Patent issued for timed foosball

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Patent issued for timed foosball
« on: April 07, 2010, 11:45:53 AM »
(The future of foosball folks)...

United States Patent 7,690,653
Simon April 6, 2010
Foosball table


The present invention generally relates to a game device. In one aspect, a foosball game apparatus is provided. The foosball game apparatus includes a game body having a playing field, an endwall adjacent each end of the playing field, and a sidewall adjacent each side of the playing field. The foosball apparatus further includes an electronic digital display formed in each end wall for indicating a time period and a score. In another aspect, a method of playing a timed foosball game is provided.

Inventors: Simon; Steven Mark (Austin, TX)
Appl. No.: 11/004,329
Filed: December 3, 2004

Current U.S. Class: 273/108.52 ; 273/108.1
Current International Class: A63F 9/24 (20060101)
Field of Search: 273/118R,118A,126A,126R,122R,122A,125R,127C,108.1-108.57 463/4 D21/318
References Cited [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents

3480277 November 1969 Fraser
4195838 April 1980 Santandrea et al.
4582323 April 1986 Minkoff et al.
4765622 August 1988 Rienzo
4872679 October 1989 Bohaski et al.
5326102 July 1994 Chang
5967518 October 1999 Rowe
6176780 January 2001 Miyamoto et al.
6279905 August 2001 Malavazos et al.
6533272 March 2003 Hylak et al.
2003/0008733 January 2003 Allshouse et al.
2004/0140620 July 2004 Giegerich et al.

Primary Examiner: Legesse; Nini
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Hersh; Jeffrey M

Offline bbtuna

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Re: Patent issued for timed foosball
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2010, 01:32:41 PM »
the future of on site foosball maybe...don't see how you can patent timing a game or even electronic scoring since in 77 i was a manager in a game room that had tables that had electronic scoring already...what is the patent for?

Re: Patent issued for timed foosball
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2010, 03:40:52 PM »
You should read the patent. It is not about keeping score. Then lets chat.


Offline GeneT

Re: Patent issued for timed foosball
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2010, 04:21:39 PM »
You have patent on rules for playing a timed game?      Still,   where are you going to get these  people that want to play a timed game?   

Offline bbtuna

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Re: Patent issued for timed foosball
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2010, 08:08:25 PM »
i read what you posted, is there question was based on what you posted so it is still the same unless there is more information

Re: Patent issued for timed foosball
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2010, 09:41:00 PM »

all patents and their excruciating detail are online.

Re: Patent issued for timed foosball
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2010, 11:09:45 PM »
Here ya' go Gene. Rules.

And BBTuna? Who is this?

« Last Edit: April 07, 2010, 11:17:03 PM by 1Pushkick »

Offline GeneT

Re: Patent issued for timed foosball
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2010, 10:29:21 AM »
Ok,  not much different.  I do not like the ball going back to the last serving team when it goes off table or out of reach.   That can be taken advantage of on a snake shot , just shoot as hard as you can so if you miss it goes off the table and you get it back on the 5 rod.    I have seen this before the rule was changed at other tourneys.     I also don't care for the no stop ball shots ( 3 1/2 sec) ,  too much of a slap the ball around , slop the ball in for a score.         But like I said before,  if you have a tourney and the entry fees and pays are good you will get a crowd.      I will read the rules again, but what if I win the toss, get the ball first, score, steal the ball back on the next serve and just play keep away for 5 more minutes?

Offline bbtuna

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Re: Patent issued for timed foosball
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2010, 10:45:11 AM »
Steve, we have had exchanges before...on Phil's old board I was bbtuna but on the current board I am FoosballToday or American Foosball (haven't used this for over a year I think) and my name is Charles Dangler

so the patent isn't for foosball as a timed game but instead it is for a table with timing electronics built in as seen in the quote below...right?

"More particularly, embodiments of the present invention pertain to a foosball game apparatus having a timing device."

I don't mean to be disrespectful but I am amazed that someone would grant a patent for something like this...i had no idea people could patent this kind of thing...if so, I have plenty of ideas that could be patented and I know Wildcard has at least 1...I see it was filed in 2004 so you have been thinking about this a long time...can I ask how long it took and how much (in general) it costs to file (I mean everything)

not sure why you posted it here and I don't see it on Phil's board...what are you trying to communicate?

Offline bbtuna

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Re: Patent issued for timed foosball
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2010, 11:21:46 AM »

I worked with Jonny Lott to develop his rules for Legend (which never happened for him) and he had a style of play he called "Soccer" which was basically Steve's rules ... we went around and around about the length of time the ball could be stopped and if a pinned ball was considered stopped (like it is on the 5 bar in current rules...I won't get into details right now)

anyway, this included 10 seconds per ought to try this out...3 1/2 seconds is a very long time...we have played these rules before and at first you are a little hyper, especially in singles, but you calm down after some time and there is all kinds of time for executing shots and passes every bit as clean as you see in the game today...its actually quite fun

my only issue is the pinned ball/stopped ball part of the should try it for a bunch of games and I think you will change your mind...we considered and I tried anywhere from 0 seconds stopped to 3 1/2 and 3 1/2 is almost too much...having had all the conversations I did with Johnny I understand Steve's reasoning but I am not sure I agree but it can always be modifed later if it doesn't work

totally agree with you about the ball off the table rule...Steve has gotten a ton of feedback on this on the other board so we aren't likely to sway him off this point

also agree with you on trying to slow the game down…think how often someone jumps out to a 3 0 lead with the current format and the other team fights their way back in the game, if it was timed to 6 minutes, comebacks after a 3 0 lead I think would be nearly impossible…I think timed foos for arcades is a real good idea but I don’t like it for tournament play the way it is being proposed here…I understand why people want to shorten the game (not Steve’s only reason for doing this and probably not even a main reason but still a result) but I think it should be no less than 3/5 and I can see going higher…when I think of the length of time it takes to play tennis, table tennis, pool, racketball, basketball, baseball, etc I don’t think 3/5 is any too much

I do think we need to move to single elimination but I would make that something like Johnny was proposing which was 2/3 2/3 or 2/3 3/5 or do a single match but make it 7 out of 9 games or 9 out of 11 (a little aside, I think it should be win by two no limit)

here are the WTSA rules
1.1.   Soccer Style (S-style) Rules of Play:  On WTSA there will be two predominant styles of play. One (the more traditional relatively slower style – sometimes referred to as “Texas Style”) is the “T” style (Traditional or Texas style) and the other is “S” for Soccer style featuring a faster soccer style of play.  The entire rule book applies to both styles with the following exceptions for S-style play.
1.1.1.   Stopped Balls 2 or 3 rod:  Balls can not be stopped for more than 2 seconds without shooting, passing, or putting the ball back into play.  The player can restart the clock by putting the ball back into play.  In the meantime the overall 12 second per rod time limit continues.
1.1.2.   Back and front pins are considered two different shots and therefore two different sets.
1.1.3.   Pinned Balls 2 or 3 rod:  A Pinned ball is not considered a “Stopped Ball” until the lateral motion of the pinned ball is stopped for more than 1 (one) second – a pinned ball that is not in lateral motion but is rocking in place is considered stopped. 
1.1.4.   Stopped Balls 5 bar:  All 5 bar rules remain the same as the “T” style play except that the ball can not be stopped for more than 2 seconds…see Stopped Balls 2 or 3 rod and Pinned Balls 2 or 3 rod.
1.1.5.   Back Into Play:  To put the ball back into play means moving the ball from one playing figure to another (pinned or inline) or from one pin set to another.
1.1.6.   Penalty:  If the ball is stopped for more than 2 seconds or there is an attempt to advance the ball after the 2 seconds, these are the penalties:   If the ball is scored, the score does not count and the ball goes to the opponent on their 5 man or 2 man rod (their choice).   If the ball does not score, the team on defense has the option of continuing play from the current position, continuing play from the point of infraction, or serving the ball at their 5 man or 2 man rod (their choice).   Continued violations may be grounds for a technical foul.

Re: Patent issued for timed foosball
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2010, 12:24:30 PM »

There are several reasons you cannot and would not do what you suggest (pass the ball backwards to the 2 man rod). First of all we added a rule that says you can only pass the ball backwards from the 5 to the 2 one time and then it must cross half court. I am looking at the center line across the table as half court similar to basketball. Also, once you cross half court and have the ball at the 3 man rod you cannot go back to the 5 or 2. It is a technical foul. You can pass back to the 5 but must hit the ball on goal immediately without stopping it if you want to do that particular shot.

So, in summation, you can pass from the 5 to the 2 once and then you must cross half court next. Also, if the goalie shoots and you get it at your 2 rod you can pass to the 5 one time, then you must cross half court next.

HOWEVER, you are looking at this from the OLD STYLE of tournament play. That being a game is to 5 points. We are changing the way you play in our tournaments where the focus is not on a game to 5 points, BUT HOW MANY POINTS CAN YOU RUN UP IN A GAME! So, if that is the case you do not want to stall since you are limiting yourself. I am not going to go into this format here and now, but we will initiate it here in Austin and I am sure you will hear about it. Again, we will have qualifying rounds based on point totals - not on games to 5!


Re: Patent issued for timed foosball
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2010, 12:36:35 PM »
BB Tuna...

Okay - patents. What a world it is. I had no clue what I was getting into. This was a very difficult process. And it is not over. We also filed what is called a continuation patent that even gets into more detail than what we already filed.

Patents are not just for one idea. You get as many as 20 ideas or "claims" as they call it rolled into one "Utility" patent. You can mix and match things so if one is not accepted and the other is you are covered. It is not cheap. And as you see it takes a long time. Also, we had 3 rejections by their office due to other prior inventions. But, we got what we wanted.

The patent basically says if you have an electronic device in your foosball game that limits the game time in any way, is built into the end wall of the cabinet, has a timeout button, has a timeout button with a predetermined timeout time, it is covered by this patent. Notice we did not claim score keeping as that has been done.

As I have experimented with this idea I have found mixed reviews from current foosers. But, I have not thrown tournaments yet and again I have a unique way to do the formats. Also, we have a feature that we can set the game to that works like this...the game has no clock and you play to 5 points as usual. However, after 6 minutes if the game is not over the clock comes on and you have 2 minutes to wrap the game up. Thus the game cannot go over 8 minutes unless the score is tied and then that ball becomes "meat ball" even if the score is 3-3 or 4-4.

This time limitation will make the games make more money - similar to air hockey. Also we can adjust the time and settings. For example I can give you 6 minutes for $1.00 or 6 minutes for $.50 or 8 minutes for $2.00. Whatever I want.

Local people that come into play love the game. They are not conditioned to a game to 5 points. In fact they love the countdown "10-9-8" etc when to gets to the end. When we first had players on this game at a private showing it had 57 and 46 plays on a Friday and Sat night, set at $1.00 for 6 minutes. The table made $103 in 2 nights - unheard of for foosball.

So, this is an experiment is what it is. We shall see what happens.


Re: Patent issued for timed foosball
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2010, 08:37:32 PM »
Mr. "H"............"da man" himself. My first choice to be the 1st Xfoos promo man! Maybe it will happen. TX is not that far eh?

Now you know what I was talking about 4 years ago.