US Patent Office Grants 'Photography Against A White Background' Patent To Amazon

from the maybe-someone-at-the-office-checked-the-wrong-box? dept

The US Patent and Trademark Office is frequently maligned for its baffling/terrible decisions... and rightfully so. Because this is exactly the sort of thing for which the USPTO should be maligned. Udi Tirosh at DIY Photography has uncovered a recently granted patent for the previously-unheard of process of photographing things/people against a white backdrop... to of all companies, Amazon.

I am not really sure how to tag this other than a big #fail for the USPTO, or a huge Kudos for Amazon's IP attorneys. In a patent simply called Studio arrangement Amazon took IP ownership on what we all call shooting against a seamless white backdrop.
Here's a photo of Amazon's bold new photography concept (US Patent 8,676,045), which pretty much looks like every photo studio in the history of photo studios.


There's plenty of technical text to separate Amazon's white-backdropped photo studio from the thousands in existence prior to 2011 (the date of filing), which shows just how innovative Amazon's concept is:
a background comprising a white cyclorama; a front light source positioned in a longitudinal axis intersecting the background, the longitudinal axis further being substantially perpendicular to a surface of the white cyclorama; an image capture position located between the background and the front light source in the longitudinal axis, the image capture position comprising at least one image capture device equipped with an eighty-five millimeter lens, the at least one image capture device further configured with an ISO setting of about three hundred twenty and an f-stop value of about 5.6...
Amazon does more explaining later on, differentiating its proprietary white-background photo thing from others exactly like it by pointing out that prior art often refers to image retouching, green screens or other forms of image manipulation. Amazon's technique is apparently the purest of the pure, being only the photographer, the photographed object/person, the white background, a number of front lights/back lights and some sort of object separating the subject from the ground below it.

How does this breakthrough work in practice? Glad you asked.

1. Turn back lights on.
2. Turn front lights on.
3. Position thing on platform.
4. Take picture.

Now, we'll note that in all fairness (HAHAHAHA), Amazon filed this application back in the early days of photography, circa 2011. Nearly three years later, that foresight has paid off, and Amazon can now corner the market on taking pictures in front of a white background.

Currently, prior art input is being sought at Stack Exchange's Ask Patents, but questions about the patent's viability may come down to the very specific specifics listed above. On one hand, the listed stipulations make it easier to route around. On the other hand, two of the specifics are hedged with the word "about," leaving only the 85mm lens specification as truly "unique."

Is Amazon about to start sending demand letters to photo studios? That seems unlikely. But it does raise the question as to why this patent was sought in the first place. If this is how Amazon performs its product photography, it seems like it could have been handled in an internal document, rather than pushed through the patent office. Even if it's never used for trolling, it's still on record as "something Amazon thought up," rather than nowhere to be found as studio setups for shooting against a white background have been in use for several decades.

Chalk up another loss in the USPTO's column and a baffling, oblique "win" for Amazon's IP legal team, which now "owns" an obvious method.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 4:22am

    Sounds like Amazon IP lawyers could patent a "method of patenting obvious, widely used methods". As for stupidity, beware. Do not be stupid as the USPTO already detains the patent for that. And it is widely used by the Govt (and licensed for free for some people)!

     

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    fogbugzd (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 4:43am

    At first I was surprised that the patent omitted the phrase "one click" of the camera. Then I realized they already had a patent on that part of the process.

     

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    rw (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 5:22am

    This clearly indicates why we absolutely MUST have a patent office. It keeps IP attorneys employed.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 5:52am

    Going to be difficult to find prior art on that one, huh?

     

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    scotts13 (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 5:53am

    Don't know about you guys, but as a former professional photographer, I had my studio set up EXACTLY like that since the 70's - it's 100% common practice, right down to the curved join between floor and wall, and the slightly longer than normal focal length. Of course, most of the time you'd want to stop down a bit further than f/5.6...

    Oh well, it'll only cost a few million to overturn when it's first "enforced" - no harm, no foul. (Damned idiot patent examiners...)

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 5:54am

    Patents. Because f people actually trying to do something for their money.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:01am

    Not surprising though when you think about the fact that these are this is the same company that got a patent on One Click Shopping. The only question now is who exactly at the USPTO is and Amazon employee.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:02am

    Didn't Apple invent white?

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:05am

    Re:

    No, but they have the patent on it.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:07am

    Is somebody in the patent office trying to get patent law abolished by issuing stupid patents?

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:08am

    Man, now you don't even have to tack on "on the internet" to patent an obvious thing.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:11am

    Re: Re:

    Is that a rounded corner I see in that patent too?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:11am

    Oh, well, f/5.6 is totally non-obvious. Wish I had thought of that.

     

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  14.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 6:12am

    Prior Art

    I don't know about the lens size, but this is the exact same setup as "Penn and Teller's Bullshit". White, curved background, lighting on both the background and foreground, and a camera. IMDB is saying that show aired in 2003.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:12am

    Woah, need to sit down for a moment, the whole world has taken a massive step forward in the world of science and useful arts thanks to this patent. Suck it landing on the moon, steam engines, the internet.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:16am

    The dumb thing in the setup...

    With the platform that the subject is on (especially give the angle and focal length of the lens), the cyclorama is pretty much worthless. The purpose of a cyclorama is so that you can shoot something full length seamlessly with out a corner in the background. You won't see the corner with that focal length at that angle and you won't be full length. If you were to move far enough back to be at full length, you would get the platform in the shot creating the edge in the background that the cyclorama is supposed to prevent.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:33am

    WTF?

    I guess at this point amazon is just taking the piss out of the patent system.

    That is the only way I can rationally explain this...

     

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  18.  
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    limbodog (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 6:33am

    This makes me realize I am in the wrong line of work

    Working for the patent office must be one of the easiest jobs in the world; there are no requirements!

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:35am

    Re: This makes me realize I am in the wrong line of work

    That's not true. You need to bring your own rubber stamp.

     

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  20.  
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    Michael, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:36am

    Re:

    Wait!

    Your studio has ROUNDED CORNERS?

     

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  21.  
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    Michael, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:39am

    Why are there people working in the patent office?

    As far as I can tell, there is only one thing preventing them from totally automating their jobs:

    http://www.google.com/patents/US5152223

     

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  22.  
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    OldGeezer (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 6:41am

    Think I'll become a patent troll!

    If you can get a patent on something so obvious I need to get to work. How about "photography in front of a building" or "photography in front of a landmark"? Maybe "photography of a sunset". The possibilities are endless.

     

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  23.  
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    madasahatter (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 6:45am

    Re:

    Which 70's? 1870's or 1970's.

    Seriously, this is a very old studio procedure with numerous variations.

    Wait, hold the presses, movies and tv stations often use a similar technique of shooting actors/weather reports against a (blue?) screen and then superimposing the background image on the screen. I see Amazon's strategy now, sue the movie studies and tv station owners for patent infringement and make HUGE amounts of money off the deep pockets.

     

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  24.  
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    broken, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:48am

    Remember how Walmart already refuses to print photos?

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091119/0237527002.shtml

    All these big companies are in on it and soon there will be no one in America (as was aptly pointed out yesterday) who does not infringe on patent breaking and copyright destroying behaviours. Soon, someone will patent various breathing methods as part of exercise method while holding by certain irrelevant gadget like a dumbbell as unique and ground breaking technology to enhance health of individuals. The breathing techniques will be copyrighted. Those dumbbells will have a particular shape that will be patented--like a geometric (octagonal) shape with rounded corners.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 7:01am

    That gives me an idea...

    How about patenting photography of a cop, then offering to license it to police forces everywhere offering to enforce it for them whenever their officers are photographed by anyone else? We then can take two really bad ideas and combine them into one superbad one!

     

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  26.  
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    HegemonicDistortion (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 7:02am

    Looks like they're trying to claim a much more general process:

    It should be noted that angles, dimensions, distances, settings, parameters, and other numerical data may or may not be expressed herein in a range format. It is to be understood that the numerical data is presented herein and used for convenience and brevity, and thus, should be interpreted in a flexible manner to include not only the numerical values explicitly recited as the only workable parameters, but also to include all the individual numerical values that can be employed in a studio arrangement to achieve the desired effect discussed herein.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 7:06am

    No, you don't understand. The purpose of this patent is the same as Microsoft's EULA. Under normal circumstances neither company would enforce the instrument. That's why you actually can reuse OEM software, after a period of time, even though the document says otherwise. If someone starts blatantly pirating the software, Microsoft has the legal means to shut them down.

    Same with the patent. If Amazon finds someone becoming too competitive with them, and starting to threaten their profits, and does so using photography to display the products, Amazon has a perfect legal sword to use.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 7:10am

    Re:

    This patent will get crushed the very first time they take it out for a test drive in the legal system. There is way too much prior art for way too long of a time and way too many companies with collectively much deeper pockets than Amazon that are threatened by it and will jump in to kill it. It will effectively be nuked from orbit the minute it is pulled out.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 7:11am

    Amazon probably got the patent to protect themselves. Amazon has learned that just because something is obvious does not mean you will not get sued for it. I don't see Amazon using the patent to bully anyone. Only the future will tell for sure.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 7:15am

    Re: that suck

    It sucks that "We got this patent so someone else doesn't get the same patent and sue us into bankruptcy" is the way of the world today.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 7:17am

    Reform idea

    If the USPTO is going to be so lazy as to grant such ridiculous patents, here is what we need. Simply receiving a threat letter to enforce a patent, needs to be grounds on it's own to file a challenge to it's viability.

     

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  32.  
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    HegemonicDistortion (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re:

    Something like this operates on the "cheaper to pay then fight" principle though. You don't hit the Apples and Walmarts with it.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 7:23am

    Re:

    They are building a patent portfolio so that they can keep the money coming in after the Internet is destroyed by NSA and the ISPs.

     

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  34.  
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    Jake, May 8th, 2014 @ 7:27am

    But it does raise the question as to why this patent was sought in the first place.


    My hypothesis? Someone high up in the legal department either wants to make a point about just how ridiculous US patent law has got, or was morbidly curious about just how much they could get away with. Or maybe someone bet them a bottle of good bourbon they couldn't get away with it.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 7:39am

    New and Original????????

    I have personally helped set up two of these situations.

    The first in about 1994 was a room with four corners and all wall-floor junctions with a soft radius. One half, two walls and a corner as well as a portion of the floor, painted white and the other half painted photo grey. Very large studio.
    Second in 1998, all walls and floor painted flat white. Used for the photography of large goods - furniture, machinery etc.
    This is not new, its SOP.

     

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  36.  
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    Pragmatic, May 8th, 2014 @ 7:44am

    Re: Prior Art

    If Penn doesn't go after Amazon for infringement, I bet Teller does!

     

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  37.  
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    Pragmatic, May 8th, 2014 @ 7:45am

    Re: That gives me an idea...

    Aha! A new revenue source for them!

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 7:54am

    Re:

    Wherein is herein?

    Are we therein yet?

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 7:56am

    So if I turn the front lights on first, I'm not infringing?

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 7:58am

    Do they hire TSA workers at USPTO? I'm starting to believe an algorithm-based automatic approval system for patents would do a far better job than these morons, even if far from ideal itself.

     

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    OldMugwump (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 7:59am

    No test for obviousness

    This is a natural result of the PTO having no meaningful test for obviousness.

    Without such a test, the PTO can really only reject applications based on prior art.

     

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  42.  
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    Just Another Anonymous Troll, May 8th, 2014 @ 8:08am

    This is an abjectly ridiculous patent. Whoever allowed it through in the USPTO should be fired.

    On an unrelated note, you too can now own an official Just Another Anonymous Troll brand Doesn't-Infringe-On-Amazon's-Ridiculous-Patent studio background! It's exactly the same as a regular white background, except it has a graphic of a middle finger in the center with the words; "F U Amazon"!

    Order one today! We distribute solely through Amazon.com, just for spite!

     

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  43.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 8:13am

    The reason

    "But it does raise the question as to why this patent was sought in the first place."

    The answer is easy: to bump up the number of patents Amazon has. Since far too many people believe that having patents is the same thing as being innovative, having more patents makes a company apparently more innovative.

    It doesn't matter if the patents are bullshit. I think that's one of the reasons there are so many bullshit patents.

     

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  44.  
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    Michael, May 8th, 2014 @ 8:18am

    Re: The reason

    I don't think Amazon needs to bolster it's patent catalog to entice investors anymore. Startups looking for investors do, but I'm fairly certain they are not filing patent applications to try to get new stockholders.

     

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  45.  
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    Michael, May 8th, 2014 @ 8:25am

    Re:

    I, for one, am grateful.

    You have no idea how many pictures I have had come out badly because of my studio's all mauve background.

    Even if I get a good picture, I have to use a mauve background on my website to have the pictures look better, but that hurts my eyes and I am sure some of my customers have not liked it.

    I never even considered white. I mean who would? I could have gone years randomly selecting background colors before coming across it - and then, if I happened to have just taken a bad picture, I may have never given it due consideration.

    I'm contacting Amazon right now to try to license this.

     

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  46.  
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    angelbar (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 8:41am

    Re: Why are there people working in the patent office?

    They only need to add "with a computer" or "over the internet"

    Note: A document placement sensor and a conveyor will be nice.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 8:41am

    This all came from one of Amazon's 'wastage' departments.
    Basically they have nothing to do at all with Amazon day-to-day and are trying desperately to justify there existence as the useless 'departments' get culled one by one. (Amazon has culled DOZENS of 'areas' that have no effect on how Amazon runs and have bunches of staff collecting a salary based on sitting on their asses doing nothing at all (literally nothing - they have zero work to do).

    I have no Doubt Jeff Bezos' culling-teams will take notice of this and have another department in their sights ready to be erased.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 8:42am

    Prior art

    I think my uncle, who was a professional commercial photographer for Burlington Industries for 40 years, might have something to say about this patent....

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re: Re:

    If it were a regular patent troll whose entire business model was centered around that sort of action, I would agree with you. However, Amazon is too busy making money hand over fist with a legitimate business model to waste their time trolling small firms for settlements. This is designed to be used as something to hit any big competitor that stands to be a threat in the market. It's part of the patent arms race where large corporations amass huge patent portfolios to wield against each other in battles like the Apple v. Samsung saga if they ever get that far.

     

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  50.  
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    Feldie47 (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 8:51am

    Aw shucks. Now I guess I'll have to either destroy all my five generations of family photos done with white backgrounds including my parents and great-grandparents wedding photos. Hey they were sepia on white. Am I safe there?

    Are we the dumbest people on the planet or do we simply allow stupid fools to run our lives, with imbecilic results?

    Einstein was a patent clerk in the Swiss patent office. I'll bet he would have said something akin to "Sind Sie ein F---ing Moron?' when asked to allow a patent on this.

    But then, what do I know.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 8:55am

    Re: why this patent was sought in the first place

    This could actually turn out to be a good thing.

    Patent troll brings suit.

    Defendant's attorney: that's a ridiculous patent
    Troll's attorney: the USPTO doesn't issue ridiculous patents.
    Defendant's attorney: Exhibit A: 8,676,045B1

     

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  52.  
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    nasch (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 9:23am

    Re:

    This is an abjectly ridiculous patent. Whoever allowed it through in the USPTO should be fired.

    That would not solve the problem, as the next examiner would just follow the exact same rules. The problem is not stupid examiners, the problem is a stupid system.

     

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  53.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 9:31am

    Re: The dumb thing in the setup...

    Good catch...

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 9:36am

    Standing orders for the legal dept

    It occurs to me reading this that any corporation big enough to have a legal department probably has an ongoing mandate to come up with new patent applications. In addition to the portfolio value others have mentioned, it is necessary for the defense against the inevitable patent lawsuits brought against them (excepting, of course, troll suits)

     

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  55.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 9:45am

    Re: Standing orders for the legal dept

    "it is necessary for the defense against the inevitable patent lawsuits"

    I had some sympathy for this argument when it was first raised, but as I've watched things play out since then, I don't think that it actually works anywhere near well enough to call it "necessary". Holding defensive patents doesn't seem to have prevented or reduced the cost of getting sued.

     

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  56.  
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    zip, May 8th, 2014 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re: The reason

    Perhaps it's a purely defensive patent. (Just imagine if this one got into the hands of patent troll - it could threaten to shut down an entire industry)

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 9:51am

    it's just another company doing what it can to give control of as much as possible over to the USA, the World Police (the one that no one likes or respects because all it does is throw it's weight around, condemn every other country for doing the same as it is already doing and trying to control everywhere but stopping all others again from doing the same as it is)!

     

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  58.  
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    lucidrenegade (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 9:55am

    Apparently the patent examiner, Rochelle-Ann J Blackman, is a f'ing moron.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 10:04am

    So how will Amazon prove infringment?

    Will Amazon be able to prove another photograph against a white background infringed on their patent? After all, the idea behind shooting like this is to have an evenly lit background. So if it is evenly lit, i.e. no shadows, how do you prove the light angles infringed? If you can't prove infringement, why get the patent?

     

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  60.  
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    Fredrick, May 8th, 2014 @ 10:04am

    Amazon patents breathing

    And then they wonder why People are going Postal ......

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: That gives me an idea...

    No, that would be a revenue source for me using the patent system to provide protection for them.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: Re: The reason

    As I said earlier. The minute it got whipped out, it would get nuked from orbit.

     

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  63.  
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    Aleister Blacke, May 8th, 2014 @ 10:12am

    stick figures and line drawings

    I own a patent on poorly drawn stick figures and on line drawings as well. Looks like I am going to have to sue amazon for infringing on my patents.

    I also have a patent pending on the number "7", which cannot appear in any digit of any length, unless I am paid $403.07 cents. Oops, just used it, got to go and cut myself a check!

     

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  64.  
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    Michael, May 8th, 2014 @ 10:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The reason

    If by "The minute" you mean after several months of legal bills that would cripple any small business, you are probably right.

    The validity of a patent is somewhat meaningless to small to mid-sized businesses because the process to invalidate them is so much more expensive than licensing them.

     

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  65.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Standing orders for the legal dept

    Defensive patents worked well for a little while when it was only big companies with something to lose in the fight that had the patents. Then the trolls came along and figured out that they could basically leverage the fact that they had no product tied to a revenue stream to protect to extort large amounts of money from those companies. That was also before companies in the twilight years figured out that they could also gain a little life support by either selling their patents to trolls or becoming trolls themselves.

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The reason

    I think what you may see in a situation like that is a small company that appeals to the community about what a troubling situation this is that this patent is being used by a troll and many large companies will start joining the fight to kill the troll's patent.

     

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  67.  
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    scotts13 (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 10:30am

    Re: So how will Amazon prove infringment?

    They don't have to. You have to prove you didn't, maybe not in law but in practice. Good luck doing so before you're bankrupt.

     

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  68.  
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    Coyne Tibbets (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 10:33am

    My turn

    I'm gonna patent shooting against a periwinkle background!

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The reason

    The situation could open up a whole new industry -- patent-troll insurance. But hopefully one that will fight these extortion claims to the death instead of "settling"

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 10:58am

    I am going to patent a grey background

    ...but my patent will be different. I will shoot against a white background, but underexpose the background and let it appear grey. Bet that has never been done! Or if it has, bet it hasn't been patented!

    Profit!

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 11:48am

    Reform idea

    Okay, new law. Anyone who makes an egregiously stupid patent application with absurdly obvious prior art shall be heavily fined for wasting the patent office's time, and the patent worker who calls it on them gets a cut of it. That would take care of things when the workers have an actual incentive to reject bullshit instead of the fatigue into acceptance model.

     

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  72.  
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    Steerpike (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 11:48am

    Here's the first claim of the patent, if anyone is interested:

    1. A studio arrangement, comprising: a background comprising a white cyclorama;

    a front light source positioned in a longitudinal axis intersecting the background, the longitudinal axis further being substantially perpendicular to a surface of the white cyclorama;

    an image capture position located between the background and the front light source in the longitudinal axis, the image capture position comprising at least one image capture device equipped with an eighty-five millimeter lens, the at least one image capture device further configured with an ISO setting of about three hundred twenty and an f-stop value of about 5.6;

    an elevated platform positioned between the image capture position and the background in the longitudinal axis, the front light source being directed toward a subject on the elevated platform;

    a first rear light source aimed at the background and positioned between the elevated platform and the background in the longitudinal axis, the first rear light source positioned below a top surface of the elevated platform and oriented at an upward angle relative to a floor level;

    a second rear light source aimed at the background and positioned between the elevated platform and the background in the longitudinal axis, the second rear light source positioned above the top surface of the elevated platform and oriented at a downward angle relative to the floor level;

    a third rear light source aimed at the background and positioned in a lateral axis intersecting the elevated platform and being substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis, the third rear light source further positioned adjacent to a side of the elevated platform; and a fourth rear light source aimed at the background and positioned in the lateral axis adjacent to an opposing side of the elevated platform relative to the third rear light source;

    wherein a top surface of the elevated platform reflects light emanating from the background such that the elevated platform appears white and a rear edge of the elevated platform is substantially imperceptible to the image capture device;

    and the first rear light source, the second rear light source, the third rear light source, and the fourth rear light source comprise a combined intensity greater than the front light source according to about a 10:3 ratio.

     

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  73.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 11:50am

    Re: Reform idea

    You would have to make the fine apply to resubmissions as well.

     

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  74.  
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    JoeCool (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 11:57am

    Re:

    The current buzz-phrase for an automatic patent is "on a smart phone". In case people haven't been keeping up, here's the last three:

    ... on a computer.
    ... on the internet.
    ... on a smart phone.

     

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  75.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 11:59am

    Re:

    Somebody at the USPTO needs to seriously be beaten for approving that patent. Seriously. If this patent ends up being used in a court case and I were the judge, I would seriously have to look into finding some sort of way of sanctioning the patent examiner that approved such bullshit.

     

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  76.  
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    Steerpike (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re:

    I don't think any judge has that kind of recourse.

    Part of the issue is, the patent examiner has to be able to support rejections with documented evidence (by and large) and the amount of time they have to spend on an application doesn't necessarily allow them to do everything they need. For this patent, since the claim is specific on things like ISO, f-stop, and ratio between light intensities, the patent examiner has to be able to point to that combination out there somewhere.

    On a positive note, even though the claim has some wiggle room built in, it's probably going to be fairly limited to the values stated.

     

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  77.  
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    Michael, May 8th, 2014 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The reason

    I believe there is already an "insurance" company out there called Intellectual Ventures.

     

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  78.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    If we are going to take it as approved on the basis that it is limited by those values then in order to prove infringement, Amazon will need to prove that what they are claim to be infringing in any case would also have to have the same values which will be next to impossible to do without the aid of the alleged infringing photographer who will is under no compulsion to assist them in their case by providing exposure settings, specific lighting placements and intensities, etc.

     

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  79.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The judge may not have that sort of recourse but that doesn't mean that a judge couldn't dig through all the statutes and existing case law looking for something that would give him such authority.

     

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  80.  
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    DB (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 12:38pm

    If only we had photographic evidence of prior art

    I was trying to find a picture demonstrating prior art, but the backgrounds all appeared colorless, slightly out of focus, and with no edges.

     

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  81.  
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    Michael, May 8th, 2014 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There is always "disturbing the peace"

     

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  82.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 12:43pm

    I hope they start selling licenses for this patent on Amazon.com just so we can have some entertaining 'reviews'

     

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  83.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 12:52pm

    Good old Mr. Magoo, he really should have been a member of the U.S.Congress, not working for the U.S. Patent Office.

    Magoo in 2016

     

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  84.  
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    Steerpike (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There won't be anything.

     

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  85.  
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    Steerpike (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, that's right. They have to show those elements are present when they bring infringement claims, either literally or under the Doctrine of Equivalents, which is probably going to be pretty limited in a case like this.

     

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  86.  
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    Shel10 (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 1:23pm

    I just filed a document which details photographing a black object against a black background.

     

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  87.  
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    Stephen Vaughn (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 1:24pm

    So if I turn on the front light first and then turn on the rear light, does that mean I'm not infringing?

     

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  88.  
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    Shel10 (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 1:33pm

    Why don't you file a patent which leverages the one Amazon filed, but describe a different procedure?

     

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  89.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So the judge might have to be creative. Who says patents don't inspire creativity?

     

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  90.  
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    Stan, May 8th, 2014 @ 1:41pm

    Re:

    Einstein would have probably used the informal: "Du bist ein scheisskopf"

     

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  91.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Reform idea

    Hmm point, I meant that but didn't make it explicit. It should probably double with every bullshit resubmission too.

     

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  92.  
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    Steven, May 8th, 2014 @ 3:19pm

    "The Amazon Patent"

    OK, I understand all the comments being thrown around by non-patent professionals but this patent does not say "take a picture with a white background." I hope this is good for everyone's blood pressure . . . While I don't know whether it should issue or not, it ONLY covers, in it's first claim:
    1. A studio arrangement, comprising:
    a background comprising a white cyclorama;
    a front light source positioned in a longitudinal axis intersecting the background, the longitudinal axis further being substantially perpendicular to a surface of the white cyclorama;
    an image capture position located between the background and the front light source in the longitudinal axis, the image capture position comprising at least one image capture device equipped with an eighty-five millimeter lens, the at least one image capture device further configured with an ISO setting of about three hundred twenty and an f-stop value of about 5.6;
    an elevated platform positioned between the image capture position and the background in the longitudinal axis, the front light source being directed toward a subject on the elevated platform;
    a first rear light source aimed at the background and positioned between the elevated platform and the background in the longitudinal axis, the first rear light source positioned below a top surface of the elevated platform and oriented at an upward angle relative to a floor level;
    a second rear light source aimed at the background and positioned between the elevated platform and the background in the longitudinal axis, the second rear light source positioned above the top surface of the elevated platform and oriented at a downward angle relative to the floor level;
    a third rear light source aimed at the background and positioned in a lateral axis intersecting the elevated platform and being substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis, the third rear light source further positioned adjacent to a side of the elevated platform; and
    a fourth rear light source aimed at the background and positioned in the lateral axis adjacent to an opposing side of the elevated platform relative to the third rear light source; wherein
    a top surface of the elevated platform reflects light emanating from the background such that the elevated platform appears white and a rear edge of the elevated platform is substantially imperceptible to the image capture device; and
    the first rear light source, the second rear light source, the third rear light source, and the fourth rear light source comprise a combined intensity greater than the front light source according to about a 10:3 ratio.

     

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  93.  
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    Rekrul, May 8th, 2014 @ 3:32pm

    So is Amazon afraid that people will think that all photographs with a white background were done by them?

     

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  94.  
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    Patent Litigator Dude, May 8th, 2014 @ 3:53pm

    Photographers should ban together and file a post-grant review on this. http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementation/faqs_post_grant_review.jsp

     

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  95.  
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    Unfairly maligned patent attorney, May 8th, 2014 @ 4:28pm

    Patent Attorney

    READ THE CLAIMS OF THE PATENT - they are quite narrow. The patent does not cover much at all (e.g., if you use anything other than a 5.6 F-stop, you do not infringe - there are several other things like this IN THE CLAIMS). Reading the description is legally meaningless; you can always pull out "duh" meaningless stuff from the title, figures, and description.

     

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  96.  
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    Bob Harris, May 8th, 2014 @ 4:39pm

    I'm considering submitting a new patent application

    Taking the above successful Amazon Patent grant in to account, I am now considering submitting a patent application for putting on your right shoe first.

    I am almost certain that my application will be the very first, and therefore subsequent royalties will flow in my direction.

    I will also need to prepare myself for TV interviews around the world...

     

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  97.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 4:45pm

    Re: "The Amazon Patent"

    As a "photography professional" with over 20 years experience in the field and understands the technical details contained within. A 10:3 ratio of exposure on a background that is already some shade of white to begin with to the foreground is sure to render as a white background without detail. So what you are arguing is semantics. If I had a patent on websites with the background color specified in the patent as #ffffff, you could say that my patent didn't describe a website with a white background because I never described it as such.

     

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  98.  
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    JSintheStates, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:14pm

    USPTO bought and sold by Amazon

    There is something seriously wrong in the USPTO! This is either corruption or incompetence at a gross level!

     

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  99.  
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    Norma, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:43pm

    Re: This makes me realize I am in the wrong line of work

    Second easiest place would be working
    for Etsy, they do have a requirement
    you must be stupid.

     

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  100.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Re: Prior Art

    Having the patent doesn't give one the right to practice the invention.

     

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  101.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 6:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That is exactly right. Amazon's interest in patents is (to date, anyhow) defensive, not offensive.

     

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  102.  
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    Andrew Davidhazy, May 8th, 2014 @ 8:16pm

    Patent for white backgropund

    The USPO is patently unaware of photographic practice. Not only historical but current as well. This should not even have been considered. What about photography against a black background? Or any other specific color? Does this mean one could patent photographing with a particular focal length lens? This is ludicrous. Shameful. Whoever decided this should be fired. And fined. If this is the level to which a US Patent Office stoops it is bound to be discredited as a responsible evaluator of innovation. This is shameful!!!

     

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  103.  
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    nasch (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Patent Attorney

    READ THE CLAIMS OF THE PATENT - they are quite narrow. The patent does not cover much at all (e.g., if you use anything other than a 5.6 F-stop, you do not infringe - there are several other things like this IN THE CLAIMS).

    What about this:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140507/04102327144/us-patent-office-grants-photography-again st-white-background-patent-to-amazon.shtml#c324

     

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  104.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 9:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Defensive... except for suing Barnes & Noble over the 1-click patent

     

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  105.  
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    non rube, May 8th, 2014 @ 9:41pm

    calm down rubes

    What a completely irresponsible article. This patent is so narrow it is worthless. Read the claim, not the title morons. Basically the argument in this article is the equivalent of you running in the street screaming that your next door neighbor owns the whole state because he has a deed to his house.

     

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  106.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 9:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To be fair, I think Amazon is positioned a little differently than they were when that happened. Yes, the one click patent was stupid bullshit in the same vein as this patent is, however, in 1999 at the time they filed that lawsuit, Amazon was the smaller fish looking to take on the much larger incumbent in the book market with only online distribution before online distribution was as widely used as it is today. This was way before they were as established as they are. At the time online books were their only game and they were looking for an edge to make them stand out against rivals that were much more established than they were. Now they are the incumbent. They don't need to pull a stunt like that to stand out.

     

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  107.  
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    Patent attorney, May 8th, 2014 @ 10:23pm

    I hate these misinformed articles. Don't look at the silly figures. Read the claims. They are really really narrow.

     

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  108.  
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    crash2parties (profile), May 8th, 2014 @ 11:17pm

    Re: legal sword

    Unless, of course, the other party uses the grey background process to which they hold the patent.

     

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  109.  
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    John DeVita, May 9th, 2014 @ 2:30am

    85mm F5.6

    85mm at F5.6 combines Nikon's most popular studio lense, with the FSTOP it is clearest at, this is common knowledge to photographers, and is included in Kelby Training videos.

    Trying to patent a Studio lens, being used with a white background at it's industry known sharpest setting is rediculous.

     

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  110.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 2:52am

    Re:

    Wow, sockpuppeting much? Did you get a patent on that too?

     

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  111.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 5:33am

    Re:

    Really narrow? Did you read this part?

    "It should be emphasized that the above-described embodiments of the present disclosure are merely possible examples of implementations set forth for a clear understanding of the principles of the disclosure. Many variations and modifications may be made to the above-described embodiment(s) without departing substantially from the spirit and principles of the disclosure. All such modifications and variations are intended to be included herein within the scope of this disclosure and protected by the following claims."

     

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  112.  
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    quawonk, May 9th, 2014 @ 5:38am

    Amazon acts like the big hero along with others teaming up against the FCC, but in the background they're doing sleazy shit like this.

    They are interested in no-one or anything but themselves and their bottom line.

     

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  113.  
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    Federico, May 9th, 2014 @ 5:39am

    The US Patent System just got obsolete. What's the point Amazon?

     

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  114.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 8:37am

    Re: Patent Attorney

    Fine, then. I'll patent the same with f-stops 1.4 to 4.5 and 8 to 22.

     

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  115.  
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    Patrick, May 9th, 2014 @ 9:05am

    Re: Think I'll become a patent troll!

    I want to patent Selfies

     

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  116.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 9th, 2014 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Amazon's interest in patents is (to date, anyhow) defensive, not offensive."

    This is bullshit.

     

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  117.  
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    Tyler, May 9th, 2014 @ 9:18am

    Corporate Trolling

    Obviously, Amazon is trolling the U.S. patent system.

     

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  118.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 9th, 2014 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "They don't need to pull a stunt like that to stand out."

    Perhaps not (but if not, then why do they continue to enforce their BS 1-click patent?). However, that they were willing to pull such a stunt in their earlier days does speak volumes about their corporate character: they have no problem with asserting BS patents when it benefits them to do so.

     

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  119.  
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    ThatFatMan (profile), May 9th, 2014 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re:

    Have you ever read a patent? That's standard boilerplate in pretty much every application genius.

    I am an examiner. The thing that most of you don't seem to understand is that what matters is what is in the claim(s). Before Mikey and Timmy and whoever else at Techdirt go off on your little anti-patenting, anti-USPTO tirades maybe you should figure out just what a patent is and what it isn't. Then maybe you all wouldn't sound like idiots thinking you can do my job better than me :)

     

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  120.  
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    nasch (profile), May 9th, 2014 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The thing that most of you don't seem to understand is that what matters is what is in the claim(s).

    Why do the other parts of the patent application even exist?

     

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  121.  
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    Drew S Johnston, May 9th, 2014 @ 11:05am

    Serious Question...

    The Patent is obvious silly. But it is also pretty specific. If you do the exact same thing but alter something about it, like stopping down or up one stop are you still infringing? And even if you do it this way, how can anyone ever tell, just by looking at the imagine, what you F-Stop was and exactly what lense you use? Experienced photgraphers could guess but can it be proven in court?

    And WTF is " ISO setting of about three hundred twenty" --- "about" ---- What exactly defines "about" how can that would even be in a patent.

     

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  122.  
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    ThatFatMan (profile), May 9th, 2014 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The simple answer is because they are required by law. In exchange for the grant of a patent, which has a limited term, it is required that the patentee tells others how to make and use their claimed invention. Those other parts exist to help tell the public how to make it and how to use it.

     

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  123.  
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    Paul, May 9th, 2014 @ 12:00pm

    Re: The dumb thing in the setup...

    Spoken like a true photographer.

    The ISO and f-stop settings are useless if light sources and their distances to the subject and background as well as their intensities are not appropriate for the exposure.

    Why bother with those details without that information also?

     

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  124.  
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    Eric Hason, May 9th, 2014 @ 12:32pm

    ISO 200

    I shoot at ISO 200 I photograph infringement free white seamless!

     

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  125.  
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    MatBastardson (profile), May 9th, 2014 @ 2:14pm

    Re: This makes me realize I am in the wrong line of work

    Hey, it's how Einstein got his start.

     

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  126.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Think I'll become a patent troll!

    All it takes is big money to the right (connected) lawyers.

     

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  127.  
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    iLand, May 9th, 2014 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    If [I]"what matters is what is in the claim"[/I] then why grant claims for what is [b]obvious[/b] to anyone in the profession?

     

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  128.  
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    Hephaestos, May 9th, 2014 @ 3:33pm

    Re:

    Probably not this one. ;)

     

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  129.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 3:50pm

    nope, nope, nope, and nope! Read the claims - it is a very detailed, very specific patent for a particular lighting rig that avoids casting shadows and hides the light sources. it is not 'obvious' or 'in any standard photography textbook'. And if it was, it would be instantly revoked. It is perfectly fine to disagree lock stock and barrel with the notion of a patent, but it is intellectually dishonest to take potshots at a perfectly 'by the rules' useful patent for a useful technique and hope nobody actually *reads* the claims... The only specious bullshit here is from the people who are up in arms about it. There's nothing 'wrong' with this patent that there isn't about any other valid patent.

     

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  130.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Here's the problem with that. You may be right that the only part that matters to the USPTO is the claims section. But when the patent starts being used in court to sue people, patent examiners at the USPTO won't be the one's determining whether to award damages or not and deciding to ignore everything but the claims section. Instead it will be a jury of regular people, probably citizens of Tyler, Texas making that determination. Have you ever been to Tyler? I have. It's not exactly a bastion of sophistication where you would expect to find a high percentage of the population that would be familiar with a nuance of patents like "only the claims matter." More like a town just big enough to host a federal district court but still small enough to be dominated by rural good ole boy politics.

     

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

  131.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    On the question of character based on previous actions, point taken. However, I was not aware of any recent suits filed based on the 1-click patent.

     

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

  132.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), May 9th, 2014 @ 6:16pm

    Re:

    And if it was, it would be instantly revoked.
    Because bad patents always get caught and revoked, right?

     

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

  133.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 6:26pm

    Such patent lawyer, much sockpuppeting.

     

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

  134.  
    identicon
    john, May 9th, 2014 @ 9:43pm

    they filed the patent defensively to cover their exposure from any and all future lawsuits

     

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

  135.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 9:47pm

    Re: Re:

    If that's the case, they'd better hurry up.

     

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

  136.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 10:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I catch myself doing that too. Stupid ArsTechnica tags.

     

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

  137.  
    identicon
    Iai Smith, May 10th, 2014 @ 3:32am

    Re:

    Specific, my ass. What's specific about the word "about"? It doesn't even specify size of sensor. In fact, this whole thing reeks of non-specificity...

    "It should be noted that angles, dimensions, distances, settings, parameters, and other numerical data may or may not be expressed herein in a range format. It is to be understood that the numerical data is presented herein and used for convenience and brevity, and thus, should be interpreted in a flexible manner to include not only the numerical values explicitly recited as the only workable parameters, but also to include all the individual numerical values that can be employed in a studio arrangement 100 to achieve the desired effect discussed herein."

    In other words, much ass covering OUTWITH any purported specifics.

     

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

  138.  
    icon
    matweller (profile), May 10th, 2014 @ 5:00am

    It's worth noting, also, that Amazon changed their image requirements to vendors last year that all products must be shown silhouetted against a white background. Were they positioning themselves to be able to blackmail all of their vendors?

     

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

  139.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2014 @ 7:11am

    Re: Re: The dumb thing in the setup...

    "Spoken like a true photographer."

    I'll take that as a complement.

     

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

  140.  
    identicon
    Rational Logic, May 10th, 2014 @ 10:04am

    Nice job linking the full patent document, Techdirt. You wouldn't want to mistaken for doing any actual journalism, would you?

    Trying reading the actual claims, and not the description:

    "1. A studio arrangement, comprising:
    a background comprising a white cyclorama;
    a front light source positioned in a longitudinal axis intersecting the background, the longitudinal axis further being substantially perpendicular to a surface of the white cyclorama;
    an image capture position located between the background and the front light source in the longitudinal axis, the image capture position comprising at least one image capture device equipped with an eighty-five millimeter lens, the at least one image capture device further configured with an ISO setting of about three hundred twenty and an f-stop value of about 5.6;
    an elevated platform positioned between the image capture position and the background in the longitudinal axis, the front light source being directed toward a subject on the elevated platform;
    a first rear light source aimed at the background and positioned between the elevated platform and the background in the longitudinal axis, the first rear light source positioned below a top surface of the elevated platform and oriented at an upward angle relative to a floor level;
    a second rear light source aimed at the background and positioned between the elevated platform and the background in the longitudinal axis, the second rear light source positioned above the top surface of the elevated platform and oriented at a downward angle relative to the floor level;
    a third rear light source aimed at the background and positioned in a lateral axis intersecting the elevated platform and being substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis, the third rear light source further positioned adjacent to a side of the elevated platform; and
    a fourth rear light source aimed at the background and positioned in the lateral axis adjacent to an opposing side of the elevated platform relative to the third rear light source; wherein
    a top surface of the elevated platform reflects light emanating from the background such that the elevated platform appears white and a rear edge of the elevated platform is substantially imperceptible to the image capture device; and
    the first rear light source, the second rear light source, the third rear light source, and the fourth rear light source comprise a combined intensity greater than the front light source according to about a 10:3 ratio."

     

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

  141.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2014 @ 9:22pm

    Re:

    I wonder if all of the sock puppet IPs trace back to Amazon's marketing department.

     

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

  142.  
    identicon
    Cami, May 11th, 2014 @ 2:15am

    Products

    It may be a plan against other main online retailers only. Only amazons catalog will end up with a clean white back ground.

     

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

  143.  
    icon
    DonHO (profile), May 11th, 2014 @ 4:51am

    Talk about "Do no evil".

     

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

  144.  
    icon
    Dodge & Burn (profile), May 11th, 2014 @ 5:05am

    Amazon Patent Photographs Against a White Background

    OR .... Amazon could insist every product photograph on their site is taken according to the Amazon Patent method for which you, Mr/Mrs/Ms. Supplier will pay a royalty and we can extend this world wide by insisting all product shots are against a white background according to the Patented Amazon Method which must be submitted to Amazon HQ and thereby extend USPTO jurisdiction world wide. Who is going to take them to court if this is the case????? Not Mom and Pop in their back room running their Amazon supplier account. Pure speculation of course ... and I am sure Amazon are not so devious, right?

     

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

  145.  
    identicon
    Larry, May 11th, 2014 @ 9:06am

    Re: New and Original????????

    1994?? Heck, we were using this in the 1950's - and it wasn't new then. I even used the 85mm lens.

     

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

  146.  
    identicon
    oak111, May 11th, 2014 @ 11:37pm

    USPTO

    Can stupidity be patented? Probably not, as there is ample Prior Art at the USPTO itself.

     

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

  147.  
    identicon
    chuckygetslucky, May 11th, 2014 @ 11:40pm

    Re: Think I'll become a patent troll!

    You're thinking too small. I'm patenting the use of light to form an image. Everyone with eyes will owe me royalties.

     

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

  148.  
    identicon
    aaron stramiello, May 12th, 2014 @ 8:33am

    Re: The dumb thing in the setup...

    I was thinking the same thing

     

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

  149.  
    icon
    astramiello (profile), May 12th, 2014 @ 8:43am

    Re: So how will Amazon prove infringment?

    Something tells me that IF they were to go after someone on this, It wouldn't be your normal photographer. It would probably be a major advertisement that isn't paying Amazon to advertise with them.

     

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

  150.  
    identicon
    Brady, May 12th, 2014 @ 9:28am

    Is the Patent Office going wacky?

    How about a patent for a stick? http://www.google.com/patents/US6360693

     

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

  151.  
    identicon
    Marley, May 15th, 2014 @ 4:54pm

    Dumb a_ _ es

    Amazon can kiss the rounded edges of my ass as my strobes fires at full power and the patent idiot who issued this can stick my 85 mm up his. This is just like when Apple wanted the world to stop using the word "Apple" & Microsoft also wanted the world to stop using the word "window" in any form and a judge laughed at both of them. Let's see if this crap can stick. Ha! Ha! Ha!

     

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

  152.  
    identicon
    colum, May 16th, 2014 @ 2:54am

    So is amazone going to do everyones passport photos or is the background color just going to change?

     

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

  153.  
    icon
    mike kass (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 3:32am

    white background

    The one & only reason for the white background to all official licensed products,worldwide,with super "zoom in" ability is that there could not think of a way to boost their profits. K-SHIRT.COM did it for them (marketing advertisng DPTS)and we HAVE ALREADY CREATED E-BACKGROUND FOR OFFICIAL LICENSED PRODUCTS. Thats all for me about white background patent but you can think for anything else..Trade-marketing-advertising. Keep calm & google it....

     

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

  154.  
    identicon
    Fred Sanford, May 16th, 2014 @ 8:12am

    Re:

    Absolutely! And let's not forget that they invented rounded corners and there is clearly one in that diagram where the wall meet the floor. They might get by with it since it is a concave. I'm pretty sure Apple's is convex.

     

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

  155.  
    identicon
    Lt P, May 17th, 2014 @ 7:24pm

    Re:

    >Is somebody in the patent office trying to get patent law abolished by issuing stupid patents?

    That's precisely why. Eliminate patent protection and the small/independent inventor will have no protection from well-funded corporate, government or educational institution 'inventors' who copy the original designs.

     

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

  156.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2014 @ 11:41am

    Re: Re:

    As opposed to before when they could out-lawyer and force them to settle so they don't wind up in the poor house?

     

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

  157.  
    icon
    GaryParker (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 1:11pm

    re white background

    I've been teaching lighting technique for 30 years and in the biz now 40 years. One of the very first techniques I learned and have now taught for 30 years was how to shoot on a white background since one of my early heroes - Richard Avedon - created such dramatic photographs on white.

    This is OUTFRIGGIN'RAGEOUS! This is like getting a copyright on "Drawing a stick figure" or a copyright on the entire city of NY, etc. Ridiculous and decades too late. What a bunch of bozos at the office to allow a giant mega-company to copyright a basic technique all of us - even the oldest photographers still working - have been using for decades - practically since studio photography began.

    It's crystal clear these mega-companies are trying to control the world and all see big bucks in photography. Since the Gettys and Gates have now bought up most of the world's stock agencies, I suppose greedy corps like Amazon are trying to figure a way to get in on the profitable action. (profitable to the mega wealthy, at least)

    I hope like hell the major photographic organizations in America will challenge this ridiculous copyright attack and push for a boycott of Amazon.com.

     

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

  158.  
    icon
    GaryParker (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 2:03pm

    Re: "The Amazon Patent"

    Why should ANY entity be able to copyright a photographic technique that's been in use for decades? I've lit coliseums for Steve Jobs so my lighting skills tend to be strong and infinitely variable yet, based on a list of factors, I use no specific lighting setups. I light it as it needs to be lit without consideration and certainly without giving this lame BS a second thought. On a given day I might perchance use this exact technique but it would be because the scenario calls for lighting of this nature - with no thought given to this diagram. I certainly don't need to copy Amazon's drawing but could be I'd end up with the same setup.

    This is not simply an issue of Amazon "only" copyrighting one specific photographic lighting scenario but the fact anyone would ever be allowed to call a commonly used technique their own unique creation - utter nonsense. It's almost definitely a FACT this exact same setup has been employed by some photographer somewhere.

    The big issue here is ? If you can copyright a technique that's been used for over 50 years, uh, what TF is next...

    So what if this outrageous copyright applies only to a white cyc with the specifics mentioned above? I've got dozens of portfolio images shot on a white cyc like thousands of professional photographers. Why should any photographer be restricted in any way when it comes to lighting an assignment as one sees fit - period.

    An old saying in photography is every photograph has been made previously which is likely fairly accurate. Somewhere, some place somebody has photographed just about everything using an infinite array of lighting techniques, most likely including this exact setup.

     

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

  159.  
    identicon
    john, May 26th, 2014 @ 7:59am

    I think this is the stupidist patent Idea yet so far

    Good luck amazon.com for trying to patent something which should never be patented by anyone.. STOP BEING SO GREEDY AMAZZON.COM ... I hope that this patent does not succeed from day 1 YOU SUCK AMAZON.COM and you may wonder why noone will by any products through your services, cause you and your IDEAS ALL SUCK!! I hope that someday in the future AMAZON.COM goes out of BUSINESS, and to that I will say GOOD RIDDANCE AMAZON.COM!!

     

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

  160.  
    identicon
    Lulu, May 28th, 2014 @ 11:42am

    patent on white background

    There is only one response that is reasonable: don't buy anything on Amazon and make them know it. Otherwise what's the point of even responding to it. I know what people will accept to keep those moments of buying going.

     

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

  161.  
    icon
    RalphKramden (profile), May 28th, 2014 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re: "The Amazon Patent"

    Copyright & Patent: Two TOTALLY different things.

     

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

  162.  
    icon
    RalphKramden (profile), May 28th, 2014 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wow. It's only people in towns thaat you deem insignificant that don't get the nuances of what's important in a patent? Have you ever been to New York? I have. In fact I grew up there and I have 100% confidence saying that very, very, very few of the citizens know their way around a patent.

     

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

  163.  
    icon
    RalphKramden (profile), May 28th, 2014 @ 12:20pm

    Re: re white background

    Again - Copyright & Patent: Two TOTALLY different things.

     

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

  164.  
    icon
    NIitiwaoybity (profile), May 28th, 2014 @ 7:14pm

    Patent for photgraphing against a white background

    Is way of doing. Not invention.

     

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

  165.  
    icon
    peepsie (profile), Jun 6th, 2014 @ 1:22am

    ha! this is AWESOME. *Makes notes from Amazon's patent information to set up my new DSLR*

    I take shots of items I make to sell. :) I just bought my first DSLR camera and have been struggling with settings so I can get the best shot. Now I know what to click all those dials to. thanks amazon!

     

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

  166.  
    icon
    peepsie (profile), Jun 6th, 2014 @ 1:33am

    Re:

    it's already happening. I'm a lab tech by trade, and I watched a company who had created a test for detecting the genes involved in breast cancer patent not the test--which would have made sense to me---but the GENE. the actual genome that influences whether or not one develops breast cancer....

    they patented a GENE which can randomly or through familial genetics be found in any human body on the planet through no fault of the bearer of the gene...

    how oh HOW did the patent office let that get thru?
    and if i have the gene, am i then in violation of that patent?

    and if i am found to have the gene they *own* and suffer some harm, either physically or financially, from the genome they own, can i sue THEM for punitive damages for releasing such a harmful thing on the environment?

     

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

  167.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jun 6th, 2014 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re:

    and if i have the gene, am i then in violation of that patent?

    and if i am found to have the gene they *own* and suffer some harm, either physically or financially, from the genome they own, can i sue THEM for punitive damages for releasing such a harmful thing on the environment?


    No to both. And didn't that patent get invalidated?

     

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

  168.  
    identicon
    Anon C, Oct 3rd, 2014 @ 10:53pm

    Re:

    Are you a class A certified idiot? Amazon got the patent. Just because Amazon chooses not to use it now does not mean that a different management who is solely focused on producing profits for wall st will not be in the future.

     

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

  169.  
    icon
    Mark Syman (profile), Oct 11th, 2014 @ 7:16pm

    Re:

    This patent was prosecuted by a patent agent who is not listed on the law firm website http://www.tkhr.com/attorneys/default.aspx

    even though his registration indicates that law firm as his employer https://oedci.uspto.gov/OEDCI/details.do?regisNum=63007

    You can read the communication that led to the issuance here: http://portal.uspto.gov/pair/PublicPair

    Does anyone here understand that the part of the patent that is enforceable is the claims, which you can read here: http://www.google.com/patents/US8676045

    The claims are quite a bit more detailed than "photograph against a a white background".

    Before you complain, look up the patent.

     

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

  170.  
    icon
    Mark Syman (profile), Oct 11th, 2014 @ 7:20pm

    Re:

    Exactly like what ? like the picture ?

    the claims define the invention, not the picture or some vague generalization of what anyone with a blog says they think the patent means: http://www.google.com/patents/US8676045

     

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

  171.  
    icon
    Mark Syman (profile), Oct 11th, 2014 @ 7:35pm

    Re:

    You should read the claims before you jump on the examiner, the claims are quite a bit more narrow than what this article says the invention is:

    http://www.google.com/patents/US8676045

     

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

  172.  
    icon
    Mark Syman (profile), Oct 11th, 2014 @ 7:40pm

    Re: Re: "The Amazon Patent"

    Do you think that in all of the detail in that claim, that ALL of those details are practiced by photographers in one particular setting ? That looks like a lot detail.

     

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

  173.  
    icon
    davidbarcomb (profile), Nov 14th, 2014 @ 1:38am

    Amazon is trolling with the US Government System for Media attention

     

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


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