Atari's Patents

In the United States, patents are issued only in the name of the inventor. However, most companies require their employees whose work may be patentable to agree in advance to assign all their patent rights to the company.

The following patents are from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Patent Database  which show Atari as the Assignee. Clicking on them will take you to the database and show you the Specification in HTML.

The complete Patent Images (including the drawings) are in TIFF format and require a TIFF viewer.

I recommend the Alternatiff TIFF browser plug-in  from Medical Informatics Engineering (It's free.)

Notes about patent numbers:

1. Patent numbers that begin with 'D' are Design Patents and cover only the appearance of the invention.

2. Patent numbers that  begin with a number are Utility Patents that cover the functionality of the invention.

3. Patent numbers that begin with 'RE' are Reissued patents, where the inventor decided to revise the claims of an already issued patent or correct significant errors in the specification.

In reading a patent, bear in mind that the Claims are what legally define the invention. The purpose of the Specification is to support and interpret the Claims.

Just because something is in the Specification doesn't mean the Inventor is claiming to have invented it.

It's the Claims that define the invention.

Also, don't  think you know what the invention is by reading the Abstract. The purpose of the Abstract is solely to provide search terms.

And, finally, a standard disclaimer.

I am not a Patent Attorney or a Patent Agent. This information is being provided as a public service to those interested in the historical aspects of video games. Nothing here should be construed as legal advice.

If you are interested in learning more about patents, there is a great deal of it on the USPTO Web Site.

Another good source is David Pressman's Patent It Yourself from Nolo Press. The information is useful even if you have a patent attorney.

Jed Margolin  1/8/2001

1     D421,070     Electronic video game console

2     5,681,043     Compression actuated game or simulation apparatus

3     5,660,547     Scenario development system for vehicle simulators

4     5,621,431     Animation system having variable video display rate

5     5,618,179     Driver training system and method with performance data feedback

6     5,618,178     Vehicle simulator with low frequency sound feedback

7     5,616,031     System and method of shadowing an object in motion

8     5,607,356     Interactive game film

9     5,607,308     Vehicle simulator with realistic operating feedback

10     5,577,913     System and method for driver training with multiple driver competition

11     5,573,402     System and method for coloring polygon using dithering

12     RE35,314     Multi-player, multi-character cooperative play video game with independent player entry and departure

13     5,519,826     Stop motion animation system

14     5,474,453     Scenario development system for vehicle simulators

15     5,435,554     Baseball simulation system

16     5,415,549     Method for coloring a polygon on a video display

17     D355,879     Steering wheel configuration

18     5,368,484     Vehicle simulator with realistic operating feedback

19     5,366,376     Driver training system and method with performance data feedback

20     5,364,271     Bicycle and motorcycle riding simulation system

21     5,363,119     Scaling processor for raster images

22     5,354,202     System and method for driver training with multiple driver competition

23     5,299,810     Vehicle simulator including cross-network feedback

24     5,286,024     System for sensing the position of a joystick

25     5,275,565     Modular display simulator and method

26     5,269,687     System and method for recursive driver training

27     D339,577     Game cartridge

28     5,240,417     System and method for bicycle riding simulation

29     5,235,677     Raster graphics color palette architecture for multiple display objects

30     5,203,563     Shaker control device

31     5,197,003     Gearshift for a vehicle simulator having a solenoid for imposing a resistance force

32     5,154,313     Modular ticket storage tray

33     5,116,051     Strain gauge pressure-sensitive video game control

34     5,113,511     System for dynamically providing predicted high/slow speed accessing memory to a processing unit based on instructions

35     D320,624     Hand-held electronic game apparatus housing

36     5,044,956     Control device such as a steering wheel for video vehicle simulator with realistic feedback forces

37     D318,273     Video game cartridge

38     D318,073     Driving video game cabinet

39     5,005,148     Driving simulator with moving painted dashboard

40     4,992,631     Multi-directional switch assembly

41     4,988,892     Method and circuit for generating dependent clock signals

42     4,970,690     Memory cell arrangement supporting bit-serial arithmetic

43     4,969,647     Invertible hand-held electronic game apparatus

44     4,960,117     Rear entry booth and seat for a sit-down video game

45     4,949,119     Gearshift for a vehicle simulator using computer controlled realistic real world forces

46     4,930,074     Multiple stamp motion objects in a video game system

47     4,905,168     Object processing for video system using slips and linked list

48     4,875,459     Gattling-like gun

49     4,862,156     Video computer system including multiple graphics controllers and associated method

50     4,807,886     Amusement game with dispensed targets

51     4,738,451     Multi-player, multi-character cooperative play video game with independent player entry and departure

52     4,496,936     Digital-analog conversion for shaft encoders

53     D277,155     Display unit for a video game system or the like

54     4,471,465     Video display system with multicolor graphics selection

55     4,471,464     Data processing system with programmable graphics generator

56     4,471,463     Data processing system with programmable graphics generator

57     4,469,330     Controller unit for video game

58     4,467,412     Slave processor with clock controlled by internal ROM & master processor

59     4,459,578     Finger control joystick utilizing Hall effect

60     4,451,900     Method and apparatus for text editing display

61     4,445,114     Apparatus for scrolling a video display

62     4,435,779     Data processing system with programmable graphics generator

63     4,435,746     Inductive reactive voltage regulator

64     D272,835     Lower housing for a control unit for a video game

65     4,432,067     Memory cartridge for video game system

66     D272,342     Cartridge for video game unit

67     4,425,559     Method and apparatus for generating line segments and polygonal areas on a raster-type display

68     4,423,870     Video game collision detection system

69     4,421,317     Electronic game apparatus using a three-dimensional image

70     D271,891     Video game console

71     D271,313     Video game controller

72     D271,312     Video game controller

73     D271,311     Video game console

74     4,404,629     Data processing system with latch for sharing instruction fields

75     4,388,620     Method and apparatus for generating elliptical images on a raster-type video display

76     D269,087     Image game cartridge

77     D268,689     Remote control unit for electronic game

78     4,375,585     Deformable switch keyboard

79     4,372,007     Releaseable hinge mechanism

80     4,368,515     Bank switchable memory system

81     4,349,708     Joystick control

82     4,339,778     Dual floppy disc machine

83     D265,315     Keyboard console

84     4,337,444     Radio frequency oscillator-modulator circuit

85     4,324,401     Method and system for generating moving objects on a video display screen

86     D263,472     Floppy disk housing

87     4,319,099     Dome switch having contacts offering extended wear

88     D263,142     Printer housing

89     4,314,236     Apparatus for producing a plurality of audio sound effects

90     D262,702     Keyboard console

91     4,301,473     Method and apparatus for video signal resolution enhancement

92     4,299,446     Compound anamorphic mirror and frame for off-axis reflected image modification

93     D261,644     Memory module housing

94     4,296,476     Data processing system with programmable graphics generator

95     D260,881     Memory module housing

96     4,275,611     Joystick controller

97     4,253,090     Contactless ball shooter apparatus for pinball game

98     4,244,574     Pinball machine with conical playfield

99     4,235,438     Pinball game spinning target

100     D257,560     Hand held communication aid for the mute and hearing impaired

101     4,214,360     Method of making a radio frequency oscillator-modulator with ground metallization

102     D255,565     Video game control unit

103     4,200,780     Control assembly with rotating disc cover for sliding control

104     D254,544     Video game control unit

105     4,193,108     Apparatus for securely fastening a circuit board to a circuit board edge connector

106     4,192,507     Light actuated shooting arcade game

107     4,190,252     Multiple drop target assembly for amusement game

108     4,189,728     Apparatus for generating a plurality of moving objects on a video display screen utilizing associative memory

109     4,189,145     Apparatus for continuous rotation simulation of video images

110     4,180,267     Ball rollover switch assembly

111     4,174,836     Game for simulating submarine conning station

112     D253,293     Game table

113     D253,061     Submarine amusement game cabinet

114     4,169,272     Apparatus for simulating a perspective view of a video image and for storing such image with a minimum number of bits

115     D253,001     Game cabinet

116     D252,926     Game control console

117     4,167,019     Video image generator

118     D252,753     Video game cartridge assembly

119     4,165,072     Method of operating a video game

120     4,164,759     Voltage controlled oscillator

121     D252,636     Game cabinet

122     4,152,671     Oscillator-modulator apparatus and method therefor

123     4,149,027     TV game cartridge and method

124     4,148,485     Driving games method for automatically controlled cars

125     D251,452     Electronic game control cabinet

126     4,142,722     Seat mounted simulated weapon and target shooting game

127     4,139,968     Puppet-like apparatus

128     D251,143     Game control console

129     4,139,863     Chroma generation system

130     4,133,530     Game table for booth installation

131     D250,781     Game cabinet

132     D250,780     Game cabinet

133     D250,667     Game cabinet

134     D250,666     Game cabinet

135     D250,665     Game cabinet

136     4,130,830     Method and apparatus for homogeneous exposure of video display screen

137     D250,608     Game control console

138     D250,607     Game control console

139     D250,606     Game control console

140     4,129,883     Apparatus for generating at least one moving object across a video display screen where wraparound of the object is avoided

141     D250,264     Electronic control cabinet

142     4,124,787     Joystick controller mechanism operating one or plural switches sequentially or simultaneously

143     4,116,444     Method for generating a plurality of moving objects on a video display screen

144     4,112,422     Method and apparatus for generating moving objects on a video display screen

145     4,107,665     Apparatus for continuous variation of object size on a raster type video screen

146     4,107,642     Potentiometer joystick

147     D248,982     Game cabinet

148     4,104,625     Apparatus for providing facial image animation

149     4,102,532     Game method and apparatus for sensing the position of an object with respect to its receptacle

150     4,099,719     System and method for automatic alignment of gun with video display

151     4,099,092     Television display alignment system and method

152     D248,251     Game cabinet

153     D248,247     Game cabinet

154     4,091,234     Joystick with attached circuit elements

155     D247,746     Hand held control unit

156     4,084,194     Game cabinet

157     4,081,829     Audio activated video display

158     4,075,621     Hand held communication aid for the dumb

159     D247,321     Game cabinet

160     4,071,697     Interactive video/telephone transmission system

161     D246,918     Game cabinet

162     D246,917     Game cabinet

163     D246,916     Game cabinet

164     4,054,919     Video image positioning control system

165     4,045,789     Animated video image display system and method

166     4,016,362     Multiple image positioning control system and method

167     D243,626     Game cabinet

168     D243,625     Game cabinet

169     D243,624     Game cabinet

170     D243,106     Game cabinet

171     3,793,483     Video image positioning control system for amusement device
(This appears to be Nolan Bushnell's first video game patent)

172     3,728,480     Television gaming and training apparatus
(not Atari, This is the Sanders Associates Baer patent)