After coming up with a great new idea or concept for a game, it is important to protect it from being copied by others. However, the steps to patent a game idea are a bit different from other inventions. This is because a patent for a game falls into the category of intellectual property and the rules governing ideas are not the same as they are for physical inventions. The difference is that a game patent protects only the representation of the idea for the game and not a game itself.
The first step that needs to be taken in order to patent a game is to create detailed documentation that accurately represents the game concept. This documentation is important when it comes to patenting a game and must include at least a detailed description of the concept, game rules and a rough drawing of what the game design or set-up is going to be.
A patent for a game cannot be awarded as long as no prototype is available. This means that some creativity is required to build a playing board, pieces, cards and whatever other parts may be necessary for the game play. These prototypes to patent a game do not have to be professionally done, but the general idea should be easy to recognize and associated with the written description.
Testing the concept is another important step before the patent for a game can be acquired. This is easily done once the prototype is ready to be used. However, it is not a good idea to publish the concept online like on social networking sites or a blog. This is because the idea can be stolen and someone else can obtain the patent for this game. This would ruin any chances of successfully filing to patent a game idea. Only people who can be trusted should be asked to test out the game idea, such as family or old friends.
Before a patent for a game idea can be issued, though, it is necessary to ensure that the idea is actually new and does not infringe upon any previously patented intellectual material. Therefore, some research is required before applying to patent a game. There are many official online resources that can be used to check whether or not an idea for a game is innovative, unfamiliar and original enough to be patented. It is wise to check out as many resources as possible to be on the safe side. Some companies offer patent search services and although they cost a bit of money, they know what they are doing and have many resources available which in the end can make the process for patenting a game simpler and quicker.
Finally, the application to patent a game has to be filed with the USPTO. Always keep in mind that to patent a game or any other invention an official application has to be filed and this will cost money. There are two options for filing for a game patent. One is the regular patent application which is quite expensive and takes roughly three years to be approved. The other option to patent a game is apply for a provisional patent. This is cheaper and more quickly processes than the regular application, but before an official patent for a game is awarded the regular application still has to be filed.