John on patents....
Although some may feel that if we are not posting then we are all sitting around driving our Beemers to Starbucks. Not so and I feel very slighted as I work harder than most everyone I know. While people are at home watching football or sports today, I am in the studio (as every day) working on pinball in it’s totality. Something I love to do. We will tackle some playfield cable designing and other hardware related cleanup on our new power supply. As an example.
I know it takes a huge effort to do this all, as well as the fine support from my fans, and am up to the task. Case and point, how do we fill in spare time. Eating crickets….no. Well we fill it with more invention, design and new ideas. More than is really possible. Pinball building takes oodles of time, a week seems like a day. I may not get to emails for a while as I average 125 each day or more.
A big part of of building this custom pinball company is inventing new stuff, designing it and getting a patent app in. For the last year we have secretly been working a new pinball light structure system for our games. It is something never seen before and we will reveal soon. Everyone will copy it immediately, especially the smaller companies trying to get a stake. It is revolutionary and really cool and customizable.
Creating all the patent drawings, diagrams, claims and eventual write up for the USPTO is a huge task, we do after the days normal work is done. Also we have a super-human great small team of attorney’s that dive in and make it all correct and legally amazing. This is how we built pinball at WMS. People may ask what’s the point?
As with my past design patent (USD579055) for Zizzle, which was copied many times in the toy biz, we have also been able to have granted our new cabinet design (USD689557) which took over a year and half to complete. In theory no one can “pinch” our design without some legal issues from us. There is no point in developing all this great IP to give it away. Some companies today are starving for new ideas, innovation…so taking it is easy. Back when we started it was a “slight” gamble to forge a new cabinet design, engineer it and try for a patent. But today it makes good business sense. The right decision and we got the patent! Amazing.
We now have 6+ other makers of some type of custom pinball (I was the only one 2 years ago), and most of them are using the old WMS style of cabinet and cabinet fittings. We also talked about this back at the start, but decided to spend the time and money creating our own look, brand, design and cabinet features. I am very pleased.
At this time we are having the pinball cartons designed and some samples being made. A pro box for a pro game. Again something not hugely riveting but still 2 companies with a small design team to accomplish this.
Similar for some other items and things we are doing, the future of pinball. Our future as a hobby. Obviously patents need to be protected, and we felt with our new light system it was worth the time and effort. Especially for the coming years ahead and some of the game themes we want to do or people we want to partner with. In this case there are dozens more “secrets” behind the scenes we keep quiet, and some really big negotiations in the works and off the blog for good reasons. All of this is important to what we are doing and reflected in the game design ultimately. It’s just not about a playfield.
So for me the quiet time, which is no blogging, is full of work, invention and design. We never stop creating and the Mac computers we use are but a tool and not the source of our genius. Chirp…Jpop