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?

  • Provisional patent applications were partly intended to help solo inventors inexpensively attain a limited, temporary form of protection while gauging the commercial viability of an invention. (Once you file the provisional, you no longer have to rely on non-disclosure agreements, and can put the intellectual property into the public domain with the right to subsequently file a nonprovisional application. Provisional applications only last for one year, but you can re-file a provisional, with the downside being losing the priority date of the original provisional.)
    – DukeZhou
    Aug 29, 2018 at 19:18

1 Answer 1


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.

  • 2
    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, 2014 at 16:08

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