Many sports utilize tournaments and brackets to determine a winner. This age-old practice can be done with the aid of computers, or old-school with pen and paper. Class Act Sports, LLC purported to invent a new type of bracket system, as set forth in claim 1 below from SN 14/157,850:
An apparatus comprising:
a contest based on a single-elimination tournament having a plurality of tournament rounds
and a plurality of tournament participants, the contest having a sponsor, a rule set and plurality of entrants;
wherein the schedule of the plurality of tournament participants is determined by assigning
a seed value to each of the plurality of tournament participants and wherein the same seed value is assigned to more than one tournament participant;
wherein the rule set comprises a requirement that, before the beginning of the first tournament round, for each of the seed values, the entrant chooses a single tournament participant from the more than one tournament participants assigned to that seed value;
wherein, in each tournament round, the rule set comprises criteria for awarding points to each
entrant based on the actual victories of the single tournament participant chosen by the entrant for each of the seed values;
wherein the seed values comprise a plurality of seed rankings ranging from higher seed rankings to lower seed rankings;
wherein for each tournament round, the criteria for awarding points to each entrant provide
for higher point awards for correct predictions related to tournament participants with lower seed rankings, for lower point awards for correct predictions related to tournament participants with higher seed rankings, and that the point awards for correct predictions related to the first quartile of the higher seed rankings are the same;
and wherein for each tournament round other than the first tournament round, the criteria for
awarding points to each entrant provide for double the point awards for the tournament round when compared to the point awards for the previous tournament round.
The Patent Office Examiner, as well as a three-member panel of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, concluded that the claimed invention was merely an "abstract idea" and thus not patentable. A significant issue was that the invention was described as being able to be carried out on pen and paper, and the Board concluded that such methods are generally merely ways to analyze information in a person's mind and thus an abstract mental process.
So, perhaps you may want to try out Class Act's allegedly new and improved brackets for scoring your NCAA tournament brackets this March.