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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Comments on “IBM Patents Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Movies”

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43 Comments
Not That Chris (profile) says:

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?

Ignorance is bliss says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 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.

ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 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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