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USPTO Approves Amazon Patent For Taking Pictures

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  • by log0n (18224) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @05:32PM (#46953887)

    Is it going to take violence to get things fixed?

    Seriously. The only thing that's going to accomplish anything anymore is outright violence. Maybe then 'the people who need to know' (whoever they are) will start taking notice at the bullshit that's going on in our patent system (hell, any dysfunctional system). Talk doesn't work. Diplomacy doesn't work. The democratic process no longer works. Peaceful protest doesn't work. What else is there? These patents are directly attacking damn near everyone in commercial and professional photography. And when a bullshit patent is used to attack a person's livelihood or their means of supporting their family or their passion, and the result can leave them destitute, how is that any different than a violent attack against that person?

    Patenting something like this with this much prior art (fuck photography, anyone who has ever applied 3 point lighting and used the plain white background in 3d studio project preferences has prior art) is outright bullshit.

  • by dreamchaser (49529) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @05:38PM (#46953935) Homepage Journal

    There needs to be some sort of appeal or review process whereby the public can object to patents like this and many others that have been granted.

  • by SuperTechnoNerd (964528) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @05:39PM (#46953945)

    This is definitely an example of an examiner failing in their public duty.

    They are doing their duty. They are making sure that large corps are making plenty of profit, thereby strengthening our economy! Win win for all!

  • by ljw1004 (764174) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @05:42PM (#46953979)

    Seriously. Did the examiner on this even consider asking anyone who knows anything about photography? I'm not a photographer but I've had my picture taken for "promotional" reasons and already knew about this. I've even created a similar setup here when posting stuff online. Took me 10 seconds to find this page: http://www.raydobbins.com/phot... [raydobbins.com] What, exactly, are they trying to "patent" and why does this examiner still have a job? It's obvious that we need to have crowdsourcing prior art as an official part of the patent process.

    "What exactly are they trying to patent?" -- it says so right there in the first claim, and it's stupid that you spent more time looking up prior art of what you *ASSUMED* the patent was about, rather than actually reading the patent.

    They patented the combination of a white cyclorama background, with the object on an elevated platform, the combination of four rear light sources in a particular geometry behind the elevated platform, and some technical tricks to make the elevated platform be imperceptible.

    I sincerely doubt that your promotional picture was taken on an elevated platform with four lights behind you and some looking down onto the platform. The website you linked was nothing like what the patent is doing either.

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @05:50PM (#46954027) Homepage

    Exactly this. You can, however, achieve exactly the same effect by dozens of minor variations on the theme. 72 mm lens, slower iso (really, 320, WTF?), differing positioning of lights, etc.

    While it hardly seems novel or non obvious, it's also so narrow as to be essentially useless.

    Color me confused. Or maybe it's just a black and white issue.

  • by ljw1004 (764174) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @06:00PM (#46954111)

    Claims 2 and 25 aren't that specific...

    It's a kind of patent-drafter's game, mixing specific claims (like claim 1) and general claims (2, 25) and then making progressively narrower claims from the general ones (3 -- 24). They do this to cover their bases, to make it more likely to have the patent granted, and to help them have something they can fight in court.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @07:28PM (#46954725)

    I sincerely doubt that your promotional picture was taken on an elevated platform with four lights behind you and some looking down onto the platform.

    Blah blah blah... who cares. You shouldn't be able to patent arranging some lights and positioning a camera. Just like you shouldn't be able to patent swipe to unlock or how you shave your mustache. I know! I always put my french fries on my cheeseburger before I eat it because it makes it crunchy and adds salt. Let's patent that... oh right, I can't because that would be fucking stupid.

  • by pipedwho (1174327) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @08:11PM (#46954983)

    Win win for all ... patent lawyers!

    Sadly it is true that they are doing their duty to their customers. Customers who unfortunately are not the general public, but a small conclave of large corporations.

  • by angst_ridden_hipster (23104) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @09:10PM (#46955381) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, ONE SPECIFIC arrangement that photographers have been using for many, many decades.

  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Thursday May 08, 2014 @11:14PM (#46956047) Homepage Journal

    "They patented the combination of a white cyclorama background, with the object on an elevated platform, the combination of four rear light sources in a particular geometry behind the elevated platform, and some technical tricks to make the elevated platform be imperceptible."

    Oh, exactly like what I've been building for over a decade.

    Oh, and there's no particular geometry to overpower shadow. 4 lights? I can do it with two. Make the elevated platform imperceptible? Clear acrylic and oversaturation of the area, or use a white cloth matching the lightbox and oversaturate it and shoot at lower ISO. All of this shit is known to anyone that took a fucking photography elective in high school, and in fact this is EXACTLY what Amazon is trying to patent.

    Go back to school.

  • by kegon (766647) on Friday May 09, 2014 @03:03AM (#46956881)

    Actually, Amazon claims it was for defensive purposes only.

    In that case they only had to publish a blog post to generate prior art. And it would have been a lot cheaper. Or are you suggesting that Amazon don't know how patents work ?

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