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It seems that Amazon may have succeeded in patenting (in the US at least) a set up for photos on a white background that are created with a specific simple lighting set up.

 

I just wonder how many images available across the stock industry, that may have been so for many years, are now unwittingly in violation of Amazon's patent.

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/has-amazon-really-patented-one-of-the-most-basic-ways-to-take-a-photograph-9452807.html

 

 

I recall the National Trust having a hissy fit a few years ago about images of its properties being available on stock websites and making moves to have them removed. I wonder how long it will be until Amazon starts to throw it's (considerably bigger) weight around in a similar way.

 

I do hope none of us photographers in the UK get rounded up and extradited to the USA at Amazon's behest to face patent infringement charges.

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If their patent is US only, then they couldn't get you for infringement in the UK. Same with me in Canada.

 

And how the heck would they enforce it? 

 

Jill

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There is plenty of evidence of prior art in producing a white background (millions of them on Alamy and other libraries and 150 years of common practice) so they can't claim white backgrounds themselves as novel, only if produced using their technique (how will they know?). I would find it surprising if their lighting method was genuinely novel enough to qualify for a patent as wel (at least from what I saw of the patent).

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The patent is very specific, even down to what lens was used, impossible to enforce as far as I can see(not a patent lawyer!) :D  :P  :ph34r:

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I think it's a slap in the face to the photo community at large that the US Trademark office would grant a patent for this. White backgrounds have been around since the start of product and people photography,especially fashion and portraits.Not to mention passport and drivers license photos!

 

Big money wins again...

 

L

Edited by Linda

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The value of any patent is only known when it has been tested in court. Problem big corporates can bully the small guy who can't afford to defend or challeneg patents. And them you need patents in all the major markets and the legal backup.

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I haven't managed to find a response from Amazon as to why they have done this? Has anyone seen anything?

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My understanding is that they have done it because they feared someone else doing it. If someone else patented it, Amazon could be really screwed.

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My understanding is that they have done it because they feared someone else doing it. If someone else patented it, Amazon could be really screwed.

 

They wouldn't need to patent it if that were the case; and they could have saved a good chunk of cash. Just put it in the public domain, publish it in all their markets etc and then it would constitute prior art so then no one could patent it. But then they would not be able to sue anybody else ...

 

That is why you have to be very careful who you tell about your invention as it could constitute publication, even in conversation and certainly not in tweet, letter, email or whatever - publication is a real no-no if your are seeking a patent.Some conversations are regarded as privileged, such as with your own lawyers and patent agents, so would not constitute publication. So never with a corporation that you were trying to interest in an idea, at least not before a provisional patent submission has been accepted.

Edited by Martin P Wilson

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