IBM Patents Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Movies

from the choose-this dept

theodp writes "Thirty-three years ago, the Choose Your Own Adventure series of kids books was introduced. But that didn't stop the USPTO from granting IBM U.S. Patent No. 7,784,069 for Selecting Divergent Storylines Using Branching Techniques, fancy lawyer-speak for choose-your-own-adventure movies. Nice to see the USPTO recognize purported patent reformer Big Blue for its 'invention' - never mind that there's already an app for that!"


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  •  
    identicon
    MissingFrame, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 2:40pm

    Dragon's Lair

    The Dragon's Lair videogame was a laserdisc choose-the-path movie, 1983.

     

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      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 3:35pm

      Re: Dragon's Lair

      Better yet, Infocom was founded in '79.

      Where do I apply to be a patent examiner? Sounds like a cushy job.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 7:36pm

        Re: Re: Dragon's Lair

        I wonder how much IBM paid these patent examiners to approve this patent. I can be rich!!!

         

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      interval (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 3:36pm

      Re: Dragon's Lair

      Beat me to it! Yeah, Dragon's Lair already did this. The design engineers on that classic appear to have missed the boat on patenting a rather OBVIOUS TECHNOLOGY. That's probably what they thought at the time, if they even entertained the idea of a patent...

       

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 2:49pm

    Prior art

    I have a Harry Potter movie on HD-DVD that had a game on it where you could chose your path to get out of the woods. Does that count as prior art?

    @MissingFrame:
    I remember those. I don't think it was Dragon's Lair, but I remember laserdisc games like that in high school.

     

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    Very Bad Panda (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 3:53pm

    The Sounds like Scourge of Worlds

    The movie/game The Scourge of Worlds: A Dungeons & Dragons Adventure was released on DVD on June 10, 2003. IBM filed for this patent on December 1, 2003. Co-winky-dink? Hmmmm...

     

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    jjmsan, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 3:53pm

    Friday's and Monday's

    I wonder if there is an increase in patent approvals on Friday afternoon with a corresponding decrease on Monday mornings?

     

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    iamtheky (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 4:39pm

    Ok, theodp sends 2 ridiculous patents, both happen to be filed by IBM. You have no commentary on either, just the quote (I am sure it has nothing to the banner ad).

    Granted you generally add very little to "theodp writes" entries if anything at all, these ones just look peculiar.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 4:53pm

    USA are going crazy

     

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    Not That Chris (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 5:58pm

    I knew I'd seen something like this before, and it took a minute to find it: Mr. Payback, released in 1995.

    Not a game, an actual theater-based movie where the audience was given an electronic pad and "voted" on the action the characters would take. According to the trivia blurb, the audience was even allowed to see the movie several times to pick different paths.

    My question at this point is: When you get to be a patent examiner, do they provide it for you or do those heartless government bastards make you buy your own?

     

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    Ignorance is bliss, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 6:34pm

    Read the actual claim language .... this is far more complicated than simply voting on an action a character would take.

    A method for selecting a logical branch in a storyline among a plurality of available storyline branches on a computing device, based on voters' votes, comprising: obtaining and accumulating, the votes from the voters on a computing device for at least one of the plurality of available storyline branches, during the presentation of the storyline; selectively excluding votes, using the computing device, based on voter characteristics from the accumulated votes for a specific storyline branch; multiplying, using the computing device, at least one received vote by a weight factor based on voter characteristics, the weighting factor being based on at least ticket pricing; calculating, using the computing device, a total for the accumulated and weighted votes; and determining, using the computing device, a winning tally that corresponds to one of the plurality of available storyline branches; selecting and presenting, using the computing device, at least one of the available storyline branches with the winning tally as a future storyline branch during the presentation of the storyline, and generating, using the computing device, a media version matrix specifying a selected storyline having a particular set of logical branches selected by the voting for later use and retrieval, by recording each selected corresponding storyline branch of the plurality of available storyline branches on the computing device.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 6:55pm

      Re:

      Agreed. This is not a patent on choose-your-own-adventure movies. The patent is about allowing a group of people to vote to choose the adventure, more specifically it relates to allowing some votes to count more than other votes and calculating the weight of each vote.

      Mike missed or failed to mention that this type of system could allow for tiered ticket pricing at the movie theater, where you pay more to have more influence over the story. This type of system could also encourage people to see a movie more than one time in the theater as each showing may have a slightly different story. Mike goes on and on about changing business models. Here is an attempt to create a reason to buy and techdirt dismisses it as obvious and bad for innovation.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 7:19pm

        Re: Re:

        And what exactly about applying a voting system that has been around for decades to a CYOA method that has been around for decades is not obvious?

        Oh, right. Nothing.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 7:41pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I agree. How much R&D did IBM have to invest to implement this? The answer, none. This is not patent worthy.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 8:00pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Did you read the patent?

          Did I say it was a good patent?

          The point was that the title of the article is misleading. This is not a patent the covers the concept of CYOA movies. Patents do not cover concepts, patents cover a specific method. There is a lot more to the patent than simply CYOA, more than CYOA+voting. More interesting than the patent is the attempt to give movie goers a reason to buy, a reason to pay more and a reason to buy again.

          This patent won't hold anything back. It won't prevent other from doing something similar.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 8:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Did you read the patent?" - Yes. Did you? Why are we asking silly questions?

            "Did I say it was a good patent?" - No. Of course you didn't, as that is your typical mode of useless replies. You did however imply that the patent was not obvious by whining about Mike's dismissal of the obvious patent. Oops.

            Fun fact that you, of course, conveniently ignore: Nothing is stopping IBM from offering this excitingly non-obvious and totally innovative concept (which is exactly what the patent covers, oops!)...without a patent.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 9:27pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              None of the examples of CYOA movies in the comments include all of the elements in the patent. If the all of the claims of the patent, used together, are so obvious then why is it not being done already? Because its not obvious, oops.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 11:36pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                It has been done, since the 70's at least and it was done countless times in one form or another, if that is not an obvious find then we do have a problem and probably you suffer from Dunning–Kruger effect.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 7:14am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Show me one example that uses all of the elements described in the patent. Just one.

                   

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                    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 7:34am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Combining the obvious is not patent-worthy. At least it shouldn't be.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 9:07am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      The problem is that the question of obviousness is tricky. Reminds me of this techdirt article:
                      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100714/03225710210.shtml

                      You really need to read further than the title to understand a patent and exactly what it covers. Most of the comments here on techdirt seem to assume that all patent examiners are complete idiots.

                       

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                        ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 11:05am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Most of them are. This one in particular.

                        Voting for outcome has been kicked around at least since Dragon's Lair came out. Probably earlier. The problem has always been implementation, which I don't see addressed here.

                        The sole "innovation" in this patent is to weigh some votes differently. Well, hell's bells, who'd have thought that a *particular form of voting* was patent worthy in this situation?

                        Some moron with a rubber stamp and a government job, aside.

                         

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 11:43pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                What is wrong with you, people showed the exact same concepts used over and over again and you are saying it is not?

                Brain blindness?(just to be nice my first thought was not that light)

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 11:36am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  You obviously did not read the patent. Again, its not a patent on CYOA movies, its a particular way to go about some things related to CYOA movies.

                   

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                    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 4:40pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Yes, we read the patent. It's a particular *type* of voting to determine the outcome of CYOA movies. I suppose it's non-obvious in the sense of who would think that wasn't obvious and file for a patent?

                    Scott L. Jarrett, patent examiner, should be ashamed of himself.

                     

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 9:45am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Seriously? Did you just use that failure of logical reasoning? Now I know why you're so afraid of supporting an argument: you are terrible at it.

                 

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      Lolocafera (profile), Sep 17th, 2010 @ 5:18am

      Re:

      That sounds interesting. I will go and develop another method to do exactly the same things, and patent it too.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 9:53am

        Re: Re:

        Right, thats how the system works. Go ahead and do a search for mouse trap patents - you'll find lots of them. There is no patent on the concept of trapping a mouse, just like there is no patent on the concept of CYOA movies. There is more than one way to reach a goal. You are free to come up with your own unique method of dealing with CYOA movies and you are free to patent that method, it just has to be different than whatever prior art there may be.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 8:01pm

    Slashdot comment says it best

    Reposted from the comments on Slashdot:

    by alvinrod (889928)
    on Wednesday September 15, @09:01PM (#33595068)

    I suggest that everyone view this talk [swpat.org] regarding patents and open source software. It focuses on how open source developers can maneuver around patents, but also provides a lot of information regarding how patents can be better understood. After viewing this presentation, I've realized how moronic a lot of posts on Slashdot regarding patents truly are.

    After watching the video and examining the patent [uspto.gov] it seems rather trivial to dance around it. It's a completely stupid thing to patent, but it isn't going to impede anyone who develops something similar.

     

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    Ryan Carroll, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 9:02pm

    Weathered Underground: A Choose Your Own Adventure movie

    Good point, this article is misleading. Check out Weathered Underground, a choose your own adventure movie that features the music of Saturna and tons of other great music!!

    http://saturna.wordpress.com/2007/06/29/wu-cmj/

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 9:17pm

    Youtube implementation of the thing.

    Look at the "Joker vs. Batman" or something like that.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/PatrickBoivin#p/c/22201739CD623706

    This patent is just ridiculous, everyone on earth thought about it and there is hundreds of implementations there is nothing unique or innovative.

    But my guess is, those details doesn't matter companies are just exploiting the holes the system gives them, because if they don't someone else will so they keep turning out more and more weak patents and they keep getting accepted.

    I almost believe they want to humiliate the patent office.

    Remember those days when people could brag about having a patent? Those who do today will be called names for doing so, because it is not hard anymore, it is not impressive it is just damn stupid.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 9:18am

      Re:

      If its so easy then show me your patents. There are bad patents but obtaining them is not as easy as you think. Please go ahead and prove me wrong by obtaining your own bad patent.

       

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        ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 5:17pm

        Re: Re:

        "There are bad patents but obtaining them is not as easy as you think."

        What point do you think you're making, exactly?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 7:37pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "because it is not hard anymore"

          Prove it.

           

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            ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 17th, 2010 @ 8:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            See, e.g., above.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 1:26pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Software examples are no covered by the patent. Home viewing is not what the patent is about. Which example specifically are you referring to?

              The examples presented here do not relate to the patent. Since you claim to have read it you should know that. I can only assume that you have a reading comprehension problem.

               

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    Mark Harrison, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 3:16am

    Quantum effects....

    Surely, if the Multiple Divergent Realities model of Quantum Physics turns out to be correct, then EVERY MOVIE EVER MADE has a plurality of available story lines, and it's only chance that any given viewer happens to end up in the one (s)he actually sees :-)

     

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    staff, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 12:23pm

    misdirection

    With a backlog of about 700,000 patent applications, it's not about the patents that issue. It's about those that don't.

     

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