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Trabucco

Atari Jaguar Patents?

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I was looking for patents for the Jaguar online, the console, the case design - but I did not find any of them, neither via the USPTO nor via Google patent search. I did however find the trademark registration for the Jaguar name. Hm. I might be overlooking something. Can anyone point me to the right direction regarding the patents?

 

Funny note: When you search for Atari Jaguar patents, one of the first things you find is this :-)

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It seems like I did this search myself a few years back and didn't find much for the Jaguar.  But I do remember finding listings for the Lynx cartridge though, and the Lynx console itself if I remember correctly.

 

I did some schematic design work for a patent lawyer once and I asked them about why I couldn't find any patent documents for the Atari Jaguar's console design (the shell).  He said it could be one of three things.  Atari didn't file a patent.  Atari filed a patent and I just haven't been able to find it yet.  Atari didn't file a patent for the shell design, but instead filed a copyright for sculpture, treating it like a work of art instead (apparently this isn't unusual for companies to do).  I haven't looked into the copyright idea yet.  It seems like copyright records are a bigger quagmire than patent records to dig into based on conversations I have had with people over the years.  You may need to actually pay a copyright lawyer to find these records if they exist.

 

There is also another thread in this that might need to be looked into, and that is the company that used the molds for the Jaguar for dental equipment.  I don't know if copyrights or patents were transferred when they purchased the tooling for the Jaguar, but it seems reasonable that they did. If so, it's possible they refiled that patent/copyright so it had no association with Atari anymore.  Making a search for Jaguar or Atari for the patent/copyright record potentially a dead end.  I'm not sure how defunct records our handled in the system, whether old versions of the record are expunge or not after transferring to a new owner.

 

This is all speculation, and it's possible that this has all been looked into at length already somewhere else on the internet.

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Patent protection is granted for a limited period, generally 20 years from the filing date of the application.

Out of topics, Hasbro released Jaguar publishing rights many years ago; so related to software but not hardware.

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Interesting, thanks @BitJag. I used the Trademark Electronic Search System of the USPTO site, expecting to find at least the expired entries from Atari Corporation for the Jaguar, but what do you know: Apparently Atari Interactive filed new trademarks for Atari Lynx and Atari Jaguar this very year, which were published for opposition just about a month ago 😳
Might as well be that I misunderstand this:

https://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4807:oexllp.3.120

https://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4807:oexllp.3.119

 

The typed drawing entry would be this one, abandoned September 12, 1996, filed April 20, 1992:

https://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4807:oexllp.4.2

 

Anyway, regarding the Jaguar patents, it seems they did indeed not file any then. You can find just about anything else really. I stumbled upon the Lynx cartridge and case patents as well and remember wondering why the cartriges were made by Ira Velinsky and the case of the portable console was not. That surprised me. But as far as the Jaguar goes: From what I learned when I asked John Mathieson, Ira Velinsky probably did the Jag console design. Will probably indeed take a lot more effort to dig up the copyright files and maybe drawings, if there are any. I can't believe that Atari would not protect what they wanted to be the new "industry standard" for gaming, whatever that was supposed to mean.

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13 minutes ago, Trabucco said:

Interesting, thanks @BitJag. I used the Trademark Electronic Search System of the USPTO site, expecting to find at least the expired entries from Atari Corporation for the Jaguar, but what do you know: Apparently Atari Interactive filed new trademarks for Atari Lynx and Atari Jaguar this very year, which were published for opposition just about a month ago 😳
Might as well be that I misunderstand this:

https://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4807:oexllp.3.120

https://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4807:oexllp.3.119

 

The typed drawing entry would be this one, abandoned September 12, 1996, filed April 20, 1992:

https://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4807:oexllp.4.2

 

Anyway, regarding the Jaguar patents, it seems they did indeed not file any then. You can find just about anything else really. I stumbled upon the Lynx cartridge and case patents as well and remember wondering why the cartriges were made by Ira Velinsky and the case of the portable console was not. That surprised me. But as far as the Jaguar goes: From what I learned when I asked John Mathieson, Ira Velinsky probably did the Jag console design. Will probably indeed take a lot more effort to dig up the copyright files and maybe drawings, if there are any. I can't believe that Atari would not protect what they wanted to be the new "industry standard" for gaming, whatever that was supposed to mean.

The links lead to: "This search session has expired. Please start a search session again by clicking on the TRADEMARK icon, if you wish to continue."

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Interesting but I'm not really sure how one Atari (Hasbro) can release the rights to the Jaguar pushing 20 years now and another Atari (Interactive) whatever form or iteration that is, can file trademarks on anything related to, as such being previously announced as public domain. The wording in the Hasbro release was very tricky and intentionally so but definitely extends to Jaguar hardware.

 

Not sure who the new kids on the block are but I can tell you where they can go lol

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7 minutes ago, Clint Thompson said:

The wording in the Hasbro release was very tricky and intentionally so but definitely extends to Jaguar hardware.

Please could you elaborate, because when I read the Hasbro announcement, they mention only the software.

https://www.atariage.com/Jaguar/archives/HasbroRights.html

 

This announcement will allow software developers to create and publish software for the Jaguar system without having to obtain a licensing agreement with Hasbro Interactive for such platform development. Hasbro Interactive cautioned, however, that the developers should not use the Atari trademark or logo in connection with their games or present the games as authorized or approved by Hasbro Interactive.

"Hasbro Interactive is strictly focused on developing and publishing entertainment software for the PC and the next generation game consoles," said Richard Cleveland, Head of Marketing for Hasbro Interactive's Atari Business Unit. "We realize there is a passionate audience of diehard Atari fans who want to keep the Jaguar system alive, and we don't want to prevent them from doing that. We will not interfere with the efforts of software developers to create software for the Jaguar system."

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Hi Boris,

 

I don't know if this will help you (or if you have already found it),
but I remembered, that there was or is a company "IMAGIN Systems", which is active in the dental field
and used the complete Jaguar housing in white as a redesign for a medical device.

They must have acquired the patent rights or somehow got hold of them.

 

-> IMAGIN Systems

 

Cheers,

andY

 

 

atari-dental-kamera.jpg

Imagin Systems.JPG

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8 hours ago, Editorb said:

The links lead to: "This search session has expired. Please start a search session again by clicking on the TRADEMARK icon, if you wish to continue."

By clicking the link and entering Atari Jaguar I got two results...

Serial Number 74267605, Filling Data 20 April 1992 by Atari Corporation, published for opposition by 23rd November 1993, Status: Dead, Abandonment Date 12th September 1996

Serial Number 90688073, Filling Date 3 May 2021 by Atari Interactive, published for opposition 14 December 2021, Status: Live

 

I don't know exactly what that all means, but I assume that with the demise of Atari the original Trademark for the Jaguar name automatically expired, and it looks like Atari interactive are re-registering it, perhaps they are re-establishing trademark ownership to the Jaguar name as they have plans to produce a Jaguar Flashback.

1 hour ago, Clint Thompson said:

The wording in the Hasbro release was very tricky and intentionally so but definitely extends to Jaguar hardware.

The wording explicitly give people the right to produce new software without having to obtain licencing or pay royalties and does not appear to mention hardware, although one could reasonable argue that it extends to/there is implied relinquishing any patients/other rights in regard to the designs of the cartridge PCB and Shell (having removed Atari name/logo) to allow the production of duplicates to enable production & distribution of newly developed software as allowing software development without permitting a means of production/distribution would be pointless.

However, arguing it applies any other Jaguar hardware maybe more difficult.

 

As BitJag indicated the dental company probably obtained any patents/other rights to the case design when they purchased the mould, although whether or not they refiled them in their own name is unknown but it would seem likely if they wanted to prevent anyone producing duplicates. 

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Cheers Andy! :-) Yes, I know about the Imagin Story. But as described in this article, and I think in a Youtube video I saw as well where the guy was interviewed, they just found the moulds that were going to get scrapped. So they bought them and reused them. This does not imply that they acquired the patents as well, as they did not need to. Atari had no interest in using the moulds anymore. Jaguar was dead. Moreover, it is still uncertain if they trademarked the design, if not patented it. And Hasbro, whatever they held on to gamewise, did not have any interest in looking back at the console. That does also not imply that they released the hardware for public domain, and I could not get that from the press release as well. But the platform was de facto abandoned nonetheless, as was the Jaguar logo.

 

Either way, the patent, if there was one, would appear as VOID or something like that in a seach and reappear under new ownership. The same should apply for trademarks. Example: Amiga (sorry guys ;-) ). You can find the old trademarks (and patents, for that matter) via online seach pretty easily. So it is pretty unlikely that, if Imagin bought any patents, they would not pop up under Atari Corporation as well.

 

That being said, I thought: Maybe Flare Technology filed any patents ... nope. Searching for John Mathieson and Martin Brennan individually also got me zero results.

 

This all leaves me baffled. I mean even the Panther designs surfaced eventually.

Edited by Trabucco
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2 hours ago, Trabucco said:

Searching for John Mathieson and Martin Brennan individually also got me zero results.

Martin Brennan ist still active, maybe you can get in touch with him.

 

-> Brennan Website - Contact

 

Cheers,

andY

Edited by andymanone
Typo

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Quote

Beverly, MA (May 14, 1999) - Leading entertainment software publisher, Hasbro Interactive announced today it has released all rights that it may have to the vintage Atari hardware platform, the Jaguar.

 Notice it says ALL RIGHTS and HARDWARE PLATFORM

Edited by JagChris

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52 minutes ago, JagChris said:

 Notice it says ALL RIGHTS and HARDWARE PLATFORM

I'm not a lawyer, but I imagine that if there ever was a dispute between Atari and a third party over the meaning of what the quoted line from the press release says, it may come down to a judge requiring/ordering the leg work be done to discover what specifically has/can be considered in the public domain, and what is not.  I don't know if the press release was left purposely ambiguous, or someone was just trying to get home as quick as possible for the evening, but it would have been helpful for people outside of Atari to know exactly what was in the public domain in relation to the Jaguar platform. Atari could possibly just come out and say that it meant just the software tools to publish software on the platform.  Does it matter if they make this claim?  If it does matter, is there anyone who would fight them in court if they make that kind of claim?

 

The letter is specific about publishing software though, and that can be done without any complaints from Hasbro.  As for selling software, I would assume that because there isn't any licencing or fee's required to publish that selling shouldn't cause any complaints either.

 

It seems that other companies, like Nintendo or Sega, don't mind homebrew development, publishing, and selling as long as you don't mess with their darlings. (Sonic, Mario, Metroid, Zelda, etc...). So, the new trademark is probably not a threat to development or sales as a whole as long as you don't mess with specific intellectual properties that they could potentially make money on in the future.

 

This ambiguity about anything related to the Jaguar, outside of new software, but potentially related to the trademark, might cause a few headaches in the future though.  Atari could use this to annoy developers by saying that we can't use the red "Jaguar" logo on products because it is tangentially related to the trademark.  There are potentially other things we could be overlooking as well.

 

What would be awesome to see Atari do is leverage their revived "Atari Jaguar" trademark to boost the work that has been done over the last 25 years, the recent releases, and the future work of those who are interested in the Jaguar.  Partnering with the Jaguar brand as it exists now because of an existing community, joining that existing community to help push it forward, rather than consolidating under the Atari brand in an attempt to portray it as something that it isn't.

 

If handled well, it would look good from a public relations standpoint by showing a company rewarding those who carried the water for all these years rather than punishing them for it. It would ensure that the Jaguar will continue to be carried further into the future from a preservation standpoint. It would maintain it's unique place in history as a open console platform from the 90's console wars. It would help reestablish the Atari brand with old followers. And, most importantly, it would help us produce more content on the Jaguar for everyone to enjoy.

 

Come on Atari, there's an opportunity here to make a little money and do a good thing. Do The Math™. 😁

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3 hours ago, BitJag said:

Come on Atari, there's an opportunity here to make a little money and do a good thing. Do The Math™. 😁

Given Not-Atari's attitude, fixed that for you.

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4 hours ago, BitJag said:

This ambiguity about anything related to the Jaguar, outside of new software,  

 

 

😁

I don't think it's very ambiguous. Or if someone was in a rush to get home then that's on Hasbro and their lawyers.

 

Oops we accidentally released rights to the hardware to the public domain and 20 years later still haven't corrected it. 

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@Trabucco

what's the interest here?

And your forum name is so similar to Trabuco Canyon where Mike had the PR release about the Coleco Chameleon that I had to do a double take.

"Trabuco Canyon, CA (PR) – December 17, 2015 Video-game industry pioneer COLECO re-enters the market, partnering with Retro Video Game Systems, Inc., to introduce a new, modern-day video-game system called the COLECO Chameleon.

 

/* hot air hot air hot air */

 

The COLECO Chameleon will launch in early 2016 and will also be demonstrated at Toy Fair New York 2016, February 13-16."

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In the end I don't think it's that big of a deal. Probably has more to do with protecting newly created hardware/software and nothing much more, if even that. Certainly not worth getting heated over either way. Though it does beg the question "Why?"

 

It's not like there's going to be some insane 64-bit resurrection. Unless it's merely there as an extension of their previous "Lawyer Up" attitude in trying to go after people for who knows what moving forward, then off to the stakes they can go. *Reasonably, it could be to prevent people from selling homebrews bearing the Atari name and logo on their releases, probably having nothing to do with the actual Jaguar or Lynx logo itself.

Edited by Clint Thompson
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Just thinking out loud, and this is just opinion, but the more I read the press release, the more I think the first line was supposed to say:

"..announced today it has released all publishing rights that it may have to the vintage Atari hardware platform, the Jaguar."

 

This idea was prompted by how the third paragraph starts. "This announcement will allow.." leading me to think that the intention of the press release was only to release the publishing rights for the platform, nothing else.  This is reinforced by the quote by Richard Cleveland in the next paragraph just talking about not wanting to impeded developers who wish to publish on the platform.  Beyond the first paragraph there is no mention about the physical platform, or anything else related to the Jaguar.  And there is noting any part of the platform going into the public domain.  You would think that anything going into the public domain would be important enough to mentioned by who ever was writing this up or by the person who is being quoted in the press release.

 

Why would they say "all rights" in the first paragraph, but only talk about publishing rights in the third paragraph?  Seems like there would one or two more important things they could mention to make themselves look good, that would be included under the umbrella of "all rights", and would have an immediate impact on developers at that time and in the future.

 

I don't know though, I'm reading too much into it at this point.  It really could be as simple as "All the effort put in the platform up to this point has no value to us, so we're putting it on the curb for anyone to take. We won't bother you about your games if you don't use the Atari logo."

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@phoenixdownita: I am digging into the (hardware) history of the Atari Jaguar and it just made me curious why nothing, expept for the trademark for the Jaguar logo, can be found trademark- or patentwise. As for your assumption based on my nick here: nope. Nothing to do with that.

 

Which also leads me to agree with you, @BitJag. I think the whole press release is unnecessarily unspecific, but I'd make the case that it is about the publishing rights as well. But what I find even more interesting: They talk about "rights that it [Hasbro] may have" Hm. I'd think that you could phrase that differently if you were absolutely sure. Be it publishing rights, trademarks or hardware patents: I think there was not really much to go by, at least that'y my theory, based on the seemingly non-existent patents. I mean they already called the then 5 year old system "vintage", which tells you what their overall perspective was. But as you said, really overanalyzing this here. I think it was first and foremost a PR thing, appearing not to stand in the way of passionate devotees and looking good by doing so.

@Clint Thompson: Agreed. It also does not affect the Jaguar logo (yet), and it was just interesting to see.

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It is a press release, not any sort of legal document, but a  very important rule of interpreting agreements is that ambiguities are construed as against the drafter.  

 

Therefore, if Hasbro released more rights then they intended to because of their own careless wording, they cannot later claim that they did not intend or mean what the document actually said. 

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On 12/17/2021 at 5:50 PM, phoenixdownita said:

@Trabucco

what's the interest here?

And your forum name is so similar to Trabuco Canyon where Mike had the PR release about the Coleco Chameleon that I had to do a double take.

"Trabuco Canyon, CA (PR) – December 17, 2015 Video-game industry pioneer COLECO re-enters the market, partnering with Retro Video Game Systems, Inc., to introduce a new, modern-day video-game system called the COLECO Chameleon.

 

/* hot air hot air hot air */

 

The COLECO Chameleon will launch in early 2016 and will also be demonstrated at Toy Fair New York 2016, February 13-16."

Some days I miss the madness of the Chameleon, Amico, and (pre release) Atari VCS forums. I wholeheartedly encourage the next retro messiah to debut their console on the site just so I can continue to post relevant TPB pictures. Maybe this guy has that missing element that’ll make the Jag a million seller. I mean, there’s like A BILLION people out there who’ll buy it, for sure.

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17 hours ago, jerseystyle said:

Some days I miss the madness of the Chameleon, Amico, and (pre release) Atari VCS forums. I wholeheartedly encourage the next retro messiah to debut their console on the site just so I can continue to post relevant TPB pictures. Maybe this guy has that missing element that’ll make the Jag a million seller. I mean, there’s like A BILLION people out there who’ll buy it, for sure.

sassy trailer park boys GIF

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