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In re Smith

Representative Claim

  1. A method of conducting a wagering game comprising:

[a] ) a dealer providing at least one deck of physical playing cards and shuffling the physical playing cards to form a random set of physical playing cards;
[b] ) the dealer accepting at least one first wager from each participating player on a player game hand against a banker’s/dealer’s hand;
[c] ) the dealer dealing only two cards from the random set of physical playing cards to each designated player and two cards to the banker/dealer such that the designated player and the banker/dealer receive the same number of exactly two random physical playing cards;
[d] ) the dealer examining respective hands to determine in any hand has a Natural 0 count from totaling count from cards, defined as the first two random physical playing cards in a hand being a pair of 5’s, 10’s, jacks, queens or kings;
[e] ) the dealer resolving any player versus dealer wagers between each individual player hand that has a Natural 0 count and between the dealer hand and all player hands where a Natural 0 is present in the dealer hand, while the dealer exposes only a single card to the players;
[f] ) as between each player and the dealer where neither hand has a Natural 0, the dealer allowing each player to elect to take a maximum of one additional card or standing pat on the initial two card player hand, while still having seen only one dealer card;
[g] ) the dealer/banker remaining pat within a first certain predetermined total counts and being required to take a single hit within a second predetermined total counts, where the first total counts range does not overlap the second total counts range;
[h] ) after all possible additional random physical playing cards have been dealt, the dealer comparing a value of each designated player’s hand to a final value of the banker’s/dealer’s hand wherein said value of the designated player’s hand and the banker’s/dealer’s hand is in a range of zero to nine points based on a pre-established scoring system wherein aces count as one point, tens and face cards count as zero points and all other cards count as their face value and wherein a two-digit hand total is deemed to have a value corresponding to the one’s digit of the two-digit total;
[i] ) the dealer resolving the wagers based on whether the designated player’s hand or the banker’s/dealer’s hand is nearest to a value of 0.

Posture:

Appeal from final decision of Patent Trial and Appeal Board, 2014 WL 6901427, Appeal 2012-009025

Abstract Idea: Yes

The Federal Circuit found that the applicant’s claims were “directed to rules for conducting a wagering game,” similar to other “fundamental economic practice[s]” found abstract by the Supreme Court.  Specifically, “[a] wagering game is, effectively, a method of exchanging and resolving financial obligations based on probabilities created during the distribution of the cards.  Relying on Supreme Court precedent, the Federal Circuit found the recited “method of conducting a wagering game” was “drawn to an abstract idea much like Alice ‘s method of exchanging financial obligations and Bilski ‘s method of hedging risk.”  The Federal Circuit concluded by comparing the recited claims to its own case law, finding “the rejected claims, describing a set of rules for a game, [were] drawn to an abstract idea.”

Something More: No

The Federal Circuit found that the applicant’s claims were “directed to rules for conducting a wagering game,” similar to other “fundamental economic practice[s]” found abstract by the Supreme Court.  Specifically, “[a] wagering game is, effectively, a method of exchanging and resolving financial obligations based on probabilities created during the distribution of the cards.  Relying on Supreme Court precedent, the Federal Circuit found the recited “method of conducting a wagering game” was “drawn to an abstract idea much like Alice ‘s method of exchanging financial obligations and Bilski ‘s method of hedging risk.”  The Federal Circuit concluded by comparing the recited claims to its own case law, finding “the rejected claims, describing a set of rules for a game, [were] drawn to an abstract idea.”