This project brings up all kinds of feelings.
We obviously didn’t have it as early as you mention, but we discussed it internally in 2011. We talked about filing a patent but were advised it was unpatentable since all we’re doing is replacing one technology with another to do the same thing.
However, that didn’t stop Multimorphic and Stern from filing patents over it.
The short story is that you can look up the prosecution of Multimorphic via application number 13933590. After like 4 years and at least 2 lawyers, he finally got patent 9,604,129 for it. Now, that doesn’t mean it would hold up to a court challenge since simply replacing a bob with an accelerometer would be considered obvious, but until it gets challenged, technically he has it. The only thing even remotely novel about MM’s application is that he mentioned you could use it to encourage shaking/shoving. Pinball has spent over 100 years trying to avoid abuse, and he’s encouraging it, lol.
The Stern prosecution is a thing of beauty to go over. You can find theirs at application number 13796261. They’ve been rejected and final rejected multiple times, filed the absolutely flimsiest affidavit I have EVER seen, been upheld in rejection by the board of appeals, and have since filed ANOTHER affidavit (now with 400% More Proof) that has been rejected already. If you’re more than a casual patent fan, it’s worth a look.
Now, I get the motivations. Gerry wants to claim something “cool” and “innovative” (lol), and Stern wants to save the $5-6 a plumb bob costs each game (that can be their ONLY motivation for going after MM’s patent so hard).
But pinball machines are noisy. Like, really noisy. Not just coils, but subwoofers too. I haven’t seen a P3 in person yet to know how good their virtual tilt is (honestly, I thought I saw a bob in one, but I can’t find the pic again so maybe I made it up). You’ll find out soon enough, I guess. Good luck, but be wary of the patent since by default you’d lose right now.