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Is it possible to patent the game play for a game which can only be played on the internet and doesn't exist already?

I assume the answer is yes, but since the game is played using computer software i'm not sure.

If it is possible, what type of patent would be used?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes it is possible. There are many, many existing patents related to games played on standalone computers and on networked computers.

One example

Community poker card game online playing system

US 8388428 B

Pen-One, Inc.

Mar 5, 2013

If you go to google patents and search for "game internet" and restrict the search to granted patents and to U.S. patents you will see many more examples.

You ask "what kind of patent?" Between design patents, utility patents and the somewhat obscure plant patents, the only choice for something functional is a utility patent. Within a utility patent there can be method claims to the steps involved, system claims, apparatus claims and claims to the recorded media with the software on it.

Avoiding your claims being seen now as merely an abstract idea takes quite a bit of expertise in patent drafting. Avoiding them being seen as abstract by judges in the future requires a crystal ball. A case pending now at the Supreme Court may clear it up somewhat.

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Thanks for your great explanation George White! To save initial costs would filing a provisional patent and then converting it to a utility patent make sense? Thanks! – RDotLee Feb 28 '14 at 16:08

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