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. The PDF files are via, which is a free service.  Otherwise, creating PDF files directly from the USPTO Database is a major PIA.

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.

The early patents are to Atari, Inc. when Atari was one company. First there was Coin-Op, and then there was Coin-Op and Consumer.

When Atari went supernova the company was split up. Consumer went to the Tramiel Family and became Atari Corporation, Inc. Coin-op became Atari Games Corporation, Inc.and went through several hands. (This is not a history of Atari except through its patents.)

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 mainly 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, 7/5/2004, 10/24/2011

         2,455,992     Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device
(not Atari. This is Goldsmith, et al., the first video game)

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

001    3,793,483     Video image positioning control system for amusement device
(This appears to be Nolan Bushnell's first video game patent) 

002     D243,106     Game cabinet

003     D243,624     Game cabinet

004     D243,625     Game cabinet

005     D243,626     Game cabinet

006     4,016,362     Multiple image positioning control system and method

007     4,045,789     Animated video image display system and method

008     4,054,919     Video image positioning control system

009     D246,916     Game cabinet

010     D246,917     Game cabinet

011     D246,918     Game cabinet

012     4,071,697     Interactive video/telephone transmission system

013     D247,321     Game cabinet

014     4,075,621     Hand held communication aid for the dumb

015     4,081,829     Audio activated video display

016     4,084,194     Game cabinet

017     D247,746     Hand held control unit

018     4,091,234     Joystick with attached circuit elements

019     D248,247     Game cabinet

020     D248,251     Game cabinet

021     4,099,092     Television display alignment system and method

022     4,099,719     System and method for automatic alignment of gun with video display

023     4,102,532     Game method and apparatus for sensing the position of an object with respect to its receptacle

024     4,104,625     Apparatus for providing facial image animation

025     D248,982     Game cabinet

026     4,107,642     Potentiometer joystick

027     4,107,665     Apparatus for continuous variation of object size on a raster type video screen

028     4,112,422     Method and apparatus for generating moving objects on a video display screen

029     4,116,444     Method for generating a plurality of moving objects on a video display screen

030     4,124,787     Joystick controller mechanism operating one or plural switches sequentially or simultaneously

031     D250,264     Electronic control cabinet

032     4,129,883     Apparatus for generating at least one moving object across a video display screen where wraparound of the object is avoided

033     D250,606     Game control console

034     D250,607     Game control console

035     D250,608     Game control console

036     4,130,830     Method and apparatus for homogeneous exposure of video display screen

037     D250,665     Game cabinet

038     D250,666     Game cabinet

039     D250,667     Game cabinet

040     D250,780     Game cabinet

041     D250,781     Game cabinet

042     4,133,530     Game table for booth installation

043     4,139,863     Chroma generation system

044     D251,143     Game control console

045     4,139,968     Puppet-like apparatus

046     4,142,722     Seat mounted simulated weapon and target shooting game

047     D251,452     Electronic game control cabinet

048     4,148,485     Driving games method for automatically controlled cars

049     4,149,027     TV game cartridge and method

050     4,152,671     Oscillator-modulator apparatus and method therefor

051     D252,636     Game cabinet

052     4,164,759     Voltage controlled oscillator

053     4,165,072     Method of operating a video game

054     D252,753     Video game cartridge assembly

055     4,167,019     Video image generator

056     D252,926     Game control console

057     D253,001     Game cabinet

058     4,169,272     Apparatus for simulating a perspective view of a video image and for storing such image with a minimum number of bits

059     D253,061     Submarine amusement game cabinet

060     D253,293     Game table

061     4,174,836     Game for simulating submarine conning station

062     4,180,267     Ball rollover switch assembly

063     4,189,145     Apparatus for continuous rotation simulation of video images

064     4,189,728     Apparatus for generating a plurality of moving objects on a video display screen utilizing associative memory

065     4,190,252     Multiple drop target assembly for amusement game

066     4,192,507     Light actuated shooting arcade game

067     4,193,108     Apparatus for securely fastening a circuit board to a circuit board edge connector

068     D254,544     Video game control unit

069     4,200,780     Control assembly with rotating disc cover for sliding control

070     D255,565     Video game control unit

071     4,214,360     Method of making a radio frequency oscillator-modulator with ground metallization

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

073    4,235,438     Pinball game spinning target

074     4,244,574     Pinball machine with conical playfield

075     4,253,090     Contactless ball shooter apparatus for pinball game

076     4,275,611     Joystick controller

077     D260,881     Memory module housing

078     4,296,476     Data processing system with programmable graphics generator

079     D261,644     Memory module housing

080     4,299,446     Compound anamorphic mirror and frame for off-axis reflected image modification

081     4,301,473     Method and apparatus for video signal resolution enhancement

082     D262,702     Keyboard console

083     4,314,236     Apparatus for producing a plurality of audio sound effects

084     D263,142     Printer housing

085     4,319,099     Dome switch having contacts offering extended wear

086     D263,472     Floppy disk housing

087     4,324,401     Method and system for generating moving objects on a video display screen

088     4,337,444     Radio frequency oscillator-modulator circuit

089     D265,315     Keyboard console

090     4,339,778     Dual floppy disc machine

091     4,349,708     Joystick control

092     4,368,515     Bank switchable memory system

093     4,372,007     Releaseable hinge mechanism

094     4,375,585     Deformable switch keyboard

095     D268,689     Remote control unit for electronic game

096     D269,087     Image game cartridge

097     4,388,620     Method and apparatus for generating elliptical images on a raster-type video display

098     4,404,629     Data processing system with latch for sharing instruction fields

099     D271,311     Video game console

100     D271,312     Video game controller

101     D271,313     Video game controller

102     D271,891     Video game console

103     4,421,317     Electronic game apparatus using a three-dimensional image

104     4,423,870     Video game collision detection system

105     4,425,559     Method and apparatus for generating line segments and polygonal areas on a raster-type display

106     D272,342     Cartridge for video game unit

107     4,432,067     Memory cartridge for video game system

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

109     4,435,746     Inductive reactive voltage regulator

110     4,435,779     Data processing system with programmable graphics generator

111     4,445,114     Apparatus for scrolling a video display

112     4,451,900     Method and apparatus for text editing display

113     4,459,578     Finger control joystick utilizing Hall effect

114     4,467,412     Slave processor with clock controlled by internal ROM & master processor

115     4,469,330     Controller unit for video game

116     4,471,463     Data processing system with programmable graphics generator

117     4,471,464     Data processing system with programmable graphics generator

118     4,471,465     Video display system with multicolor graphics selection

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

120     4,496,936     Digital-analog conversion for shaft encoders

121     4,738,451     Multi-player, multi-character cooperative play video game with independent player entry and departure

122     4,807,886     Amusement game with dispensed targets

123     4,862,156     Video computer system including multiple graphics controllers and associated method

124     4,875,459     Gattling-like gun

125     4,905,168     Object processing for video system using slips and linked list

126     4,930,074     Multiple stamp motion objects in a video game system

127     4,949,119     Gearshift for a vehicle simulator using computer controlled realistic real world forces

128     4,960,117     Rear entry booth and seat for a sit-down video game

129     4,969,647     Invertible hand-held electronic game apparatus

130     4,970,690     Memory cell arrangement supporting bit-serial arithmetic

131     4,988,892     Method and circuit for generating dependent clock signals

132     4,992,631     Multi-directional switch assembly

133     5,005,148     Driving simulator with moving painted dashboard

134     D318,073     Driving video game cabinet

135     D318,273     Video game cartridge

136     5,044,956     Control device such as a steering wheel for video vehicle simulator with realistic feedback forces

137     D320,624     Hand-held electronic game apparatus housing

138     5,113,511     System for dynamically providing predicted high/slow speed accessing memory to a processing unit based on instructions

139     5,116,051     Strain gauge pressure-sensitive video game control

140     5,154,313     Modular ticket storage tray

141     5,197,003     Gearshift for a vehicle simulator having a solenoid for imposing a resistance force

142     5,203,563     Shaker control device

143     5,235,677     Raster graphics color palette architecture for multiple display objects

144     5,240,417     System and method for bicycle riding simulation

145     D339,577     Game cartridge

146     5,269,687     System and method for recursive driver training

147     5,275,565     Modular display simulator and method

148     5,286,024     System for sensing the position of a joystick

149     5,299,810     Vehicle simulator including cross-network feedback

150     5,354,202     System and method for driver training with multiple driver competition

151     5,363,119     Scaling processor for raster images

152     5,364,271     Bicycle and motorcycle riding simulation system

153    5,366,376     Driver training system and method with performance data feedback

154     5,368,484     Vehicle simulator with realistic operating feedback

155     D355,879     Steering wheel configuration

156     5,415,549     Method for coloring a polygon on a video display

157    5,435,554     Baseball simulation system

158     5,474,453     Scenario development system for vehicle simulators

159     5,519,826     Stop motion animation system

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

161    5,573,402     System and method for coloring polygon using dithering

162     5,577,913     System and method for driver training with multiple driver competition

163    5,607,308     Vehicle simulator with realistic operating feedback

164    5,607,356     Interactive game film

165    5,616,031     System and method of shadowing an object in motion

166    5,618,178     Vehicle simulator with low frequency sound feedback

167    5,618,179     Driver training system and method with performance data feedback

168    5,621,431     Animation system having variable video display rate

169    5,660,547     Scenario development system for vehicle simulators

170    5,681,043     Compression actuated game or simulation apparatus

171    D421,070     Electronic video game console

172    6,416,412    System for remotely activating a sound in a game unit