News / PokerStars gets US patent for its Zoom Poker

PokerStars gets US patent for its Zoom Poker Lundi, 12 mai 2014

After years of trying to prove its point and getting a US patent for Zoom Poker, PokerStars, through its parent company Rational Group, finally got what it wanted. Last month, the United States Patent and Trademark Office decided to grant Rational a patent for fast-fold poker, after multiple rejections from the same Office. It seems PokerStars used a different language in its request, with a better definition of what fast-folding changes in the game of poker. At this time it is unclear if the patent will include both Zoom and Rush Poker, the fast-fold method available on Full Tilt Poker, the other Rational Group online poker room, when it is awarded officially on May 20.

The fact PokerStars can claim this patent on US soil will have a major impact on US online poker for all competitors currently offering some form of fast-fold poker. It might very well have a major impact on the profit margins of its competitors in the legal poker rooms in the US already offering such a format. Notably, PartyPoker with its Fast Forward Poker, and 888Poker with its recently introduced Snap Poker. When Zoom Poker was introduced on PokerStars, it took less than a month before Zoom Poker was responsible of 25% of all hands played on the site. The concept not only brings excitement to players, it also brings in lot of rake.

Only online rooms operating in the US could be affected by the patent. Canadian players thus will not see any change in their games, no matter what online room they play on.

If ever PokerStars succeeds in getting in the US market, this would be a major advantage for them, as they would be the only ones who could present fast-fold poker to American players. Not only do they have the best software, they would also enjoy a sizeable advantage with this form of poker.

The decision however will certainly be contested in court. It came as a surprise to most observers as the Rational Group had been rebuffed a few times before on this matter, from their first request in 2008 until their latest try in January of this year. The rewriting of their request, with a better explanation of the impact of folding out of turn and moving to a different game seems to have had a major impact on the Office's decision this time.

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