Search Team

Search by Last Name
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z

Planet Bingo v. VKGS

Representative Claim

7. A method for playing a game of Bingo which comprises the steps of:
(a) providing a system for managing a game of Bingo which comprises: a computer with a central processing unit (CPU) and with a memory and with a printer connected to the CPU; an input and output terminal connected to the CPU and memory of the computer; and a program in the computer enabling:
(i) input of at least two sets of Bingo numbers which are preselected by a player for repetitive play in games of Bingo over a period of time;
(ii) storage of the sets of Bingo numbers which are preselected by the player as a group in the memory of the computer;
(iii) assignment of a player identifier unique to the player for the group having the sets of Bingo numbers which are preselected by the player wherein the player identifier is assigned to the group for multiple sessions of Bingo;
(iv) retrieval of the group using the player identifier;
(v) selection from the group by the player of at least one of the sets of Bingo numbers preselected by the player and stored in the memory of the computer as the group for play in a selected game of Bingo in a specific session of Bingo wherein a number of sets of Bingo numbers selected for play in the selected game of Bingo is less than a total number of sets of Bingo numbers in the group;
(vi) addition by the computer of a control number for the set of Bingo numbers which is selected by the player for play in the selected game of Bingo;
(vii) output of a receipt with the control number, the set of Bingo numbers which is selected for play in the selected game of Bingo, a price for the set of Bingo numbers which is selected for play in the selected game of Bingo, a date of the selected game of Bingo and optionally a computer identification number; and
(viii) output for verification of a winning set of Bingo numbers by means of the control number which is input into the computer by a manager of the game of Bingo;
(b) playing the game of Bingo using the set of Bingo numbers wherein the player signals a Bingo to indicate the set of Bingo numbers which is selected for play in the selected game of Bingo is the winning set of Bingo numbers; and
(c) verifying the winning set of Bingo numbers with the control number with the program.

Posture:

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan (Case No.: 12-CV-0219)

Abstract Idea: Yes

At step one of the Alice/Mayo framework, the Federal Circuit found that “[t]he district court correctly concluded that managing the game of bingo consists solely of mental steps which can be carried out by a human using pen and paper.”  Thus, the Federal Circuit found the claims on appeal similar to those deemed abstract in the Supreme Court’s Gottschalk v. Benson, 409 U.S. 63 (1972), decision.  Like the claims on appeal, the claims in Benson could “be carried out in existing computers long in use” or “mentally.”  The Federal Circuit went on to characterize the claims of the ’646 and ’045 Patents as directed to the abstract idea of . . . minimizing [] security risks during bingo ticket purchases,” and therefore viewed the claimed subject matter on appeal as substantially similar to Alice (mitigating settlement risk in financial transactions) and Biliski (risk hedging during consumer transactions).

Something More: No

The Federal Circuit’s brief analysis at step two of the Alice/Mayo framework notes that the claims on appeal merely “recite a generic computer implementation of the covered abstract idea.”  Arguments by the appellant/patent owner that the invention “includes complex computer code” were dismissed as inconsistent with the claim language.  On this point, the Federal Circuit stated:

“Planet Bingo argues that the patents recite ‘significantly more’ than an abstract idea because the invention includes ‘complex computer code with three distinct subparts.’ Appellant’s Br. 33, 38. We disagree. The ’646 and ’045 patents do not claim the ‘accounting program,’ ‘ticket program,’ and ‘verification program’ that Planet Bingo identifies in its briefs. Instead, the claims recite a program that is used for the generic functions of storing, retrieving, and verifying a chosen set of bingo numbers against a winning set of bingo numbers. And, as was the case in Alice, ‘the function performed by the computer at each step of the process is ‘[p]urely conventional.’’ Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2359 (quoting Mayo, 132 S. Ct. at 1298).”