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If one was to combine two different variations of sport in a manner that has not been done before, can this new hybrid sport be patented?

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  1. Not all novel combinations are non-obvious.

  2. In most countries the rules of a sport would not qualify as patentable subject matter even if non-obvious. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patentable_subject_matter.

Sometimes a set of rules can try to qualify as a process, such as in the following patent on a chess variant: https://patents.google.com/patent/US9643079B2/en

However I don't think the validity of such "set of rules" patents has withstood serious challenge in court.

Naturally, if a novel sport requires some form of novel (and non-obvious) equipment is it frequently possible to obtain a patent on the equipment.

At least in U.S., it is possible to obtain patents on novel (and non-obvious) "manual methods" of using existing equipment, and design the rules of the sport to require (or at least favor) the use of the patented method.

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  • Very nice answer. Perhaps you could explain or distinguish between sports and games. Game patents are, I believe, a thing. Your chess example is a game.
    – Eric S
    Mar 14 at 2:39
  • @EricS I thought about that but then I found it challenging to draw the line between sports and games. For example, many consider chess to be a sport as well (in which case the chess variant would be an example of a sport that has been the subject of a U.S. patent). Both sports and games are based on sets of rules which are not per se patent-eligible (but can sometimes be cast as process claims that test the boundaries of patent eligibility). Offhand, I don't see why one couldn't write the refereeing of soccer also as a process claim. Mental activity plus raising a card is like moving a piece.
    – bhuff36
    Mar 14 at 18:10

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