Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 10:00:17 -0700
From: Cyberspace Liaison (liaison@WIZARDS.COM)
Subject: Wizards News
Wizards of the Coast, Inc. Granted Patent
October 15, 1997 (Renton, Wash.) -- Wizards of the Coast Inc., developer and publisher of the world's bestselling trading card games, most notably Magic: The Gathering(R), has been granted a patent on the Trading Card Game Method of Play by the U.S. Patent Office.
This little missive has engendered all manner of dire portents.
To my untrained eye, most of the claims are fairly specific and would only cover real Magic knock-offs (fair enough IMHO). But claim 3 seems to grant WotC a patent on the meta-game of deck building, which is a hard blow but I think it also may be a fair call. It seems to me Mr Garfield came up with a powerful idea there and, using our current legal concepts of intellectual property, is now gonna lean on all the folks that ran with that great idea.
But, hey: when we get old we can tell our grandkids, "Why, I remember back when there were HUNDREDS of collectable cardgames..."
Have a look at the patent yourselves. It goes something like this:
but the important points are in the claims (which have been severely truncated in some versions that are making the rounds):
The Game Cabinet - firstname.lastname@example.org - Ken Tidwell