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Thread: Photography Patent over-turned

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Photography Patent over-turned

    Good to see Courts looking at Patents and determining that they are not really an 'invention'. In this case a photographer patented a method of sorting sporting photos for the web. The court ruled it was not a valid patent as it is a common method of indexing photos.

    http://petapixel.com/2014/10/30/cour...sports-photos/
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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    A case of a better mouse for the trap.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    A bit of good sense it seems. And it happened in the U.S.A..

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    $100k in legal fees just to fight such a silly "patent"? Only in 'murica I guess
    Ciao, Joost

    All feedback is highly appreciated!

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    It's great news that this patent has been overturned.

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    It really boggles the mind where 100k goes in a case such as this....i know most of it goes to the lawyers... but really is it that hard to determine the worthiness of such a patent ???? At first i thought " wow, americans have gained some common sense in a court", but after reading it all i thought once again that "only in america" is once again an apt term. .... seriously 100 k ?????

    Simon.

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    Yet a camera company can patent a lens mount.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arg View Post
    Yet a camera company can patent a lens mount.....
    Of course they can cause it is a unique invention.

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    Looks and feels and works and performs the same as any other... but the company tweaks the details of a piece of code, or the position of a contact.... big deal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arg View Post
    Looks and feels and works and performs the same as any other... but the company tweaks the details of a piece of code, or the position of a contact.... big deal.
    If you look at Nikon for example. MOST of their lenses from the 1960's and 1970's, and some even earlier lenses, will still attach to a modern Nikon DSLR. Yes over the years the mount has been tweaked to add contacts for electronics etc, and each time a new patent has been added to that base mount patent. But in the end it is a NIKON mount, and the basic concept for the current mount is well over 40-50 years old.

    I am not sure what you are arguing against here. Perhaps the entire system of patents and ownership of inventions? If so, you are (Arg)uing against an entire global system that began in the 1500's with Queen Elizabeth I.
    Last edited by ricktas; 21-01-2015 at 4:32am.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arg View Post
    Yet a camera company can patent a lens mount.....
    What does this refer to. I cannot find a preceding reference in this thread. I might be missing something - besides branes - but what?

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    @ameerat42, I'm only saying that not everything that gets granted a patent is a terribly original thing, e.g. one lens mount compared to another. This photo cataloging system was not terribly original either, but that never stopped some other pretty unoriginal ideas being granted patents because of some minor technicality of 'uniqueness'. So that shouldn't be the basis for being critical of its patent-worthiness.

    Remember, it was granted a patent. So, putting aside conspiracy theories and idiocy theories, we can assume it is in the grey area. He might tweak a minor aspect, reapply, and get granted patent again. When in a grey area, who knows the outcome?

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    I don't think it comes down to uniqueness. In most cases I think the patent office lacks the industry specific knowledge to question the validity of the patent.
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    A request for a patent for a camera lens mount is because, I would imagine, the camera manufacturers don't want just anybody manufacturing a lens that goes on to their cameras without a) complying to some sort of standard that won't blow their bodies up, and b) paying some sort of licence from sales. The manufacturers make far more from lenses than they do bodies.

    And a lens mount is a specific mechanical thing which can be patented. I don't see any parallel betwen a lens mount and a workflow.
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    @MM

    Patent offices have hundreds of specialists. The idea that they grant a patent without knowledge of the area is the 'idiocy theory' that I mentioned, and reject.

    I don't know why you say it is not about uniqueness. The thing granted a patent is invariably referred to as 'the invention'. It MUST have the following three attributes: novelty, utility, and ingenuity. Novelty sounds like uniqueness to me.

    I reckon this photography patent is in the grey area. It is very, very close to qualifying.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Granville View Post
    I don't see any parallel betwen a lens mount and a workflow.
    See post #12, where I tried to explain. cheers
    Last edited by Arg; 21-01-2015 at 9:52am. Reason: added a title

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arg View Post
    Patent offices have hundreds of specialists. The idea that they grant a patent without knowledge of the area is the 'idiocy theory' that I mentioned, and reject.

    I don't know why you say it is not about uniqueness. The thing granted a patent is invariably referred to as 'the invention'. It MUST have the following three attributes: novelty, utility, and ingenuity. Novelty sounds like uniqueness to me.

    I reckon this photography patent is in the grey area. It is very, very close to qualifying.

    - - - Updated - - -



    See post #12, where I tried to explain. cheers
    I disagree. We've seen enough ludicrous patents approved to know they only have a basic level of knowledge in most areas. The vast majority of patents require specialist knowledge on a given topic.

    I do think that photographic technique should be extremely difficult to patent because the knowledge required to determine prior usage (not withstanding the difficulty in proving it because you have the outcome photo, not the technique used) would be near impossible. For example, the same effect in a studio could be achieved 5 different ways because of the potential combinations of reflectors, speed lights, strobes, soft boxes etc.

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    A patent is only worth what the owner is prepared to spend to defend it.

    Unfortunately for small patent holders, big companies often use patents knowing they are infringing and if the patent holder takes them to court, he can still lose as the big companies appeal and take the case to ever higher courts until the patent holder goes broke.

    The granting of a patent is no guarantee that the invention is new or unique. It can still be tested in court for prior art and other things, so the true test of a patent unfortunately, is in the hand of lawyers.
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    Member AstonKemp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennymiata View Post
    A patent is only worth what the owner is prepared to spend to defend it.

    Unfortunately for small patent holders, big companies often use patents knowing they are infringing and if the patent holder takes them to court, he can still lose as the big companies appeal and take the case to ever higher courts until the patent holder goes broke.

    The granting of a patent is no guarantee that the invention is new or unique. It can still be tested in court for prior art and other things, so the true test of a patent unfortunately, is in the hand of lawyers.
    Jim Fraziers lens patent is a classic example of the above. Big Bank balances can virtually crush genuine inventors. Luckily a white knight financed further development of his ideas and they didnt make the same mistake twice.

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