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Old May 11th, 2014, 04:08 AM   #1
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Amazon patenting seamless white background

The lawyers seem to be busy again going down the patent office. This time with white backgrounds, which seem to have around for quite a while

You Can Close The Studio, Amazon Patents Photographing On Seamless White - DIY Photography
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Old May 11th, 2014, 05:04 PM   #2
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Re: Amazon patenting seamless white background

I know jack about patent law. How is this remotely legal? Thought patents were for technology, not processes/methods. Wouldn't this be like patenting how to tie a knot (crap did I just give them an idea?)?
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Old May 11th, 2014, 05:47 PM   #3
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Re: Amazon patenting seamless white background

There are "process" patents, but I can't see HOW this would qualify as unique or original (let alone enforceable?). Not the first crazy patent I've seen or heard of, makes one scratch their head how some obvious and/or "pre-existing art" gets past the researchers...
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Old May 11th, 2014, 08:22 PM   #4
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Re: Amazon patenting seamless white background

Anyone can apply for a patent that doesn't mean it will be issued. By the same token, I could care less, I'll still use the white seamless I have for the few odd jobs I might do that calls for it. If Amazon wants to sue me, go ahead. You can't get blood from a rock.

As an aside, in 1899 the patent office was nearly closed. Why? Some one really smart (sarcastic) told them that everything that could possibly be invented had been and therefore there was no need for this additional government office. I guess they (whoever they was) was wrong.
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Old May 12th, 2014, 01:26 AM   #5
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Re: Amazon patenting seamless white background

Seems a bit like the BS patent Lite Panels somehow was recently awarded covering any use of LEDs for on camera and off camera systems. No matter if completely different shape, non "panel" design and function …..without licensing fee paid to LP.
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Old May 12th, 2014, 01:36 AM   #6
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Re: Amazon patenting seamless white background

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
As an aside, in 1899 the patent office was nearly closed. Why? Some one really smart (sarcastic) told them that everything that could possibly be invented had been and therefore there was no need for this additional government office. I guess they (whoever they was) was wrong.
It seems that is an urban myth: Appendix - Patent Office Gives Up On New Inventions

A possible source is mentioned here:

Tracing the Quote: Everything that can be Invented has been Invented | Patently-O
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Old May 12th, 2014, 06:22 AM   #7
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Re: Amazon patenting seamless white background

Probably is but there is a point to it. Sometimes the people in a government say things that are stupid and irrelevant. At least here in the USA! :-)
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Old May 12th, 2014, 06:32 AM   #8
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Re: Amazon patenting seamless white background

Evidence of prior art should prevent the issuance of the patent. But as Dave Blackhurst notes, it doesn't always work. However, though harder to do, a patent can be invalidated after the fact.
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Old May 12th, 2014, 07:51 AM   #9
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Re: Amazon patenting seamless white background

if you read the text, one of the defining factors of the 'process' is that according to amazon, unlike prior art examples, requires no computer manipulation to achieve the end result.

So there you go, if you adjust anything in photoshop by the faintest integer, that's just one factor that makes such a patent silly and unenforceable.

You have to understand that amazon doesn't care about you, people on this forum, or any other photographer out there, they care about other companies using a similar technique for mass product display. they have the lawyer power to make enough fuss however ludicrus to make a company think about modifying their photos in some way so it doesn't match amazon completely.

You also have to understand that we're in an age of patent wars, all the major tech companies are constantly buying and trying to secure new patents, it's one of the hottest global currencies for them, each one they get is just that little bit more power, however unlikely it may be.

keep on shooting, just another silly story
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Old May 12th, 2014, 08:06 AM   #10
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Re: Amazon patenting seamless white background

Shoot green screen and put the white in in post, they haven't figure that out yet, the nongs!
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Old May 12th, 2014, 08:17 AM   #11
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Re: Amazon patenting seamless white background

I seem to recall all this being around before the age of computers. Check out the opening down gun barrel in an early Bond film, loads of examples in stills before photoshop.
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Old May 12th, 2014, 10:13 AM   #12
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Re: Amazon patenting seamless white background

There are some interesting comments from patent experts in the original article and they point out that the patent is extremely specific and to infringe the patent you would have to be shooting exactly as described. Simply changing your aperture by a tiny amount would mean you are no longer infringing.
Not sure why Amazon would patent such a specific shooting scenario, but I don't think anyone needs to worry about this.

When I was getting the patent for the 3D rig I designed I was told to be as vague as possible because the more specific items you include the more precise the patent becomes. For example, if you were to patent a door knob as "a device used to open a door" you would have a patent on any type of device you might use to open a door. But patent "a round device you hold to open a door" then only round devices that you hold, that open doors, are covered by the patent, so any other type of door opener or a knob on something other than a door would not count. This patent would only apply if you did absolutely everything in the long description, exactly as described, in fact I think it would be quite hard to actually infringe this patent even if you tried!
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