We started developing the concept of an Alphanumeric Player Created Draw Based Lottery Game on May 1st, 2013. That is now 924 Days ago and well, about 80,000,000 seconds ago for those who like big numbers. No point in recounting the Patent Attorney fees because in the long run it will turn out to be a great investment. Here is a summary of the steps in the journey.
The process begins with an idea and moves on to Research via the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. That is www.uspto.gov if you have an idea of your own you want to check out. Finding nothing even close we next hired a fantastic Patent Attorney. They described the concept and first filed a Provisional Patent Application. This creates an initial effective date when the idea is filed and opens a one year window to complete further research and if the idea still looks to meet the general requirement of being “novel and non-obvious” to decide and file a Non-Provisional Patent Application. Professional research continued to find no similar “Prior Art” as it is referred to.
We decided to pay higher fees and file ours “Track One” that assures Initial Office Action within 12 months. In lieu of that, it could be twice that long or longer.
Then the waiting begins. Because Gaming is of necessity a highly regulated business we could not do too much other than learn more about the industry, key players and make some initial contacts. Our Business Plan always has been and remains to License the Intellectual Property, the “use” of the Patent once issued, to the largest global game manufacturers who serve State and Country Lotteries and not to become a manufacturer. However, having a “Pending Patent Application” is of little comfort to manufacturers as the risk to them of developing games without that protection is too high.
Waiting is time to think about other applications and markets for the Alphanumeric Game concept in addition to Lotteries. We knew there were potential applications in Casino and the very early stage Online Casinos and others. This led us to think more broadly about different game types and resulted in the subsequent filing of three additional Patent Applications, one specifically covering an Alphanumeric Slot Game and the other two covering distinctly different versions of the Lottery and Slot Games. We also applied for US and International Trademarks.
We used this time to conduct many Google Surveys to measure player and current non-player interest in Lottery and Slot games of these types. The results were very encouraging, showing a significant degree of interest in both games and with players and non-players as well. Of particular note is that the interest was highest, hitting 70% in the most sought after 18 to 44 age bracket, and higher with females even than males. Younger generations are looking for something new and are used to everything being customizable. This is exactly what can make these games more engaging and personal.
Additionally we have developed prototype versions of both a Lottery Online Instant Game and a Slot Game to show the concept as we started to introduce the ideas to more people. This gives them actual, but “just for fun”, experience playing Lottery and Slot Games they customize to their own personal likes and interests. The feedback has been very positive and confirms the belief that there really is nothing else like this out there. It is Revolutionary, not Evolutionary!
The proof is in the Patent and we are glad to say the Alphanumeric Slot Patent has now been Issued as has the Trademark. We encourage Inventors to pay the extra Filing Fee if possible for the Track One process as our Slot Application was under 14 months from filing to issue! Finding a great Patent Attorney is key.
The next phase we are now embarking on is licensing the IP. We are hopeful that we can have a real money game available for play online before we hit the 100,000,000 seconds since inception mark. We are thoroughly enjoying the process, challenged and learning at every step, and encourage you if you have a creative problem solving idea to check it out. If it is novel and it has significant scale potential to go for it! Just remember that “overnight success” can easily take years!