Dean's Coopertition patent

Attached is a copy of Dean’s cooperation patent that he mentioned during the closing ceremonies. It is still an application; it won’t be a “patent” until it is approved and allowed by the US Patent Office. And note the typo in the title!

What the patent actually claims is a method to increase cooperation by having your score computed based on your opponent’s score. I checked on the status. It has a rejection based on the finding that it is non-statutory because it is “not limited to the technological arts but all steps can be performed manually by a human”. The next step is to respond back to the patent office with arguments why they are wrong and the patent should be allowed. Stay tuned.

Below is a link to the application. It is a large, awkward link; the nicer looking pdf version is too large to attach. I will submit it as a white paper however. If someone has a better way to post it let me know!

There are 94 issued patents and 37 pending applications in which Dean is listed as an inventor. You would recognize a lot of the co-inventors; Benge Ambrogli (head ref and Volunteer of the Year) is on many of them.

Some titles:
Flow control for an intravenous feeding system
Mechanical improvements to a personal vehicle
Transporter oscillating alarm
Stirling engine thermal system improvements"20040142774".PGNR.&OS=DN/20040142774&RS=DN/20040142774

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That’s no typo in the title–if you hear Dean speak about FIRST, he will often refer to it as coopertition.

I think Carol means in the “Abstract”, not the Title. Specifically the line:

“to achieve a higher score than might otherwise have been **THE **attainable.” (typo emphasized)

That’s not a typo if you read the whole sentence.

According to one embodiment of the invention, a first participating player, team, or alliance is motivated to cooperate with a second participating player, team, or alliance by rewarding the first participating player, team, or alliance for assisting the second participating player, team, or alliance to achieve a higher score than might otherwise have been the attainable.

In actuality, the word “score” could have been placed at the end of the sentence, but it is far from a typo.

Sounds like more lawyer talk though… :rolleyes:
But the point is made.

AND if you take a look at the images attached to the patent it is the 2003 game, which is no surprise seing as this patent was known about at least 6 months ago.
<I forget exactly who on CD found it (Maybe it was me, I don’t know), and when I first saw it.>


and specifically:

See… no big surprise. :smiley:

I had actually meant a typo in the title, not realizing, in my blurred state this morning from not enough sleep for the past 5 days, that it was a coined phrase. And I noticed I mistyped the title of this post. Time for another cup of coffee…

I write patents for a living, and, after reading the patent, realized that it is just a reproduction of the 2003 game manual. (In most patents you talk about what you are claiming, why it is novel, how you did it, etc.). This case is one big example, i.e., the Stack Attack game. This application was filed in Jan. 3 2003, which was the same date as the kickoff, right? So they didn’t waste any time in filing it!

Which leads me to another question. why did they file this? It certainly isn’t to make money for their company, or to block other companies from using the same system, which are the main reasons for most patents. What is your opinion?

So he could talk about it in a speech? :wink:

Perhaps he doesn’t want people developing programs similar to FIRST? I don’t know, its Dean Kamen! He probably has some crazy idea up his sleeve.

The patent is for the 2a+b scoring method which was used that year. The rules for the game are included simply as an example of one embodyment of the claim.

I wonder if there is any prior art.

Wow I thought he was kidding…I’m impressed.

The prior art you’ve presented is very interesting.

What is claimed in Dean’s patent is:

1. A method for scoring a competition between a first team and a second team, in which one of the first team and the second team is the better scoring team and the other is the lower scoring team, the method comprising

a. determining the raw score accumulated by the first team according to the rules of the competition;
b. determining the raw score accumulated by the second team according to the rules of the competition;
c. comparing the score accumulated by the first team to the score accumulated by the second team to determining which team is the better scoring team;
d. computing the final score of the better scoring team by adding the raw score of the better scoring team to two times the score of the lower scoring team.

What is interesting is that the prior art you present was released before the provisional patent was filed. However, it is quite possible that the inventor has documentation before this date regarding this scoring method, and it is likely that Savage Soccer game inventors have documentation before that time as well. I would be interested to see if this patent would withstand a critical review by the PTO in light of the provided prior art, and I would imagine a lot of it would be dependent on proper documentation.


I probably shouldn’t be posting anything this late, because I can barely keep my eyes open, and my brain is fuzzy, too.

Dean DID say why he filed it–something witty about patenting the idea to prevent others from using it, even though they wouldn’t want to use it anyway. I think he was making a dig at the usual methods of doing business, which do NOT involve “coopertition.”

I suspect other motives, though. Maybe he just wanted to see if this kind of idea COULD be patented.

So far, the actual results have been:
–to confuse some
–to amuse some
–to offend some
–to entice the U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce, the Hon. John Dudas, to become involved in FIRST

Next question: What is the value of having the Hon. John Dudas involved with FIRST?

Maybe having the Undersecretary involved will make it so FIRST teams can try to patient some of the ideas that they use on there bots, maybe its one more step closer to having FIRST bots something that can have real life applications.

The prior art that was cited by the patent examiner is:

US 6,796,915 Hockey checking practice dummy

US 5,928,093 Soccer kicking and soccer playing practice system

US 5,938,204 Amusement system

US 5,647,747 Mechanized robots for use in instruction, training, and practice in the sport of ice and roller hockey

(This is all public knowledge available on the US PTO web site).

I have no idea why the examiner thought these were relevant, but again, his or her rejection wasn’t based on prior art, just on whether the invention was of patentable subject matter.

What I heard him say was something about suing others for noninfringement.

Yes! That’s more like it, ha-ha!