Is a College Football Playoff Patented?

Michael HoppesCorrespondent IAugust 19, 2008

I recently discovered US Patent #6053823: Method for conducting championship playoff.

It’s quite clear that it’s for a college football playoff.  It includes a “Coaches' Poll, Writers' Poll and Independent/Objective Poll,” all combined to produce a playoff bracket.

The top 12 teams go into a “Championship Tournament,” and teams 13-28 into a secondary tournament.  The top four teams get a bye the first week and then enter a four-week playoff.  Overtime would be a continuation of the game, not the standard college football overtime rules.

The patent seems to be very specific, until the last line.

"Whereas the method of the present invention has been described in connection with the preferred embodiment thereof, many modifications, substitutions and additions may be made which are within the intended broad scope of the appended claims.  For example, the number of teams utilized in the championship and second tournaments could be anything from three teams on up.  The days on which the games are played and particular sequence of the games could easily be varied.  Shorter or longer seasons for each team is possible.  A third tertiary tournament could be added to the post-season for additional teams ranked below those in the championship and secondary tournaments.  Or the tertiary tournament could be consolation games for those teams which lost in the first round of either or both the championship and secondary tournaments.  Similarly, the polls could be of any type, whether subjective or objective, and could be of any number."

Perhaps there can’t be a playoff because it’s patented?  It was filed July 17, 1998, but the date on the patent is April 25, 2000.  Patents last 20 years, so does that mean no playoff until 2020 (or 2018)?

I’m also amazed there’s poor grammar/English in the patent.  What the heck did the attorney (Koley, Jessen, Daubman & Rupiper, P.C. Frederiksen; Mark D.) get their money for?

"Also, because team B scored first, team A would no the number of points needed to tie or surpass team B."

Patent is owned by Marc Mathews of Chandler, AZ.