Patent Battle Brewing Over Videotaping Stars Signing Autographs

from the can't-make-this-stuff-up dept

Reuters is running an article about the launch of a new company, Live Autographs, which has stars like William Shatner (who's an investor in the company) signing autographs for customers, while filming a short video of the signature. As part of the video the stars are supposed to say aloud something in reference to what they're signing. It's basically no different than standing in line to get an autograph and telling the person what you want them to sign -- except that it takes place over the internet, and the end result is both the signed product and the video. Who knows if it's a good idea or not, but given the lengths some people will go (or the amount they'll pay) to get an autograph, it's hardly a surprising extension of the autograph industry.

But, don't tell that to one guy. Over at TechCrunch, Mike Arrington not only shows the William Shatner video he requested, but also publishes a message from another company that claims Live Autographs is stealing his intellectual property. Yes, this guy is trying to patent the idea of signing autographs remotely and filming the results. It's still in the application stage, which you can see right here. Of course, you can't sue over a patent that hasn't yet been issued, so the guy doesn't have much of a complaint yet. But, seriously? Trying to patent filming people signing autographs?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Reason, Aug 15th, 2008 @ 2:23pm

    Next up

    A patent that covers filming people doing everyday activities.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Willton, Aug 15th, 2008 @ 2:41pm

    Assuming this issues,

    this is a pretty narrowly defined "invention." According to the broadest claim, you need at least 3 cameras filming this behavior, and then an interface that switches between each one. So, use only 2 cameras and you're outside the scope of this "invention."

    All that said, I have a feeling this will be in prosecution for a long while. It's been over 3 years since filing, and the examiner hasn't even issued an office aciton yet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Gears of Peace, Aug 15th, 2008 @ 2:52pm

    Never understood the whole autographs thing. Videotaping it just makes it that much more incomprehensible to me :p

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2008 @ 3:08pm

    Actually, the broadest claim appears to be claim 20 which, to my eye, is prima facie invalid over streaming sports coverage (at least two camera streams and an input from the user).

    The rest suffer from the "simulating" limitation, which, since the cited infringing-if-it-were-issued activity is a recording of the event, not a simulation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    eleete, Aug 15th, 2008 @ 4:19pm


    Just an interesting point since I saw something about an invention. Not my words, but I include the link

    If you followed a recipe precisely 100 times, would each outcome taste the same? It would, wouldn't it? Why? Every atom in the universe obeys a set of laws, the laws of physics. With law comes predeterminability. Everything in the universe is based on mathematics. Mathematics is a medium known to be predetermined. Pick a number, any number. Now pick and add another to it. As you calculate the sum realize what it is you are about to do. You discovered that which was already there, the sum. Like mathematics, invention/creativity works the same way. There is no invention, only the discovery of what was already there. Do you know what else this reveals? Random does not exist in the universe either!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2008 @ 4:35pm

    Re: Next up

    haha good one

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    PatrickHenry, Aug 15th, 2008 @ 4:41pm

    Applicant needs to get new attorneys

    The applicant for the patent would do well to hire some new patent attorneys. You know, patent attorneys that will tell him when he can assert his patent (**after** it issues), and who have heard the phrase "antecedent basis" (see claim 1) and know what it means.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2008 @ 6:20pm

    I have a patent on filming people having sex.I will be rich !

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Gary Sohmers, Aug 16th, 2008 @ 4:47pm

    Its about the Contract ...

    Thanks for all of your input

    The core matter is that LiveAutographs signed contracts and made commitments that they have breached.

    IMAGE has not created a legal issue ... we are only responding to the breaches and protecting our intellectual property that was shared with LiveAutographs as part of the contract.

    Contracts are only as good as the people who sign them.

    We will be releasing and licensing our technology soon, offering a better service at a cheaper price.

    Stay tuned.

    Thanks again

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    DanC, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 12:41am

    Re: Its about the Contract ...

    Bad news for you: interactive simulation dvds using multiple camera angles have been on the market well before 2006. You're merely making a personalized one.

    There isn't any intellectual property argument, because 1) your patent hasn't been granted yet, and 2) anyone reading your patent application claims can tell it's already been done.

    Violating a contract is one thing, but if the "intellectual property" you're referring to is the patent application, then there's really nothing to protect.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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