If You Had The 'Secret' To Winning The Lottery, Would You Patent It?

from the economically-challenging-questions dept

Okay, so this story is bizarre enough by itself, but there’s an odd twist at the end. A husband and wife who held four separate winning lottery tickets claims to have figured out a secret formula for winning the lottery. That seems highly unlikely, of course. There is no formula that can predict totally independent numbers. The four winning tickets all used the same numbers, so there’s no proof that the couple did anything other than get lucky by having the same number they played four different times hit.

However, their lawyer is claiming that the couple is “exploring patent protection.” Want to see a sign of how ridiculous the patent situation has become? If you had figured out the (non-existent) secret to winning the lottery, would you use it to (a) keep winning the lottery or (b) patent it? It’s only in these bizarre times that a couple would even think that (b) would be the more profitable option. Of course, if there really were some secret to predicting independent numbers that the couple had figured out, wouldn’t you think that any lottery commission would immediately change how their lottery worked the second that patent was published?

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “If You Had The 'Secret' To Winning The Lottery, Would You Patent It?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
70 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Ding, ftw!

They got lucky (god knows how many tickets they bought. Presumably these were 4 independent, large-scale $million+ lotteries and not 4 tix for the same one when their numbers hit) and, when people jokingly kept saying, “What’s your secret?” they decided to “invent” one and informertialbookize it.

You’d be surprised what late-nite informertials get away with before they get stopped with a slap on the wrist (and usually altered and continued anyway.)

I recall that long-haired muscle trainer blonde guy selling his own pasta maker, picking up a box of store-bought pasta and saying, “You don’t know what’s in this. Look! Niacin. Riboflavin. What is this stuff?!?!?

eleete (user link) says:

Great Demonstration

It may be greed, however, it’s a great demonstration of how one sided patents can be. There is a system in place that allows these people to possibly receive a patent to hoard money. Not much different than many others that are granted these days. Hopefully this is demonstrated through the courts to congress so they see the error of their ways. One thing is sure, the attorney is guaranteed make money. Looks like he hit the lottery too.

Fushta says:

Re: Great Demonstration

One thing is sure, the attorney is guaranteed make money. Looks like he hit the lottery too.

I was thinking the same thing. The couple is so rich now (supposedly) that the lawyer is cashing in on their stupidity.
Unless, they patent the idea, then license it to other idiots.

Remember, the lottery is a tax on the poor.

Michael Kohne says:

Ways to win...

There are only 3 ways to win the lottery, none particularly good to patent:

1) Get lucky. There’s too much prior art to patent this one.

2) Find, via analysis of public information, a flaw in the lottery’s random number generation. Not good to patent because once you release details, THEY’LL FIX IT.

3) Create, thought illegal tampering, a flaw in the the lottery’s random number generation. Not good to patent because once you release details, THEY’LL ARREST YOU.

So no, this won’t go anywhere. And one more set of morons show their true colors in public.

What else is new?

Emerson says:

Re: Ways to win...

I’m not sure about the state where you play the lottery, but in my state (and in multi-state Powerball) there is no random number generator. They use numbered balls, and they’re floating around in a container with forced air jumbling the balls around. At the proper time, a ball-sized opening is opened, and one of the balls pops into the opening, totally at random.

So that leaves pretty much #1.

Nasch says:

Re: Ways to win...

There’s another way, sort of a variation on 1 but better:

4) Wait until expected returns (jackpot * odds of winning) are greater than the cost of a ticket. Preferably a lot higher. Then buy as many tickets as you can, like thousands. No guarantee of winning, but in the long run you’ll come out ahead. 4a)When choosing numbers, choose round numbers like 10 and 25, because fewer people play those.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Ways to win...

The expected returns of lotteries rarely equal or become greater than the expected losses. That’s lottery principle #1. It could potentially be possible in variable prize lotteries, like Powerball, but only when the jackpot is $150M+. Also, it doesn’t matter if you choose round numbers. The odds of winning have nothing to do with what numbers everyone chooses. Although choosing “common” numbers may lead to prize sharing..I’d worry about winning the jackpot myself first before considering someone else winning with the same numbers.

Anonymous Coward says:

People look at the possibility of patent protection all the time, whether for something groundbreaking or incredibly trivial. This does not mean that an application will ever be prepared because many things are clearly outside the scope of patent law.

In this case, and given the mathematical impossibility of accurately predicting random numbers, this couple will almost certainly be told that their “secret method” is not patentable because of its lack of “utility”.

BTW, the attorney mentioned in the article is not one familiar with IP law, otherwise his comment would never have been made.

Anonymous of Course says:

Maybe Yes, Maybe No

It’s difficult to generate random numbers.
If I remember correctly the winner has been
keeping a record of the numbers for about four
years. Maybe he found a flaw in the process
used to generate random numbers by the lottery
folks? His wife said they bought a lot of tickets
over the years so he’s not claiming to be able
to predict THE numbe. Only that he can improve
his odds.

If I was running a lottery I’d use one of the
radioactive decay generators, or maybe the
lava lamps http://www.lavarnd.org or perhaps a noisey
diode. Nothing that depended on code.

I’m betting it was dumb luck and some lawyer
is trying to profit from the winner though
a clever angle.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Maybe Yes, Maybe No

those still depend on code. Also, they are still pseudo-random. many people state that there really is no such thing as a truely random.

you can develop a method of generating a sufficiently random number with nearly any pseudo-random number generator. also then any flaws could be changed as easily as typing a single character differently.

Anonymous of Course says:

Re: Re: Maybe Yes, Maybe No

I should not have lumped the lava lamps
and radioactive decay device together.

As I understand it the lava lamps are
used to seed a pseudo random generator.
Which does overcome a significant problem.

The radioactive decay type random number
generator generator that I’m familiar with
does not seed a pseudo random generator.
The time between clicks is a random number.

Anonymous Coward says:

They "wheeled" a set of numbers, not rocket science

Years ago I played the lottery using a wheeled set of numbers, playing many combinations of a smaller set of picks. This explains why they had 4 winning tickets in that lottery. They didn’t have all of the winning numbers, but enough to get some decent prize money. This is prior art and not patentable. You can get lottery wheels online for free.

Pseudonym (profile) says:

Re: They

That was my first thought, too.

For those who are curious, “wheeling” is using combinatorial covering to play multiple tickets (or “lines” as they’re apparently called in lottery-speak) in such a way that it probabilistically minimises your worst-case losses.

Let’s suppose, for sake of argument, that there are exactly 50 million possible combinations, and you decide you are going to buy exactly 50 million tickets. The optimal strategy is to buy 50 million distinct tickets, because then you would be guaranteed to win. The key point is that there is an optimal strategy (and in this case, it’s unique); if maximising your chances if winning is what’s important, all other strategies are worse.

“Wheeling” works on the same idea, only with fewer tickets. You might, for example, buy enough tickets so that all pairs of numbers are covered by at least one ticket (hence the term “combinatorial cover”). This guarantees that no matter what numbers are drawn, you are guaranteed to have at least two correct.

Note that wheeling is not a “way to win the lottery”. Rather, it’s a method for turning average-case behaviour into worst-case behaviour. You will never do worse than some bound that’s limited only by the amount of money you’re willing to spend. (Which is, of course, less than the amount of money you’re likely to win, but such is life.)

Incidentally, the problem of designing (or even counting) minimal combinatorial covers is an open mathematical problem. If they’ve solved it, they should write it up; there’s a PhD in combinatorics with their names on it.

jonnyq says:

I’ve often referred to the love of patents as the “lottery mentality”. By “lottery mentality”, this is what I mean.

Some people believe that the true method of success is to find a windfall for little work. People write songs on the hopes of writing the one song that sells millions. People patent products on the idea that a slightly novel addition to an existing idea should win them millions. People sue at the drop of the hat thinking that they really /deserve/ millions of dollars because they spill hot coffee on themselves, or because their children are exposed to a boob. People applaud the success of those who win on reality shows. I’ve even heard people refer to this as the “American dream”. They think that winning the lottery, winning a game show, or getting rich off of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer /is/ the American dream.

So, it comes as no surprise surprise to me that someone with the “lottery mentality” would try to patent a method for winning the lottery…

Norm says:

I know of a case not unlike this.

A company in Maine which makes Water Cooled Loads (you would attach a transmitter to it where the antenna goes while working on transmitter) refused to patent the mathematical formula it used in building the unique device. There were some other companies who would blatantly copy their design, but still the company would not patent their product and thus reveal their formula.

Thom says:

for some

the lottery may be a tax on bad math. For others the lottery is very cheap entertainment. Some people spend tens, hundreds, or even thousands of dollars on a a few moments to a few hours of entertainment. Others spend a couple dollars on powerball tickets every now and then and spend hours to days giddily dreaming of what they’d do with that money should they win. If the latter group understand the odds and get as much entertainment from their expenditure as the former then why is their choice any worse?

Anonymous Coward says:

Secret process for picking winning lottery numbers:

1) Go to package store, buy PBR
2) Get free entry form from local package store
3) Drink PBR
4) Circle numbers on form according to your birthday, anniversary date, and today’s date.
5) Pay $1 and enter form
6) Drink PBR
7) Realize that your lottery ticket cost you $3.99 and the humiliation of drinking PBR
8) Hope that the numbers on this weeks lottery match your birthday, anniversary, or the date you drank PBR.
9) Repeat until your birthday comes up in lottery numbers.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

The Macrovision Approach

They could do a similar thing to what Macrovision did: not only patent their technique, but also get patents on all the ways they can think of to bypass that technique. Then when the lottery commission tries to change the way the numbers are drawn to defeat the number-predicting technique, they can sue.

Reggie says:

Re: rigged lottery games

Think about This for a moment,before every draw there is enough time for the lotto people to run the computers to see what numbers HAVE NOT been played,(probably takes about less than a minute with there main computer)then they have different ball sets with powdered metal dust in them,and they pick the numbered balls that Don’t have powder in them,and they turn on a magnet under the ball table that holds the balls down at the bottom of the ball machine,and the numbers that weren’t picked go to the top(no powder in them)(watch one of the draws sometime you’ll see most of the balls dance around toward the bottom of the machine)..I say all lottery games are fixed……

kevin cookk says:

auto mega power ball picker

I have the system that is a guarantee with patent pending (the multi state lottery lawyer in georgia do not want to see or talk to me anymore about my method. they know it will change the odds of the mega and power ball games, which they would not be able to alter the games makeing my product useless. They know it makes those games more player friendly. I am trying to market it to all the lotto retailer at this time. Which could make lotto retailer win more of the jackpots and other profits from my product.How do I get a book deal or infomercial on this 100% guarantee product money back if it doesn’t work no joke. Can an attorney or anyone in this field reply to my phone 562-260-0454 or email if can help me get this product to the players.9 because the lottery don’t want it out i have the system. Please help me help the players.

Bertha says:

How to win lottery

Hi everybody i have a little secret to share with everybody i have been in the street of London with nothing in my pocket and totally financially down, i meant an old school friend of mine and he was so rich and i wonder how he make all this money. We had a conversation why we had a drink together and he told if i want to be rich like him and i urgently tell him yes and he introduced me to an Africa voodoo temple and tell me that he is the secret to riches and surely i contacted this temple and i tell him i want to win a lottery and he told me i have nothing to worry about. he cast a spell for me and i won 50,000GBP and i was so grateful i never believe it will work but it was like a miracle that this man make me rich. All this happen 5years ago and i am letting everyone know about it. BELOW IS THE INFORMATION TO CONTACT templeofvadoo@gmail.com

Lucky says:

lottery spell that help my life

Great! Great!! Great!!!
Thank you once again ighogboyatemple@gmail.com for the lottery spell you did for me, it really work according to our plains, i won a huge amount of money after the lottery spell you did for me, and also thank you my best friend John for given me ighogboyatemple@gmail.com contact he really surprise me that many things in life are still possible, i have been into a lottery for so many years and i have never won such money to start up a business, thank God i meant ighogboyatemple@gmail.com, my life has change forever and i will stop sharing this surprising testimony, you can also reach him at ighogboyatemple@gmail.com

Miguel Florentino says:

real tips

I am Miguel Florentino from New Mexico do not follow the tips all the lottery winner tell you they use cause it a big lie, cause the secret is spiritual voodoo. I was introduced to this spiritual voodoo priest called Dr. Soula and i was told he can help win the lottery I never believe it cause the distance where he satay is very far, He is from Africa and i see no reason to believe that this really but my friend out of alot of debt i still have to do it so as to pay back and sort out bills. I contacted him and he assure me just three days i but a ticket from a shop and played after he has cast a spell on the number i sent him. I was in my house when i was watching the result and my name was among winners i have been doing this for years and i never won but Dr. Soula prove it to me the voodoo works. I won $30,000 but the problem i have was that you can only use the spell once if not i would have order another spell to play for millions. This is the secret to success do not be deceive by online tips drsoula_b@live.com is the only answer you need

park says:

SECRET RO WIN LOTTERY IS HERE

I am Jane Park i do not think this is right or a good place for me to say this for sure i need to say it cause i made my promise that i will make this temple known once i win. I played the euromiliion lottery after i a get a post on the internet from Aleem Igbal who won the ?22million that there is a temple where i can also be a millionaire at first i thought aleem was crazy but until i get my own ?1m from the help of drsoula_b@live.com i never doubted voodoo but a strong believer, Term and condition are applied.

LOVE (user link) says:

Hello my name is Cecilia from USA, My life is back!!! After 8 years of marriage, my husband left me and left me with our three kids. I felt like my life was about to end, and was falling apart. I contacted you and after I explained you my problem. In just 3 days, my husband came back to us and show me and my kids much love and apologize for all the pain he have bring to the family. We solved our issues, and we are even happier than before you are the best spell caster Dr ogun i really appreciate the love spell you castes for me to get the man i ever loved back to my life i will keep sharing more testimonies to people about your good work Thank you once again at (oguntemple@gmail.com). in case you are in any problem you can contact this man for help he is always there in his temple to help you solve your problem Contact Email is oguntemple@gmail.com

lottoal (profile) says:

If You Had The 'Secret' To Winning The Lottery, Would You Patent It?

I find this scam about Dr Atosimhe and other scams like this all the time. You are spreading nonsense pure and simple. Total con job; this post is to scam someone out of their cash. Dr Atosimhe can’t help anyone cause to don’t exit, go get a job and stop trying to get something for nothing!

Alex Decker says:

IТve won 7 lottery game grand prizesЕ and IТve visited the Florida lottery office over 23 times to claim prizes too large to cash at my local convenience store.

I use this software that makes it easy to win: http://www.bestquicktips.com/auto-lottery-winner. Thanks to my lottery winnings, I’ve been able to buy a gorgeous house in a quiet and safe neighborhood.

dustin says:

Special Announcement
Am Announcing the Special healer for any Life Problems Baba Ogun Akande(www.babaogunakande.wordpress.com)
He is able to unlock your life with strong powers and you share it with those that seek answers or require help and assistance. Perhaps it’s your time to let the spirits of the metaphysical world help you enjoy the rich life filled with love, happiness, and wealth
*Powerful love spell. *lotto spell
*Revenge of the raven curse.
*Break up spells. *Magic spells.
*Protection spell. *Curse removal.
*Remove negative energy. *Curse spells.
*Spiritual cleansing. *Africa witchcraft healers.
*Hex removal. *Spiritual healing spell.
*Wicca witchcraft. *Good luck charm.
*Break up spells. *Magic love spells
*Sangoma traditional medicine. *Gay love spell.
*Real magic spells. *The spell to defeat your rival.
*Fertility spells. *Divorce spell.
As a Spell Caster,Fortune Teller,Palm reader and Traditional Healer he specialize in
Love Spells,Marriage Spells,Business Spells,Witchcraft spells, Fame Spells, Money spells, Protection spells, Rich Spells,Traditional Healing,Divorce Spells,Fortune Teller and Psychic and many more.
Don’t sit down and say i wish i knew! it’s time to contact Baba Ogun Akande to Cast powerful Spells on your behalf for success, remember through Baba Ogun Akande spiritual powers are all possible and it’s never too late for your problem to be solved.
•Are there things happening to you that you can’t explain?
•Well maybe someone’s put a hex (curse)on you?
•Do you feel you are stuck in the wilderness in a situation that appears hopeless?
•Do you have many enemies some enemies that you are not even aware of?
•Are you having many obstacles in your life?
•Is your love life falling apart?
•Is your life facing financial ruin? money come and go.
•Do you need protection from your enemies?
His spells are guaranteed to work in 3 days
Email: babogun277@gmail.com
website: http://www.babaogunakande.wordpress.com

Frances Connolly says:

Lottery Spell

HOW I WON £114,969,775 WITH DR SHAKIKI LOTTERY MAGIC SPELL

I am Frances & Patrick Connolly From the UK…I had to write back and say what an amazing experience I had with the Dr Shakiki powerful lottery spell. My Heart is filled with joy and happiness after Dr Shakiki cast the Lottery spell for me, And I won £114,969,775. His spell changed my life into riches, I’m now out of debts and experiencing the most amazing good luck with the lottery after I won a huge amount of money. My life has really changed for good. I won (one hundred & fourteen million. Nine hundred & sixty nine thousand.seven hundred & seventy five pounds)Your Lottery spell is so real and pure. Thank you very much Dr. Shakiki for the lottery spell that changed my life”I am totally grateful for the lottery spell Dr. Shakiki did for me. You can Email Him For Your Own Lottery Number,Because This Is The Only Secret To Win The Lottery.

Email Him: Lordshakikispell@yahoo. com Or Lordshakikispell1@gmail. com

WhatsApp or Call him: +1(289)-324-0753 ,,,

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...