Magic Trick patent

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Postby Bill Mullins » 01/25/10 02:40 PM

Most patents relating to magic are either of apparatus or props, which accomplish a magic trick, or are design patents, which protect the external appearance of the prop.

This one:
HERE seems to protect the trick itself, which I've never seen before.

That the application should have been rejected on novelty grounds (the had already been existence for many years by the time of the application) is beside the point. That the patent office appears to have granted exclusive rights to the trick to an inventor is unusual here.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/25/10 03:11 PM

Puzzled here as that procedure for flipping a ring to catch it on a rope loop (or chain) looks familiar. Just what is claimed as new here?
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Postby Brad Henderson » 01/25/10 03:18 PM

Can you patent a process?
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/25/10 06:27 PM

Brad Henderson wrote:Can you patent a process?


I first heard about this one in college, so apparently one can.
http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/5535378.html
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Postby Bill Mullins » 01/25/10 06:42 PM

Brad Henderson wrote:Can you patent a process?

Yes.

35 U.S.C. 101 Inventions patentable.
Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.

It's not clear, though, that "process" has ever been interpreted to include the actions of a magic trick.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 01/25/10 11:51 PM

is there a reason it couldn't be interpreted that way?
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Postby the Larry » 01/26/10 05:51 AM

It doesn't really matter if a patent was granted or not. A patent is only 'a license to sue', but not a guarantee to win such a lawsuit. Only a lawsuit can really determine the validity of a patent. Patent examiners make errors all the time. And this is not to knock them, it is simply impossible for them to be specialist in all the fields they have to cover.

If you demonstrate in a such a lawsuit prior use, or obvious to a specialist in the field, for example, then the patent is deemed invalid. Case close.
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Postby the Larry » 01/26/10 06:03 AM

I had a quick read through the patent and particularly through the claims. In my opinion this patent has no chance to standup in a lawsuit.

I perform the same sequence in a rope and ring routine for many years, and I am sure I am not alone. I learned it from a Danish magician many many years ago. It would be very easy to show prior use. No chance in hell for this patent to hold up.

I guess since Leo Boudreau retired from the US Patent Office they don't have any magicians working there anymore :-)
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Postby Ian Kendall » 01/26/10 06:20 AM

This is as old as the hills, surely? It was filed in 2007, but it's been published in the Klutz book of Magic and Mark Leveridge's Ring Competition routine, both well over twenty years old. And that's just two from the top of my head.

How on earth did this get patented?

Take care, Ian
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/26/10 09:05 AM

Aside from the exposure, it may also constitute a false claim of invention in conjuring.

Any comment from the Magic Circle on this?
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/26/10 12:16 PM

The way copyright law is going (in the last 30 years the length of copyright has extended by more than 30 years), magicians might be better off copyrighting their scripts than patenting their methods. Copyrights are much more easily obtained than patents and the US Government tends to side with copyright holders, to say the least.

This is what Teller did with Shadows, which is protected as a play. I've always thought that this quote of his is worth considering: "People who try to patent magic seem to have it all wrong. The actual mechanics of a trick dont ever reach the audience; what you want to protect is the effect."
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Postby Necromancer » 01/26/10 05:05 PM

Pete McCabe wrote:The way copyright law is going (in the last 30 years the length of copyright has extended by more than 30 years), magicians might be better off copyrighting their scripts than patenting their methods. Copyrights are much more easily obtained than patents and the US Government tends to side with copyright holders, to say the least.

This is what Teller did with Shadows, which is protected as a play. I've always thought that this quote of his is worth considering: "People who try to patent magic seem to have it all wrong. The actual mechanics of a trick dont ever reach the audience; what you want to protect is the effect."


I couldn't agree more with this advice, and have been suggesting it to other performers for a while now as a means of protecting material in their performances.

What this doesn't do, unfortunately, is protect the creators of marketed effects against manufacturers and distributors who sell knock-offs of these effects. Copyright law would cover the exact wording of instruction sheets in this instance, but that's about it. It's really most effective at arming authors against copyists, and performers against other performers.

Best,
Neil
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Postby Matthew Field » 01/28/10 07:46 AM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Any comment from the Magic Circle on this?


No.
User avatar
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/28/10 09:22 AM

Matthew Field wrote:
Jonathan Townsend wrote:Any comment from the Magic Circle on this?


No.


Can't think of anything helpful to say here.
It's like the cat is selling bags as a fashion statement.
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Bill Mullins » 01/29/10 02:49 AM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Can't think of anything helpful to say here.
It's like the cat is selling bags as a fashion statement.


Okay, Jon, I'll bite. In what way is it like the cat is selling bags as a fashion statement? And is "it" Matt's response to your question, or the patent, or something else? Sometimes I don't know what the heck you are talking about.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/29/10 08:00 AM

? If it was to Matt I'd have used a PM.

cat in bag -> drowned
cats in bag -> harm each other
also
can let out of bag -> bad (secrets are are required in our craft)

therefore anyone in our culture has at least one negative referent to cats and bags when used in a sentence.

what sort of cat would go selling bags then?
as a fashion statement -> neither novel or useful though public

Shameless is not just a Pet Shop Boys tune.
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Postby David Alexander » 01/30/10 12:50 PM

Richard could make extra money on the Genii Forum by charging for translations/explanations of Jon's posts. ;-)
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/30/10 06:05 PM

They tried to add that feature to google translation service but the servers snapped like matchsticks.
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Postby Curtis Kam » 01/30/10 07:50 PM

Maybe it's me, but there are all sorts of things that aren't clear here, and they start before Jonathan's post--

This appears to be a US patent application, simply being reported on a UK service. Is this somehow indicative that there is a UK patent being granted here?

This appears to be an application for a US patent. I don't see the indication that this application was successful. Is there something I'm missing?

Finally, this application seeks to protect only one handling for this effect, one in which the ring is caused to trip over the curled middle finger. I'm no expert in ring and rope work, however, are the handlings of rhe known precedents identical to this? I have read perhaps a half-dozen descriptions of this effect, (starting with Bruce Posgate's) and I can't say that this was the method reccomended in any of them.
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Postby Matt R » 03/01/10 07:33 PM

Curtis you are correct. This is a patent application and nothing indicates this was actually approved.

BTW- I am working on a process patent for flushing a toilet using only my thumb and pinky, very unique!
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