multiple. As yet another alternative, a set of sales cards may be used to determine this multiple such as of the type shown in FIG. 21. A discussion of the sales cards shown in that figure appears later in this specification.

The cost of the litigation is then calculated by multiplying the multiple 450 by the cost of infringement 38 preferably found on patent title 22 shown in FIG. 2. In alternative embodiments, the litigation may end at this point. In the preferred embodiment, the litigating player and target player then generate a number preferably using number generator 40 or by other rules of the game to determine if the infringement by the target player has been willful 460. If the litigating player generates a higher number than the number generated by the target player then the patent is found to willfully infringe the patent. Alternatively, this outcome may be determined by the target generating the higher number. In yet another embodiment, the decision may be determined by the use of a two sided decision indicator 41 shown in FIG. 1 as previously described. Preferably, the indicator is tossed by the litigating player. Alternatively, the indicator may be tossed by the target as previously described. This decision may also be determined by other rules of the game.

If the infringement is not willful, the damages for the infringement by the target 470 is in the amount determined at step 450. If the infringement is willful, a player, preferably the litigating player generates another number using number generator to determine a multiply by which the damages for the infringement are to be enhanced 480. The multiple may lie between and including the numbers 1 and 3. Preferably, one dice is used to determine the enhancement multiple with a roll of the numbers 1, 2 or 3, 4 or 5, 6 corresponding to an enhancement multiple of 1, 2 or 3, respectively. The litigation activity ends 490 on payment by the target of the damages.

In an alternative embodiment of an order of litigation play shown in FIG. 17 play continues as indicated in FIG. 16 or its alternatives with a number of differences. In one embodiment, the litigating player plays against one or more other players not part of the litigation in deciding the outcome of the litigation. More specifically, the number deciding whether there is infringement by the target is preferably determined by a number generated by the litigating player and one or more other players not involved in the litigation. Alternatively, whether there is infringement is determined by the target player playing against one or more players not part of the litigation. Preferably, the outcome of the litigation is decided by numbers generated by the litigating player and all of the other players not involved in the litigation 434. Alternatively, the litigating player may play against one player not involved in the litigation. This player may be selected by the litigating player or the target player. Alternatively, this player may be predetermined by game rules such as the first player to the right or left of the litigating player not involved in the litigation. As yet another embodiment, this player may be determined by a number generated by the litigating or other player using the number generator. In this embodiment, the number that is generated provides a countdown number for use in counting down the players to identify this other player in clockwise or counterclockwise fashion.

In the preferred embodiment, for the patent to be found infringed, the litigating player must generate a number that is higher than any of the numbers generated by the other players not involved in the litigation. Alternatively, the outcome of this step in the litigation may be determined by a two sided decision indicator 41, 42 such as shown in FIG. 1 and described above. In this alternative, the other players not involved in the litigation each toss the indicator. If when taken altogether a majority of the decision indicators show a “Y” the patent is infringed. In yet an alternative embodiment using a two sided decision indicator 41 if any one of the indicators show a “N”, the patent is not infringed.

Another difference between the operation of play shown in FIG. 17 and that shown in FIG. 16 may be found in the step of determining whether any damages are owed 454. In FIG. 17, whether the target owes damages for infringement is determined by numbers generated by the litigating player and one or more of the other players not involved in the litigation. Alternatively, this determination may be made by a play between the target and one or more other players not involved in the litigation. In the preferred embodiment, the litigating player must generate a number that is higher than any one of the numbers generated by the other players 444 for there to be any damages owed by the target player. Alternatively, the litigating player plays against one player not involved in the litigation. In this embodiment, the litigating player must generate a number that is higher than the number generated by this other player. This other player may be selected by the litigating player, the target player or be predetermined by the rules of the game.

In an alternative embodiment, the outcome of this step in the litigation may be determined by a two sided decision indicator 41, 42 such as shown in FIG. 1 and described above. In this alternative, the one or more other players not involved in the litigation each toss the indicator. If when taken altogether a majority of the decision indicators show a “Y” the patent is infringed. In yet an alternative embodiment using a two sided decision indicator 41, 42 if any one of the indicators show a “N”, then no damages are owed by the target player for the infringement.

Another difference between the order of play shown in FIG. 17 and FIG. 16 is that in FIG. 17, willful infringement is determined by a number generated by the litigating player and one or more of the players not involved in the litigation. In the preferred embodiment, for the infringement to be deemed to be willful, the litigating player must generate a number that is higher than any of the numbers generated by all the players not involved in the litigation. Alternatively, the litigating or the target player may play against any one or more of the players not involved in the litigation to determine whether the infringement was willful. The selection of the one or more players not involved in the litigation against whom the litigating player will play to determine the outcome—in this case whether the infringement is willful—is as previously described.

The order of play shown in FIG. 17 may end 490 after the steps of finalizing the amount of damages 470, 480. Preferably though and as shown in FIG. 17, the litigation continues with a determination of whether an injunction, attorney fees, costs, or other action 485 is to be taken against the target player. In this example, the litigating player is preferably playing against a single player not involved in the litigation. The identification of that player may be by selection by the litigating player or the target player. Alternatively, the identification of that player may be predetermined by game rules such as the first player to the right or left of the litigating or target player not involved in the litigation or by use of a countdown number as described above. Alternatively, the litigating player may play against some or all of the players not involved in the litigation. As yet another alternative, the litigating or the target player may play against any one or more of the other players not involved in the litigation.

As one example, to determine whether an injunction will issue, the litigating player plays against one player not involved in the litigation selected by the target player. Both players generate a number using the number generator. If the number generated by the other player is larger than the number generated by the litigating player an injunction will issue otherwise no injunction will issue for the infringement by the target player of the patent held by the litigating player. If in step 485, the outcome is that an injunction should be granted, the preferable penalty of the target for the injunction is to lose his turn in the next round of play. Alternatively, once an injunction is decided 485, the other player may use the number generator to generate a number to determine the number of turns the target player must miss because of the injunction. Preferably, the number generator used is one dice with the numbers 1, 2 and 3, 4 and 5, 6 shown on the throw indicating the loss of 1 and 2 and 3 turns, respectively. Alternatively, this number may be determined by a playing card.

Any blend of the orders of play shown in FIGS. 16 and 17 may also be used to play the game. For instance, one litigation decision such as whether there is infringement may be decided by a play between the litigating and the target players while another outcome such as damages may be decided by either litigating or target player playing against one or more other players. As yet another embodiment, any outcome may be determined by a play by one or more players other than the litigating and target player. For example, the patent infringement question may be decided by a player other than the litigating and target players using a number generator such as the yes/no indicator 41, 42. As yet another example, the question may be decided by two or more players other than the litigating and target player generating numbers which determine the outcome. In one case, for there to be infringement the two or more players must both toss a “yes” using the “yes/no” indicator. In another case, these two or more players form opposing sides that decide the outcome by playing against each other with the outcome decided by the number(s) that each group generates.

FIGS. 18A and 18B show an alternative embodiment of the order of play where a litigating player litigates more than one of his patents against a target player and in response the target player may counter litigate one or more of his patents against the litigating player. As shown in FIG. 18A the litigation begins 510 preferably when a card, such as a control or strategy card, held by a player allows the player to conduct this kind of litigation. In another embodiment of the game, the game rules may allow a player to initiate a litigation against a target player during his turn by simply announcing his intent to litigate his patents in this way without resort to special authorization from a playing card. Alternatively, play begins when a player lands on the Litigation Space 698 of the game board shown in FIG. 20. In the game board embodiment of the invention, the player landing on the litigation space may decide to litigate or forego litigating one or more patent against another player.

Referring again to FIGS. 18A, 18B, if a card is played that gives the player the option and the player decides to not litigate one or more of his patents against a target player that decision ends 530 the current round of play. If the decision is to litigate, the player decides which one or more patents to litigate and the order of their litigation 514. In the next step 516, a target needs to be chosen. Alternatively, the play may allow for the litigating player to litigate his patent against more than one target in the litigation. Preferably, the litigation commences against one target player only and the target player is determined by a roll of the dice. For example, the litigating player may roll the dice to determine a countdown number. Starting with the person to his left, the litigating player may go around the table counting each player until arriving at the player at the bottom of the count. The player at the bottom of the count is the Litigation Target Player. Alternatively, the target player may be decided in other ways including the litigating player deciding himself which player is to be the target or by the rules of the game. If the litigating player decides to litigate his one or more patents against more than one target player in this round of play, the other target players may be identified in the same way.

In this illustrative order of play, the litigating player may litigate one or more of his patents against one or more target players. In one embodiment, each target defends against the patent infringement charges as described in prior embodiments. In the preferred embodiment, the target player has the opportunity to interject one or more of his patents into the litigation. In this embodiment, both the litigating player and the target player, if the target player decides to counter litigate his patents against the litigating player, are each are litigating one or more patents of theirs against the other player. In step 518, the target player decides which, if any, one or more patents to litigate against the litigating player and the order of their litigation. Once the patents to be litigated are identified, the players put these patents on the playing surface so that the players know which patents are involved in the litigation and can follow the litigation.

The patent titles of the litigating player are litigated first. In step 520, starting with the first patent title of the litigating player, preferably the litigation player rolls the dice against the jury of one or more other players. If the litigation player rolls a higher than the individual roll of each juror, then the target player is found to infringe the litigated patent title of the litigating player. If any juror rolls the same or higher number than the litigation player, the litigation player loses the infringement suit as to that patent. Alternatively, the outcome of the litigation may be determined using any of the methods described in any of the illustrative orders of play described above.

In step 522, the steps taken in step 520 are repeated for every patent the litigation player is litigating in this round until every patent of the litigating player to be litigated in this round of play has been litigated. Steps 524 and 525 are similar to steps 520 and 522 except that the patents being litigated in these steps are the patents of the target player. The outcome of the litigation of these patents is determined by the target player rolling the dice against the jury of one or more other players. Similar to step 520, if the target player rolls a number that is higher than the individual roll of each juror the litigation player found to infringe the litigated patent of the target player. Alternatively, the outcome of the litigation may be determined using any of the methods described in any of the illustrative orders of play described above.

In step 526, damages are determined for each patent of the litigating player that the target player is found to infringe. In step 526 the damages owed by the target player for infringement of each patent are determined. Any of the methods previously described for determining damages may be used in the determination of damages in step 526. Step 527 is similar to step 526 except that in this step the damages determined are for each patent of the target player found to be infringed by the litigating player. Any of the methods previously described for determining damages may be used in the determination of damages in step 527. In step 528, the litigating and target player each tally up the damages each is owed by the other player for infringement of his patent(s) and each collects those damages from the infringing player. On payment of the damages, the litigation has ended 530.

FIG. 19 shows an alternative embodiment of a litigation between a litigating player against another player. In this embodiment, the target player is the player holding the patent title and the litigating player is seeking to knock the patent of the target player out of the game. Preferably, the litigating of a patent is initiated by control card 52 shown in FIG. 7 which instructs the holder to litigate a patent. Alternatively, litigating may be initiated in other ways such as by a different card, such as a strategy card 62 shown in FIG. 7, by some other form of indicator or by the election of a player to so litigate during a turn if the game rules allow a player to so litigate or by other rules of the game. Initiation of a litigation activity starts 550 a litigation play. If a control or strategy card is involved in initiating the litigating activity, the card may indicate how the litigating activity is to be played. For example, a control card may instruct which player to litigate against. The player may be the player on the right or left of the holder of the card or it may leave it up to the cardholder to pick that player. Alternatively, the card may designate a number to be used in counting down the players clockwise or counterclockwise to identify such player as previously described. If the control or strategy card is silent on which player the patent holder is to litigate then preferably the target is determined by the number generator. In this embodiment, players other than the patent holder generate a number using number generator 40 with the player generating a predetermined number being the target of the litigation 552. Preferably the player generating the lowest number is the target to the litigation but the player generating the highest number or some other predetermined number may be used to determine the target of the litigation. Where game rules allow a player to litigate a patent by announcing his intention to litigation during his turn without resort to authorization from a card, that player may decide which other player to litigate against. In determining the outcome of the litigation the litigation player may play against the target player or the litigating or target player may play against one or more other players as previously described. Preferably, the litigating player plays against the target player. If the litigating player generates a higher number 554 the patent is invalidated 558. If the litigating player generates the same or lower number than the number generated by the target player, the target player wins the litigation and the patent stays in the game 556. The play ends 560 after the steps 556 or 558 as the case may be occurs. At the end of the game, invalidated patents are not included in the valuation of a player's patent assets when determining who won the game. Patents that are not invalidated remain in the game.

FIG. 20 shows a further embodiment of the invention 600 comprising game board 601, patent title 20, currency 30, and number generator 40 shown and as previous described in FIG. 1, and strategic cards 60 and tactical card 66 shown and as previously described in FIG. 7. As shown in FIG. 20, game board 601 defines a roadway of technology/business spaces. In the preferred embodiment, the roadway begins at one corner of a four sided board identified as the Start Space 692 and runs along the four sides of the board. Along the way, the road way passes through three other corners of the board which are designated as Take-Over Space 694, Lotto Space 696, and Litigation Space 698. In between corner spaces of the game board lie seven Technology/Business Spaces 602-628, Strategic Option Spaces 654, 656, 664, 666, 674, 676, 684, and 686 Tactical Option Spaces 652, 658, 662, 668, 672, 678, 682, and 688. Alternatively, the board may be shaped to have other than a four sides and the roadway may pass across the board in other than along the sides of the board. FIGS. 22-24 show alternative roadways that may be used in this inventive game. It will be appreciated that the embodiments provided are illustrative embodiments only and other embodiments may be used to practice this invention.

Referring again to FIG. 20, technology/business spaces 601-628 correspond to the technology/business spaces appearing in FIG. 6 having the valuation and cost to buy the technology/business space as shown in that figure and as previously described. For example, technology/business space 628 in FIG. 20 corresponds to the software technology/business space that in FIG. 6 is indicated to have a valuation of 28 and an associated $28M cost to buy the technology/business space. As another example, technology/business space 608 in FIG. 20 corresponds to the casino & gaming technology/business space that in FIG. 6 is indicated to have a valuation of 8 and an associated $8M cost to buy the technology/business space.

Referring again to FIG. 20, Tactical Option Spaces 652, 658, 662, 668, 672, 678, 682, and 688 provide a player with tactical options. Preferably, tactical cards 66 shown described in connection with FIG. 12 provide the range of options available to a player landing on a Tactical Option Space. Strategic Option Spaces 654, 656, 664, 666, 674, 676, 684, and 686 provide a player with strategic options. Preferably, strategy cards 60 shown described in connection with FIG. 10 provide the range of options available to a player landing on a Strategic Option Space

In addition to a set of strategic cards 60 and tactical cards 66, the game may also come with a set of sales cards as described in connection with FIG. 21, for such use as, for example where the infringement damages in an order of litigation play are determined using sales cards as described above. FIG. 21 shows an illustrative number of sales 710 for a first illustrative set of sales cards having a sales card distribution 720 skewed toward higher volumes of sales and a second illustrative set of cards having a sales card distribution 730 skewed toward lower volume of sales. A game board provided with a set of sales cards having a sales distribution skewed toward larger infringing sales 720 may incentivize a player to license the patent to forego the risk of having these high multiples apply in the determination of litigation damages. A game board provided with a set of sales cards skewed toward a lower volume of sales 730 may bias the player to risk the litigation.

Referring again to FIG. 20, patent title 20, currency 30, and number generator 40 used in this embodiment are as shown and described in connection with FIG. 1. Individual patent title 22 of the set of patent title 20 are as shown and described in connection with FIG. 2. The game of FIG. 20 also comes with several Game Pieces 73 shown in FIG. 7 that are unique pieces used to identify each player. The game pieces are used by each player to move around the roadway of technology/business spaces on game board 601. Preferably, game pieces are similarly shaped pieces each being of a different color to uniquely identify each player. Alternatively, each game piece may distinguish from each other game piece such as by having a different shape. Associated with each game piece is a set of place markers such as Licensing Placemarker 70, 10% Interest Placemarker 71, Distributor Placemearker 72, Manufacturing Factory Placemarker 74, Exclusive Licensing Placemarker 75, Sales Office Placemarker 76 and Equal Partnership Placemarker 78. Other place markers representing other interests that may be created on a technology/business space may also be used. As described below, the game progresses with each player using his Game Piece 73 to travel the business roadway defined by the game board. The placemarkers are used by each player to designate any license, exclusive license, investment, partnership, manufacturing facility, sales office, or other interest the player may create in any Technology/Business Space he owns.

Before the start of the game, each player is provided with a game piece and a set of associated place markers. Every player also receives from the bank a certain amount of money in certain specified denominations. In the preferred embodiment, each player is provided with $100 million in cash broken down among the following currency denominations as shown in FIG. 4. Alternatively, currency 30 may comprise a set of chips one each of which is associated with the currency previously described. In the preferred embodiment, every player also receives from the bank one (1) 50% Partnership Play Card 77 and three (3) 10% Equity Investor Play Cards 79 shown in FIG. 7. These cards provide a player with a further option of taking a 50% or 10% interest in a Technology/Business Space on which a player may land during the course of the game upon payment of the cost required to take this interest as described below. Every player places his game piece on Start Space 692. The players take turns rolling the die to decide who goes first and play begins with the highest roller with play advancing clockwise.

Players take turns moving their game pieces around the game board to the roll of the dice, landing on a different technology/business or other space (such as a Tactical Space, a Strategy Space, a Take-Over Space, a Litigation Space or Lotto Space) with each roll. The space the player lands upon determines the range of options available to that player in the current round of play.

When a player lands on a technology/business space, if the patent has not already been purchased by another player, the player has the option of buying the associated patent and staking a claim to that technology/business space. The, patent title 22 referred to and described in connection with FIG. 2 provides the purchase price of the patent 25. The preferred or the alternative embodiments for pricing the patent as previously described may be used.

If another player holds a strategic option card that gives that player a right to use that card to buy any patent title and that player plays that card, then that other player trumps the first player and obtains the right to purchase that patent title. The cost of the purchase may be as previously described. Alternatively, the card may specify the purchase price for that play.

If the technology/business space on which a player lands is already owned by another player, preferably the player must deal with the patent in one of three ways. He can take out a license under the patent. He can play any of the cards he holds that may allow him to take an interest in the patent. If either the player refuses to take out a license or play any card that would give him an interest in the patent or the patent holder refuses to grant a license, then the player must face a lawsuit against the patent holder to determine whether the player infringes the patent of the patent holder and the amount of payment owed for the infringement.

The order of play for taking out a license may be as described in steps 330, 340 of the illustrative embodiment described in FIG. 14 above. The order of play for litigating may be as described in 430, 440, 450, 460, 470, 480 of FIG. 16 The order of play for a player who decides to play his 50% Partnership Play Card 77 or his 10% Equity Investor Play Cards 79 shown in FIG. 7 is in accordance with the order of play specified on the card. Preferably, the card provides the holder with the outright interest in the patent with the cost for buying that interest provided on the schedule of the patent title as described in connection with FIG. 2. The orders of play described are illustrative only and other orders of play may be used in connection with licensing or litigating a patent.

In dealing with the patent, the player may also play any unused strategic cards the player may have collected over the course of the game. For example, a player landing on a technology/business space that has decided to litigate the patent instead of taking out a license under it may decide to play a strategic card that wins the patent litigation for the cardholder outright or that provides some other defense to the patent. For example, the strategic card may be a Patent is Not Infringed Card 92 shown in FIG. 10 which allows the player to win the litigation against the patent holder and not have to take out a license under the patent. As another example, the card may cap the infringement damages that the player may owe to the patent holder at a specified amount. In this example, the player may commence with the order of play in the litigation as previously described. If he is found to not infringe or to infringe but owe no damages, the player may choose not to play the card which would cap his damages to the amount specified in the card. But the order of play in determining damages results in the player owing significant damages, the player may then opt to play his damages cap card to cap those damages to the amount specified on the card.

If a player lands on either a Strategy Space or a Tactical Space, the player draws a strategy card 60 or a tactical card 66, as the case may be. Preferably, strategy cards are always kept face down from out of the view of the other players and need not be played in the current round but can be used by the Player in any later round of play. Tactical cards once drawn are displayed face up and must be played in the current round of play.

If a player lands on Litigation Space 698, the order of litigation is preferably that illustrated in FIGS. 19A and 19B. Alternatively, the game may provide the litigation to be any of the other illustrated litigation orders of play previously described.

If a player lands on the Take-Over Space, the player can play to acquire a Technology/Business Space of another player. Preferably, the illustrative embodiment may be the order of play shown in FIG. 15.

If a player lands on the Lott Space 696, preferably, the player wins a predetermined amount of value. The amount may be an amount of money which may be set, such as one million dollars, or increased depending on other factors, such as by a multiple determined by a the number shown on the dice already thrown or by another roll of the dice. In an alternative embodiment, the player may keep a predetermined value, such as $100,000, or play to increase that amount through further lotto gaming. As one example of lotto gaming, a player may bet that he will roll a specified number. If he rolls that number, the player collects a million dollars or alternatively a million dollars times the number shown on the dice. If the player loses the further lotto bet, the player loses the One Million Dollars. Other rules may also be provided

As play advances, every player has opportunities to grow technology/business spaces he may own in a number of ways. For example, a player may invest in a manufacturing facility(s), sale(s), distribution(s) office and/or additional patent assets on his technology/business space. The cost of these assets is preferably specified on the patent title as described in connection with FIG. 2. At the end of the game, each player adds up the value of all of his assets. For example, a player who owns a patent and a manufacturing site on his technology/business space would include the value of the patent and manufacturing site along with amount of cash he has on hand in the calculation of the net worth of his assets. These values may be determined in the manner described herein (e.g., FIG. 2 patent title held by the player) or by other rules of the game. If a player holds a license or a minority interest for example in the patent held by another, the player would calculate the value of those assets in the manner described herein (e.g., Figure patent title held by the other player) or by other rules of the game. The player whose cumulative net worth is the highest wins the game.

The more assets that a player is able to create on his technology/business space the greater value that technology/business space becomes to the player. This is true not only in increasing the end game net worth of the player but also in increasing the cash flow of the player during the play of the game. For example, the valuation to be used for the patent title, each manufacturing plant, each sales office, each distributor, and each additional software patent on the software technology/business space may be 28, 5, 3, 1, and 6, respectively. For a different patent, such as the casino and gaming technology/business space, these valuations may be 3, 5, 3, 1 and 1, respectively. Should a player land on a technology/business space which has assets on it other than the patent title, the cost of the license 28 shown on patent title 22 would preferably be determined first by summing up the total “value” of all of the assets on the technology/business space. The schedule of the value of assets is preferably found on the patent title as described in connection with FIG. 2. Then the net worth value of the assets would be calculated preferably in accordance with step 340 of FIG. 14.

Previously described in connection with FIG. 7 was a set of place markers such as Licensing Placemarker 70, 10% Interest Placemarker 71, Distributor Placemearker 72, Manufacturing Factory Placemarker 74, Exclusive Licensing Placemarker 75, Sales Office Placemarker 76 and Equal Partnership Placemarker 78. Other place markers representing other interests that may be created on a technology/business space may also be used. Whenever any time a player takes any one of these interests in the patent held by another, the player marks his interest in that patent by placing the appropriate placemarker directly on the technology/business space of the patent holder.

If a player owns more than one patent from a technology/business sector the value of each patent (see Technology Sectors in FIG. 3) then the value of each patent held by that player in that technology sector may increase. For example, if a player owns two patents in a technical sector—such as the Software and Internet technology/business space/patent in the Technology Sector shown in FIG. 3—, the cost of infringement and the value of each patent may be increased, for example, by a factor of 10. In this case the value of the software patent may be 280 and the value of the internet patent 250. If a player owns all three patents in a sector, the cost of infringement and the value of each patent may be increased, for example, by a factor of 100.

In the illustrative embodiments described above, a player taking an interest in the patent of another player takes that interest for the remainder of the game. In an alternative embodiment, the interest acquired by a player may be limited to one or a limited number of rounds of play. For example, if a license may be purchased for only one round of play, that license holder will be immunized from infringement only should that player land on that same space the next time around the board. If a license is purchased for 2 or 3 or more rounds of play, then the player would be immunized from infringement should the player land on that technology/business space for the number of times around the board that that player is licensed. To track whether a license of a player is still in place throughout the game, when the license is obtained a license place holder 70 would be placed on the patent space indicating how many times around the board the license is good for. Preferably, one license placeholder 70 would used for each year of the license so that if a player takes a three year license, the player would place three license placeholders 70 on the patent that technology/business space of the licensed patent. Every time the player passes that technology/business space the player removes one placeholder from the space. When the player has passed that patent space that final time around the board, there would be no more licensing placeholders on that space indicating that the player no longer holds a license under that patent. Should the player subsequently land on that space in a later round, that player would need to deal with the infringement as any other player would who finds himself without any license on that technology/business space.

FIGS. 22-24 show alternative embodiments of the board game which are played much like the order of play in the game board of FIG. 20 but with certain further illustrative orders of playing the game. These embodiments are illustrative only and other orders of play are within the scope of the invention.

FIG. 22 shows a game board where the players begin at Start Space 692. Using the number generator the players advance their game piece to the circular roadway which comprises similar spaces as described in connection with the game board of FIG. 20. Preferably, players move clockwise around the circle. A transition space 695 is used to exit the circular roadway to advance to end space 699. In the preferred embodiment, any player landing on transition space 695 must exit the circular roadway bringing an end to his play. Alternatively, players continue traveling the circular roadway until all the patents have been acquired. As yet another embodiment, players continue around the circular roadway a specified number of times defined by the rules of the game or by agreement of the players. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 22, reserved spaces 697 are provided to instruct that certain other actions be taken by a player. The action may be specified on the game board such as move back or forward a certain number of spaces, trade places with another player, or some other action. The action may also be of a kind specified in control, tactical or strategic cards. As yet another embodiment, still other actions may be defined by another set of cards used in the game.

FIG. 23 shows yet another embodiment of the game board with an order of play similar to the order of play used in FIG. 22 except that two circular roadways are used in this embodiment. The circular roadway that each player first enters contains all of the patent titles provided for by the game. In this embodiment, players continue advancing around this first circular roadway until either each of the patents is held by the players or a player lands on transition space 695. In the former case, all players and in the latter case, only the player landing on transition space 695 advances through the pathway connecting the first circular roadway to the second circular roadway. The players advance around the second circular roadway taking the tactical, strategic and other actions provided by that second circular roadway for a specified number of rounds provided by the game rules or until the next to last player has landed on transition space 680 and advanced out of the circular roadway to the end 699 of game.

FIG. 24 shows still another embodiment of the game board with an order of play similar to the order of play used in FIG. 23 except that a winding road is used in place of the first circular roadway shown in FIG. 23 as the pathway that defines which patents will be held by which player.

It will be appreciated that more advanced forms of play are within the scope of this invention. For example, in one advanced play, a player may obtain an “exclusive license” under the patent of another player. In this embodiment, when another player lands on the patent title in which a first player holds an exclusive license, preferably the player holding the exclusive license and not the patent holder decides how to deal with the infringement by the player landing on that space. In this case, the licensing and litigation orders of play are the same as described above except that the exclusive licensee and not the patent holder is the player involved in the licensing or litigation orders of play. A game piece such as the one that signifies the letter “E” may be used to mark the exclusive license interest held by a player in a patent. As another example of an advanced order of play, should a player be deemed to infringe the patent of another player, the infringing player and the patent holder may negotiate a cross-license of one or more of their patents in order to address the infringement. As one example of a cross-license, the infringing player may grant the patent holder a license under one of his patents in exchange for a license under the patent that is infringed. The players may grant the cross-license without any further payment by one player to the other. Alternatively, the players may negotiate which player is to pay the other for the cross license depending on which player holds the patent that is of greater value.

While the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments, it is evident that numerous alternatives, modifications, and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art within the spirit and scope of the invention described above.





 
Previous Patent: Puzzle

Next Patent: Dual game with chess