PokerStars has yet to grab a toehold in the U.S. online poker market, but did finally win U.S. patent approval for fast-fold poker after several previous attempts before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) had gone for naught.
Those attempts stretch back to 2008, well before Full Tilt Poker revitalized the online poker industry in 2010 with the launch of Rush Poker. PokerStars, through parent company Rational Group, took over the intellectual property rights of the FTP patent application after acquiring the assets of the shuttered site in 2012 from the DoJ.
The patent is due to be issued next week, according to a report from eGR. Rational Group received approval after heeding the advice of a patent examiner and re-submitting its application with wording that was a bit more precise than that found on previous submissions.
The patent will effectively preclude other poker sites from offering fast-fold poker in the regulated U.S. market. Those restrictions do not apply to other jurisdictions throughout the globe.
However, a lawyer familiar with patent law expressed shock that the USPTO gave PokerStars the green light and believes that the new patent is sure to be contested.
“It is truly surprising here that the Pokerstars application survived multiple wholesale rejections,” said Attorney Bill Gantz. “The amendments which allowed this patent to issue should seem obvious to the entire poker industry, and there should be ample grounds for vigorously challenging this patent.”
As many are aware, the innovative concept created by FTP allows players who are part of a pool to quickly fold poor hole cards and be jettisoned to a new table. Fast-fold poker is now a staple of the online industry after giving birth to the likes of Zoom Poker, Speed Hold’em and Blaze Poker.