I have an idea for a new derivative of chess. Its very different board game. With the movement logics modified. Though the winning is still the same (the king's death) and also the horse's move is same.

So my question is can I file a patent for my idea. Please help me. And also if anyone can tell me if there are patents involved with chess, so that I don't infringe one unintentionally.


Games are patentable subject matter in the U.S. and have been covered by both apparatus claims and method claims. There are many many patents on "proprietary" card games involving betting that are variations on poker, etc. There are patents on method of playing certain board games.

The fact that chess, as is normally played, is old does not mean one can't come up with a new game that is similar but different from chess.

However, after the Supreme Court Bilski decision the art unit at the USPTO responsible for game patents seems to be taking the position that it is all abstract and they will no longer allow anything unless you appeal and win the appeal. If it is "computer implemented", then arguably a machine is involved and that might be seen as not abstract.

Also you can have a board game considered if you have some unique, functional physical structure to the game pieces. That would not be your case if you are using standard chess pieces. I did see a patent on a game with pieces that could come apart. If you lose an arm in game play, the piece looses an arm.

Here is a patent on a non-standard way to play chess. The claims only cover a computer implemented version.

Inverse chess US 8302969

  • thanks a lot for the info ..as i said (only the winning condition and the horse's moves a re he same) ..rest its all entirely different ..and i was motivated to ask the question, after i had seen this and other chess related patents :) ..guess i will have to try put my luck, by filing one :) :) ..btw, can u tell me as to how much time and money needs to be invested ..approx value ..I want to file an international patent with PCT. – croyneaus4u Jan 6 '14 at 6:08
  • Before going with a PCT application I would look into the countries you are interested in. It may that games are just not patentable in most foreign locations. Most places outside the U.S. want "industrial applicability" while the U.S. uses the term "useful". We think games are useful. --- Giving a very wide range, a U.S. patent, start to end, might be $5k - $15k. – George White Jan 6 '14 at 7:09

Seeing as how the modern rules of chess is unaltered since say, 1972? And basically unchanged for 400 years, All patentability is forfeit. Copyright on rule text or images might get you into more trouble. But that's a question for a different forum.

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