Magic Trick patent

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Bill Mullins
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Magic Trick patent

Postby Bill Mullins » January 25th, 2010, 1:40 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.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 25th, 2010, 2:11 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?

Brad Henderson
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby Brad Henderson » January 25th, 2010, 2:18 pm

Can you patent a process?

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 25th, 2010, 5:27 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

Bill Mullins
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby Bill Mullins » January 25th, 2010, 5:42 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.

Brad Henderson
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby Brad Henderson » January 25th, 2010, 10:51 pm

is there a reason it couldn't be interpreted that way?

the Larry
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby the Larry » January 26th, 2010, 4:51 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.

the Larry
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby the Larry » January 26th, 2010, 5:03 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 :-)

Ian Kendall
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby Ian Kendall » January 26th, 2010, 5:20 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

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 26th, 2010, 8:05 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 -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Pete McCabe
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby Pete McCabe » January 26th, 2010, 11:16 am

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."

Necromancer
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby Necromancer » January 26th, 2010, 4:05 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
Neil Tobin, Necromancer

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Matthew Field
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby Matthew Field » January 28th, 2010, 6:46 am

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


No.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 28th, 2010, 8:22 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 -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Bill Mullins
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby Bill Mullins » January 29th, 2010, 1:49 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.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 29th, 2010, 7:00 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.

David Alexander
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby David Alexander » January 30th, 2010, 11:50 am

Richard could make extra money on the Genii Forum by charging for translations/explanations of Jon's posts. ;-)

Pete McCabe
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby Pete McCabe » January 30th, 2010, 5:05 pm

They tried to add that feature to google translation service but the servers snapped like matchsticks.

Curtis Kam
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby Curtis Kam » January 30th, 2010, 6:50 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.

Matt R
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Re: Magic Trick patent

Postby Matt R » March 1st, 2010, 6:33 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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