Patent on selling photos on the web??? Please explain this to me

StormdancingStormdancing Clickin and GrinninPosts: 917Registered Users Major grins
edited March 7, 2015 in Mind Your Own Business
Someone pointed this site out to me.
http://www.photocrazy.com/FAQ.html#Q1030

Look at # 3

Can I start a business like PhotoCrazy®?
The concept of offering event photos for inspection, selection and distribution via the Internet is protected by U.S. Patent No. 6,985,875. We welcome others who wish to license the process from us. Kindly contact us by email or phone to discuss the details.

I'm confused. How can he claim that posting and selling your photos you have taken of an event is protected by a patent????????

Can someone explain this to me?
Dana
** Feel free to edit my photos if you see room for improvement.**
Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if
no birds sang there except those that sang best.
~Henry Van Dyke
«1345

Comments

  • bhambham Major grins Posts: 1,370Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 19, 2006
    All this says that he has submitted a patent application. He submitted it in 2000. If he was going to get a patent I think he would have received it by now.

    Yeah and I am gonna patent a thing you take information like news and print it on paper and sell it to people who want to read it. I think I will call it a news paper.
    "A photo is like a hamburger. You can get one from McDonalds for $1, one from Chili's for $5, or one from Ruth's Chris for $15. You usually get what you pay for, but don't expect a Ruth's Chris burger at a McDonalds price, if you want that, go cook it yourself." - me
  • StormdancingStormdancing Clickin and Grinnin Posts: 917Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 19, 2006
    bham wrote:
    All this says that he has submitted a patent application. He submitted it in 2000. If he was going to get a patent I think he would have received it by now.

    Yeah and I am gonna patent a thing you take information like news and print it on paper and sell it to people who want to read it. I think I will call it a news paper.

    This patent was granted/approved or what ever they call it on Jan 10, 2006

    http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6,985,875.WKU.&OS=PN/6,985,875&RS=PN/6,985,875
    Dana
    ** Feel free to edit my photos if you see room for improvement.**
    Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if
    no birds sang there except those that sang best.
    ~Henry Van Dyke
  • StormdancingStormdancing Clickin and Grinnin Posts: 917Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 19, 2006
    Shay
    I'm not sure if this should be here or in News. If you need to have it moved, sorry. Wasn't sure which one to post this in.
    Dana
    ** Feel free to edit my photos if you see room for improvement.**
    Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if
    no birds sang there except those that sang best.
    ~Henry Van Dyke
  • bhambham Major grins Posts: 1,370Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 19, 2006
    I am watching there flash presentation now. I think the patented part of this looks like the cameras. Multiple cameras with sensor triggers to set off shutter. Also equipment maybe patented somehow.

    Interesting idea.
    "A photo is like a hamburger. You can get one from McDonalds for $1, one from Chili's for $5, or one from Ruth's Chris for $15. You usually get what you pay for, but don't expect a Ruth's Chris burger at a McDonalds price, if you want that, go cook it yourself." - me
  • mercphotomercphoto Bill Jurasz Posts: 4,539Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 20, 2006
    This particular patent is getting a lot of attention on Sports Shooter and on Rob Galbraith. Some photographers have started getting registered letters asking to negotiate to license the patent or to cease and desist. I read this patent and go d'uh. I just don't see any idea in that patent that is remarkable enough to grant protection. It seems too obvious to me.

    The US Patent Office: Protecting Obvious Ideas, 24/7.

    Gotta love it. :( Glad I haven't quit the day job.
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
  • wholenewlightwholenewlight Press Any Key Posts: 1,529Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 20, 2006
    Here's is photocrazy's president's comments. Clear as mud . . .

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    book.gif Re: Potential Lawsuit of all Photographers who pos [Re: Peter_Headland]
    #396874 - Thu Jan 19 2006 06:59 PM edit.gif Edit reply.gif Reply quote.gif Quote [URL="javascript:quickReply(7)"]reply.gif Quick Reply [/URL]
    I have read with interest many of your comments and wanted to clear the air about the many misconceptions and worrisome concerns.

    My intentions are to get a fair compensation (licensing fee) from anyone who wants to use my patented processes.

    My rational is no different then each of you expecting copyright protection on pictures you might have taken that someone else wants to use for commercial gain.

    Please be assured that the US Patent & Trademark Office did not simply "rubber stamp" my patent application back in 1999. It took six long years to receive this patent. The search for prior art was exhaustive! Any concerns about what is claimed in the patent should be carefully reviewed with a certified patent attorney.

    You will find me friendly and courteous in negotiating a licensing agreement that fits your needs and mine. I'll be at the Imaging USA Conference from January 21 to the 24th in Austin, TX. Call or email me if you would like to meet personally.

    Thank you,

    Peter
    (805) 492-0562

    Peter Wolf, President
    www.photocrazy.com
    info@photocrazy.com
    john w

    I knew, of course, that trees and plants had roots, stems, bark, branches and foliage that reached up toward the light. But I was coming to realize that the real magician was light itself.
    Edward Steichen

  • bhambham Major grins Posts: 1,370Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 20, 2006
    "The search for prior art was exhaustive!"

    What does he mean by that? What art?


    Is he expecting all photographers who photograph events, then upload to the internet for selection, distrubtion, etc to pay a licensing fee to him but not using his software, etc. That is kinda nuts. If he really had a patent on that wouldn't he go after companies that offer this service?

    I read through the patent and still didn't understand the unique thing that he has patented. Is it how the information is taged or identified.

    Also where are these messages? Maybe I can get the gist of what is going on from their.

    Interesting.
    "A photo is like a hamburger. You can get one from McDonalds for $1, one from Chili's for $5, or one from Ruth's Chris for $15. You usually get what you pay for, but don't expect a Ruth's Chris burger at a McDonalds price, if you want that, go cook it yourself." - me
  • dragon300zxdragon300zx What God Complex? Posts: 2,575Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 20, 2006
    I highly doubt this would stand up in a court of law. Many, Many companies have been doing this for many years. I'm not going to worry about it.

    Chrysler is using this exact technique at the NAIAS right now. Something tells me they aren't worried.

    In particular the section regarding the images being digitized and displayed for the event particpant to see over a computer network.... Jostens was doing this back in '97 at events I attended in high school, like marching band competitions.
    Everyone Has A Photographic Memory. Some Just Do Not Have Film.
    www.zxstudios.com
    http://creativedragonstudios.smugmug.com
  • flyingpylonflyingpylon Major grins Posts: 260Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 20, 2006
    "Prior art" in patent lingo basically means previously patented methods or processes. It's not "art" as most of us think of art.

    I'm not a lawyer, and I admit that I didn't read the entire patent. But I've been through the process myself and have been awarded a patent in the past. The thing is, these patent lawyers have a way of taking a small method which may really be a unique idea and then broadening the definition of it with the language used in the patent application.

    Seems to me that the patent is for the kind of event photography you see at marathons, etc. where a process is used to photograph contestants, identify them in a way other than visual inspection of the photo, and then get them to buy prints via the web. It doesn't seem to be a patent that covers "anyone that takes a photo at an event and then tries to sell it on the web". The specific process of getting the right photo to the right person is what seems important here.

    But like I said, I'm not a lawyer.
  • David_S85David_S85 Spotter of Dgrin Spam and Oddities ChicagolandPosts: 11,609Administrators moderator
    edited January 20, 2006
    Getting a patent is one thing. Defending it is another altogether; and very very expensive. He will need to choose who to go after as a test case. If there are thousands of targets out there, the chances are very small any one person or company will be the first to get served. Then years might go by in the mean time.

    However, if he wins just one judgement, then potentially everyone using whatever technology he is claiming to hold his own, will need to reconsider their next options.

    iPIX theoretically holds several patents for 360º x 180º bubble panorama technology. They began to sue those offering up software to produce or view anything similar. One victim was Helmut Dersch, the programmer who brought us PTViewer and PTTools. Apple skirted around the issue by producing "cubic" panels and a new QuickTime viewer. The iPIX cases have died down, but it cost a lot of companies time and money. Drove some out of business. So there is existing precedent with something similar.
    My Smugmug
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
  • SamSam San Jose CA Posts: 7,418Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 20, 2006
    Someone pointed this site out to me.
    http://www.photocrazy.com/FAQ.html#Q1030

    Look at # 3

    Can I start a business like PhotoCrazy®?
    The concept of offering event photos for inspection, selection and distribution via the Internet is protected by U.S. Patent No. 6,985,875. We welcome others who wish to license the process from us. Kindly contact us by email or phone to discuss the details.

    I'm confused. How can he claim that posting and selling your photos you have taken of an event is protected by a patent????????

    Can someone explain this to me?

    This is interesting in a twisted sick, lawyer way. As I read this, there isn't anything new or unique involved. This seems to be someone taking a common business concept currently practiced by uncountable event photographers all over the USA and trying to obtain a patent on this common practice to extort fees from the unwary or timid.

    My word for this would be scam.

    Sam
  • bhambham Major grins Posts: 1,370Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 20, 2006
    Yes Sam that is what it sounds like to me a scam, but a scam with a patent. From reading some of the forums about this at RobGalbraith.com it sounds like he is basically demanding marathon event photographers to pay the license fee or he is threating to sue. And not just sue the photographer but the event sponsor. Thereby scaring the event sponsor to only use his photographers (with his license).
    "A photo is like a hamburger. You can get one from McDonalds for $1, one from Chili's for $5, or one from Ruth's Chris for $15. You usually get what you pay for, but don't expect a Ruth's Chris burger at a McDonalds price, if you want that, go cook it yourself." - me
  • dragon300zxdragon300zx What God Complex? Posts: 2,575Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 20, 2006
    Well I took the time to read the patent. Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah. What a freak. He specifically stats in the patent that this is not a new technology, that it is already in use, and he is just adapting it to his use. The patent is on the method of identifying the participants of the event. So many loopholes around this, plus I really can't see it standing up in court. Could this be a headache for some company that he decides to try and sue.... Yes. But a good lawyer should be able to win against him. But keep in mind that it's a particular process he got a patent for. A process that is very easy to modify to make it different than his process. It's not about selling photo's on the web really, more about a way of identifying participants and directing them to the photo on the website. But also giving them particular data allowing them to search for the photo on the website. As far as the ordering process goes, he would have to claim to have a patent using online shopping carts. As a photograph is just merchandise, like a t-shirt, etc. Not to mention that the processes he is talking about where all invented by other people. Digitally transferring files to a computer, he didn't invent that, HTML, Online Shopping Carts, Secure servers, Etc. I hope he trys to sue a big company, or someone with a good lawyer, who can smack him around and put him in his place.
    Everyone Has A Photographic Memory. Some Just Do Not Have Film.
    www.zxstudios.com
    http://creativedragonstudios.smugmug.com
  • BodleyBodley Full Contact Posts: 775Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 24, 2006
    Everyone knows that "Al Gore" invented this process - or was that the Internet rolleyes1.gif
    Greg
    "Tis better keep your mouth shut and be thought of as an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"
  • StormdancingStormdancing Clickin and Grinnin Posts: 917Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 24, 2006
    Sam wrote:
    My word for this would be scam.
    My word is extortion. In reading up on this guy, he has money, but I doubt he will go after a "big" company with his threatened lawsuits. He will go after the "little" guys, just like he has already done with his cease and desist letters. The "little" guys will cave because they are just trying to make a living with their photography. They won't have the bottomless bank accounts that defending a breach of patent lawsuit will take.

    It's been a few days since I read through the patent, but no where did it state marathon or runners. It said events. This could be widely interpreted in many ways. An "event" where participants wear numbers and you use those numbers to label your pictures for sale - horse shows, motocross, nascar, basketball, football, hockey on and on.

    He stated he will be at ImagingUSA - I wonder what kind of reception he is going to find there. eek7.gif
    Dana
    ** Feel free to edit my photos if you see room for improvement.**
    Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if
    no birds sang there except those that sang best.
    ~Henry Van Dyke
  • mercphotomercphoto Bill Jurasz Posts: 4,539Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 24, 2006
    My word is extortion. In reading up on this guy, he has money, but I doubt he will go after a "big" company with his threatened lawsuits. He will go after the "little" guys, just like he has already done with his cease and desist letters.
    Believing everything I read on Internet forums, of course, <sarcasm off> he has apparantly done worse. Apparantly he has written at least one event organizer telling them of his patent. The obvious implication is, of course, "be careful which photographer you hire because he might be in violation of my patent". If this is true, and I do not know if it is, then Mr. Wolf has definitely stepped over a very big line.

    I'm sure Mr. Wolf is getting a very ugly reception at Imaging USA this week.
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
  • dragon300zxdragon300zx What God Complex? Posts: 2,575Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 24, 2006
    mercphoto wrote:
    Believing everything I read on Internet forums, of course, <sarcasm off> he has apparantly done worse. Apparantly he has written at least one event organizer telling them of his patent. The obvious implication is, of course, "be careful which photographer you hire because he might be in violation of my patent". If this is true, and I do not know if it is, then Mr. Wolf has definitely stepped over a very big line.

    I'm sure Mr. Wolf is getting a very ugly reception at Imaging USA this week.

    Makes me wish I had gone to Imaging USA.
    Everyone Has A Photographic Memory. Some Just Do Not Have Film.
    www.zxstudios.com
    http://creativedragonstudios.smugmug.com
  • StormdancingStormdancing Clickin and Grinnin Posts: 917Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 24, 2006
    mercphoto wrote:
    I'm sure Mr. Wolf is getting a very ugly reception at Imaging USA this week.
    I'm envisioning eggs and tomatoes with numbers on them.rolleyes1.gif

    I'm also wondering, if he is calling event sponsors and scaring them off his competitors by using this patent threat, if he's not opening up a big can of worms he might not want to deal with. Someone just might decide to test this patent in court with a defamation lawsuit, and in doing so taking the ball out of his court and into theirs. Just a thought.
    Dana
    ** Feel free to edit my photos if you see room for improvement.**
    Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if
    no birds sang there except those that sang best.
    ~Henry Van Dyke
  • BodleyBodley Full Contact Posts: 775Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 24, 2006
    My word is extortion. In reading up on this guy, he has money, but I doubt he will go after a "big" company with his threatened lawsuits. He will go after the "little" guys, just like he has already done with his cease and desist letters.

    Not sure but seems as though the "BIG Guys" (Getty, etc..) may want to be involved (provide legal services) in any law suit against a "SMALL Guy" to protect their own rights. So the "SMALL Guy's" could very well have an Ace-in-the-Hole.
    Greg
    "Tis better keep your mouth shut and be thought of as an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"
  • PoindexterPoindexter Revenge of the Nerds Posts: 92Registered Users Big grins
    edited January 24, 2006
    I could be totally wrong as this is the first time I've ever read a patent, but this:
    A particularly preferred algorithm has the following formula: Tp=(Lp/Lc)(Tf), wherein Lp equals the distance from a starting point of the event to the photographer, Tp equals the minutes from the starting point to a photographer at location Lp, Lc equals the total distance of the event, and Tf equals the total minutes to finish the event by the participant. This algorithm could utilize the participant's starting and finish time as these times are commonly remembered or easily estimated by the event participant. The participant simply selects his or her starting and finish time on the computer screen in addition to selecting where along the event route the desired picture is to be located. Although the calculation assumes that the participant traveled at a relatively constant speed, such an assumption has proven to be reasonable from actual observations. The host computer will automatically display the photograph found based upon the calculation of the formula and allow the participant to conveniently search other photographs near the estimated ones in order to find the particular photograph in question.
    sounds like the thing he's patented. It is simply a formula for determining who the event competitor is at a certain place and time. The rest of the patent sounds like explanation as to why this formula should be patented (why it holds meaning as a contribution to humanity)......the explanation could have also been strategically written this way to provide all the grey area to scare folks.
  • StevenVStevenV Wake Up & Smell the Music Posts: 1,174Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 24, 2006
    Poindexter wrote:
    sounds like the thing he's patented...is simply a formula for determining ...

    patenting of business processes - especially ones that seem incredibly obvious to "everyone else" - has been a huge topic in the software arena in the past few years... including Amazon's "one-click" purchasing... "everyone" knew that storing customer data so that they could make a purchase simply was "obvious," but "nobody" said so until Bezos submitted for a patent... then "everyone" got up-in-arms (further reading, and here, and here).
  • StormdancingStormdancing Clickin and Grinnin Posts: 917Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 24, 2006
    Thanks for the articles Steven

    I found this statement jaw dropping
    http://www.around.com/patent2.html
    Although small companies can get patents, the big companies can afford to litigate — "when it comes into court, guess who's going to win." Absurd patents can be fought and overthrown, but, on average, to challenge a patent costs more than $1 million.
    "Even under traditional patent rules, many of these software patents will turn out to be bad patents," says Lessig at Harvard, "but in the meantime they create these little mafia monopoly holders who can go around demanding, with a federal court behind them, that you pay up or we'll shut you down."

    I wonder if Smugmug has had any thoughts, dealings or comments on this issue.
    Dana
    ** Feel free to edit my photos if you see room for improvement.**
    Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if
    no birds sang there except those that sang best.
    ~Henry Van Dyke
  • SamSam San Jose CA Posts: 7,418Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 24, 2006
    It is real simple what this guy wants. He has clearly stated the folowing:

    Can I start a business like PhotoCrazy®?
    The concept of offering event photos for inspection, selection and distribution via the Internet is protected by U.S. Patent No. 6,985,875. We welcome others who wish to license the process from us. Kindly contact us by email or phone to discuss the details.
    Go to top

    As of now all event photographers are violating his patent rights. Next question, what is an event? A wedding? A picnic? A beauty contest? A dog show? A car show? Your kids soccer games?

    Basicaly, this lazy scum looked out there and saw every one doing business in a simalar way. Taking photos, then offering them for sale on the internet. He observed that no one had a patent on this widely used method, and has succeeded in obtaining a patent on a process he did not invent, so he can make money by charging everyone that wants to continue to do business as they have in the past.

    ps: I looked at his event site, and it's clear why he wants to extort money rather than earn it in photography. :D

    Sam
  • flyingdutchieflyingdutchie Happy Snapper Posts: 1,286Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 24, 2006
    Sam wrote:
    It is real simple what this guy wants. He has clearly stated the folowing:

    Can I start a business like PhotoCrazy®?
    The concept of offering event photos for inspection, selection and distribution via the Internet is protected by U.S. Patent No. 6,985,875. We welcome others who wish to license the process from us. Kindly contact us by email or phone to discuss the details.
    Go to top

    As of now all event photographers are violating his patent rights. Next question, what is an event? A wedding? A picnic? A beauty contest? A dog show? A car show? Your kids soccer games?

    Basicaly, this lazy scum looked out there and saw every one doing business in a simalar way. Taking photos, then offering them for sale on the internet. He observed that no one had a patent on this widely used method, and has succeeded in obtaining a patent on a process he did not invent, so he can make money by charging everyone that wants to continue to do business as they have in the past.

    ps: I looked at his event site, and it's clear why he wants to extort money rather than earn it in photography. :D

    Sam

    I have not read the entire patent, but it could be that he saw a way to automize (with soft- and hardware) a certain workflow that many event photographers follow. If this automization of the entire and workflow is unique and not wide (covering all event photography), getting a patent is not that strange.

    On the other hand, i'm very very wary of frivolous software patents, like Amazon's "One click ordering" mentioned earlier. They stifle innovation and are mostly used only to 'extort' money. If this is the case for this guy, i hope some big company with big pockets takes him up on the patent... see what happens :D
    I can't grasp the notion of time.

    When I hear the earth will melt into the sun,
    in two billion years,
    all I can think is:
        "Will that be on a Monday?"
    ==========================
    http://www.streetsofboston.com
    http://blog.antonspaans.com
  • mercphotomercphoto Bill Jurasz Posts: 4,539Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 24, 2006
    I have not read the entire patent, but it could be that he saw a way to automize (with soft- and hardware) a certain workflow that many event photographers follow. If this automization of the entire and workflow is unique and not wide (covering all event photography), getting a patent is not that strange.
    The problem is how broad his patent is (for example, it covers the "passive" means of identifying a participant by manually looking at a bib number and entering it as a keyword in the metadata, hardly unique or patentable).

    Technically Smugmug might be a co-conspirator via their keyword search ability. How absurd is it to patent what amounts to a simple SQL query?

    This guys is out to lunch.
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
  • ObviousObvious Beginner grinner Posts: 1Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited January 31, 2006
    "The search for prior Art was exhaustive."
    Please... The patent office has a back log and that's why it took six long years...

    As for the exhaustive search, I did a search on the web. Here's what I found on www.morephotos.com, "In June 1998, WD Web began development on MorePhotos, software that provides photography professionals with an Internet sales solution for their product. Since its launch in January of 2000, MorePhotos has become a lead innovator in the online photo proofing and sales market. The concept behind the product is a turnkey web presence for professional photographers to upload and sell their photographs to anyone with an Internet connection, anywhere in the world. The result of clients using the software is increased sales and exposure using simple to use tools and marketing concepts."

    Peter Wolf's patent fails the prior Art test and the obvious test.

    According to www.eff.org , the patent is a business method patent:

    "About Business Method Patents

    First validated by the courts in 1998, business method patents are highly controversial because they typically do not cover innovations that solve a particular technology problem. Instead, holders of business method patents are claiming to be the first to engage in a transaction over the Internet in a particular way. Examples of business method patents include Amazon's one-click patent and Priceline's reverse auction patent.
    Business method patents are prone to abuse. A patent holder can sue or threaten to sue anyone or an organization that uses a similar business method and seek to collect licensing fees, effectively extracting a "patent tax" for common ways of utilizing the Internet."

    One website, www.lawandtax-news.com, tracks several cases involving business process patents, including the case against Blackberry. Here's the posting from the site concerning Ebay.

    "In the summer of 2003, a Virginia District Court ruled that with its 'Buy It Now' function, eBay had infringed upon a patent for direct online buying held by MercExchange founder and former CIA engineer, Tom Woolston. Federal Judge Jerome Friedman also stated that that auction portal had violated a patent held by Mr Woolston for searching the internet for merchandise from other vendors, but dismissed a violation claim regarding the entire online auction process, arguing that MercExchange had not made an effective case.
    Earlier in 2005, an appeals court upheld the previous ruling on the direct buy patent, and recommended an injunction to prevent eBay from using it, meaning that the firm would either have to remove the 'Buy It Now' function, create a substantially different version, or license the technology from MercExchange.
    In a partial victory for eBay, the court denied the validity of the search patent. The biggest surprise, according to observers, was the decision to reinstate MercExchange's patent on the entire auction process.
    However, in an initial ruling delivered in March, the USPTO took a step towards overturning the appeals court ruling against eBay, suggesting that the auction-related patents held by the smaller firm could be invalidated by prior art, and by their obviousness.

    The Supreme Court is set to rule on the matter in the spring of 2006."

    Hopefully, the Supreme Court can inject common sense.




    Here's is photocrazy's president's comments. Clear as mud . . .

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    book.gif Re: Potential Lawsuit of all Photographers who pos [Re: Peter_Headland]
    #396874 - Thu Jan 19 2006 06:59 PM edit.gif Edit reply.gif Reply quote.gif Quote [URL="http://javascript<b></b>:quickReply(7)"]reply.gif Quick Reply [/URL]
    I have read with interest many of your comments and wanted to clear the air about the many misconceptions and worrisome concerns.

    My intentions are to get a fair compensation (licensing fee) from anyone who wants to use my patented processes.

    My rational is no different then each of you expecting copyright protection on pictures you might have taken that someone else wants to use for commercial gain.

    Please be assured that the US Patent & Trademark Office did not simply "rubber stamp" my patent application back in 1999. It took six long years to receive this patent. The search for prior art was exhaustive! Any concerns about what is claimed in the patent should be carefully reviewed with a certified patent attorney.

    You will find me friendly and courteous in negotiating a licensing agreement that fits your needs and mine. I'll be at the Imaging USA Conference from January 21 to the 24th in Austin, TX. Call or email me if you would like to meet personally.

    Thank you,

    Peter
    (805) 492-0562

    Peter Wolf, President
    www.photocrazy.com
    info@photocrazy.com
  • cabbeycabbey SmugMug Sorcerer Wilsonville, ORPosts: 1,053Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 1, 2006
    IANAL, but a significant portion of my day job involves patent analysis, and I've participated in the filling of a few patents. So here's 90 minutes worth of my take on this patent, and a couple things to keep in mind when reading these things.

    Important point #1: Only the claims matter. The claims are what you are patenting, everything else is background material. The claims start in column 5 line 37 with the usual phrase "What is claimed is:"

    Important point #2: Independent claims matter more. When it comes to trying to overtrun/defend/destroy/ridcule patents, those claims that are based on other claims in the patent are less interesting. If you can knock the independent claims out of the water then you've dealt with the patent by and large.

    This patent has the following independent claims: 1, 16, 24, 29.

    Claims 16, 24, and 29 are virtually identicle, the key difference between them stems from the specific type of meta data used to tag the photo (though the patent wording pre-dates or chooses not to use the keyword "metadata", that's really what it is, so that's what I'm going to call it.) The specifics are that 16 uses "the date and time", 24 uses "a number worn" and 29 uses "a component worn by the sporting event participant". Ok you can color me impressed by that last one... it's basically talking about RFID tagging participants. I think there are some large marathons, bike races, etc that use that type of technique for official timing, but a photog sitting on the side lines capturing the rfid and stamping it into the meta data so you can find their picture of *you* in the pile of photos their (probably automated, firing as fast as it can) cameras spewed out during the course of the marathon? that one does have me slightly impressed, if this really was written in 1999. An official file date of Aug 17, 2000, and a 399 day adjustment notice seems to me to imply that it was.

    Claim 1 is a more generic catch all type of claim. The slightly different wording in it's opening paragraph seems to imply that it was intended as such, to abstract out the generic aspects of the other three core claims and provide a basis for future proofing. The stock phrase "is selected from at least one of" in the second item of claim 1 continues to support that, though the lack of any kind of open ended nature to the plurality of methods presented on that item shows either (1) a lazy pattent attourney (they're paid by the word, so, uh I doubt that.) or (2) a really good patent clerk that rejected and disalowed that (they're too over worked to be that nit picking.)

    Important point #3: You have to infringe the entire claim. If you only practice 95% of a claim, you don't practice the claim.

    Important point #4: You get what you pay for. You didn't pay me anything for this, I didn't ask anything for it, and you can't pay me for advice on this even if you wanted to, cause I am not a lawyer. If you think you have any fiscal jeopardy due to this patent, or if you think you have addequate documented prior art to over turn it and the time and cash to fight it, go get yourself an Patent Attourney.

    Executive summary: Claim 1 scares me. If I was in the business of selling photos of any kind of sporting event (note that the claims never mention anything other than sports!) I would seriously be looking for a good lawyer. Beyond Claim 1, claims 16, 24 and 29 are specific enough that I think I could probably find ways to work around them, albeit at the cost of poor customer service, and likely decreased sales, since it would be harder for a potential customer to find themselves in the pile of images I've got to assume I would have taken. Claim 16 by not allowing search by timestamp, claim 24 by not allowing search by number, claim 29 by not collecting any data from rfid tags or the like that they had with them when they passed. Claim 1 however... pretty well rules out all but the silliest of search potentials. Can you imagine a search method of "my hair is curly red, my eyes are blue, my skin is pasty white with lots of freckles."? yeah, me neither... but then neither did this patent writer... so those metadata bits aren't covered by this one. (that's not to say there aren't some facial recognition patents that don't cover them.)
    SmugMug Sorcerer - Engineering Team Champion for Commerce, Finance, Security, and Data Support
    http://wall-art.smugmug.com/
  • mfrydmfryd Beginner grinner Posts: 3Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited February 6, 2006
    According to Mr. Wolf, patent only covers sports
    There have been some questions raised as to what the patent exactly covers. I'm not a lawyer, nor a patent expert, but I do think I have something to add.

    First some background:
    I have a web site that provides photos from Beauty Pageants. Contestents wear identifiying signs (banners), which we read and enter into our database. Typically these are state or country names.

    Web site visitors can search the site for photos by date (pageants can sometimes take weeks) or by state/coutnry name.

    Our introduction of these features predates Mr. Wolf's patent application.

    In my mind, there is a striking similarity to what I do, and what is covered by Mr. Wolf's patent. Mr. Wolf's web site (http://www.photocrazy.com/FAQ.html#Q1030) seems to claim his patent covers all events, not just sporting events. Obviously, the combination of a patent, and the broad claims on his web site concerned me.

    I have spoken to Mr. Wolf on this matter, and he has assured me that his patent ONLY covers sporting events. He further assured me that Beauty Pageants are definitely not sporting events, and therefore not covered by the patent.

    This suggests to me, that those not involved in sporting events, are not covered by the patent.

    Those who find this matter interesting may wish to look up other patents Mr. Wolf has pending. I'm no expert, but one of them seemed to be a patent on using an electric eye to automatically trigger a photo (think of the finish line in a horse race, Application 20040036015 , Serial No.: 224674), and another on using remotely controlled cameras (think of a ceiling mounted TV camera used in sporting events, Application 20050117018 Serial No.: 008697). I find these patent applications to be fascinating reading.
  • mercphotomercphoto Bill Jurasz Posts: 4,539Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 8, 2006
    Poindexter wrote:
    I could be totally wrong as this is the first time I've ever read a patent, but this:


    sounds like the thing he's patented. It is simply a formula for determining who the event competitor is at a certain place and time.
    That formula is 5th grade mathematics at best. Its nothing more than a simple ratio. The ratio of the time to the camera versus time to end of event is the same as distance to camear as distance to end of event. That is all this formula says. That does not warrant patent protection. Its simple, obvious math.
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
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  • mfrydmfryd Beginner grinner Posts: 3Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited February 8, 2006
    mercphoto wrote:
    That formula is 5th grade mathematics at best. Its nothing more than a simple ratio. The ratio of the time to the camera versus time to end of event is the same as distance to camear as distance to end of event. That is all this formula says. That does not warrant patent protection. Its simple, obvious math.

    Do not confuse confuse common sense with he law. Patent law is quite complex, and sometimes obscure. Simply becuase something seems obvious to you, does not mean it is not patentable.
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