The Chess Variant Pages

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H. G. Muller wrote on 2022-08-15 UTC

Chances that people want to play a variant are very small. Chances they would want to pay for it next to zero.

There are two variants I know of that were patented. In the U.S.. (Patents do not automatically apply world wide.) In the U.S. you can pretty much patent anything; whether the patent is valid is to be determined in the court cases that challenge it. That makes them cheap; there only is a (yearly?) registration fee. In Europe it can take tens of thousands euros to do the due diligence get a patent approved. (And the result of this in case of a chess variant would most likely be that it gets rejected, for lack of novelty.) As far as I know both U.S. patents expired before anyone challenged them, because the inventors got tired of paying the fees.

To make sure there would be no legal issues for this website, there was a ban on using words that reminded of the variant in any posting here.

I am not sure how you could make money out of a chess variant. Unless it requires special equipment, which you sell. Patents are more suitable for protecting equipment than ideas. Chess variants typically only require a board and pieces, though. Boards can be made from cardboard and paper, and pretty much anything could be used as pieces. (A wide selection of high-quality unorthodox pieces is already commercially available, both in wood and plastic.) There is no way you could prevent people using these at home.

Of course you could set up an internet server where the variant could be played on-line. And ask a fee for regestering there. It seems a good way to make absolutely sure no one would ever want to play it, even in the extremely unlikely case that the variant would have the potential to become popular on its own merits.

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