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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography
Thread started 23 Aug 2014 (Saturday) 09:38
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Article: patent troll sues photographer for infringement on patent for workflow

 
mikeinctown
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Cleveland, Ohio
Aug 25, 2014 07:42 |  #16

When was this patent issued?

Cameras for a while have noted date and time, which would correspond with line #3. Everything else is what photogs do on a regular basis and what all computers do, that is catalog by a given set of characteristics, one being date and time.


So unless this patent was filed at the advent of the internet, I'm not sure how or why the patent was even issued, or how it could be defended by the patent holder.

You take photos at a parking lot club race. You upload those pictures into your computer, which has exif info including date and time. You designate the photos by car number and post them on facebook. your friends find their cars and want to order photos you took of their cars. Patent infringement?


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Sibil
Cream of the Crop
5,139 posts
Joined Jan 2009
SoCal
Aug 25, 2014 07:54 |  #17

BamPhoto wrote in post #17115461external link
I guess I need to patent "Pushing the shutter" !

No so fast. I am looking into "bumping the shutter" , "exposing to the right", blah, blah, :lol:




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banquetbear
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Wellington, New Zealand
Aug 25, 2014 07:59 |  #18

mikeinctown wrote in post #17116168external link
When was this patent issued?

Cameras for a while have noted date and time, which would correspond with line #3. Everything else is what photogs do on a regular basis and what all computers do, that is catalog by a given set of characteristics, one being date and time.


So unless this patent was filed at the advent of the internet, I'm not sure how or why the patent was even issued, or how it could be defended by the patent holder.

...the patent was filed in 1999. Patent is here:

http://www.google.com/​patents/US6985875external link

The patent was issued because the US patent office granted it. It is being successfully "defended" because the process to fight the patent is much more expensive than simply paying the licence fees. Capstone has taken it further than most but the odds are they will run out of money before the case gets too court.


www.bigmark.co.nzexternal link

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groundloop
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976 posts
Joined Jun 2012
Aug 25, 2014 08:23 as a reply to banquetbear's post |  #19

I did a little more reading, and it appears there are 3 patents (6985875, 7047214, 7870035). They all basically say the same thing, in fact the claims in the first 2 are worded nearly identically. This appears to be a case of someone patenting the obvious, and somehow or another it slid through the patent office partly because nobody else had bothered to try. IMO the patent office has tightened up in recent years and these wouldn't be issued today.

There was a case recently where a patent was overturned because it was obvious to anyone with technical training.... someone had patented the process of measuring the amount of medication in a patients bloodstream and increasing or decreasing medication based on the blood test result. This photocrazy patent is the same thing, unfortunately photographers don't have as many resources as pharmaceutical companies to fight litigation.

So unless this patent was filed at the advent of the internet, I'm not sure how or why the patent was even issued, or how it could be defended by the patent holder.

The thing that Photocrazy is counting on is that lawyers are very expensive. Most photographers or photography related companies will simply cave in and pay royalties rather than spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to fight it out in court.

You take photos at a parking lot club race. You upload those pictures into your computer, which has exif info including date and time. You designate the photos by car number and post them on facebook. your friends find their cars and want to order photos you took of their cars. Patent infringement?

Unfortunately it appears that it would be.

...just a heads up: Peter Wolf is a member of these forums:

I saw that... he has a total of about 7 posts. I guess he gave up trying to defend himself and moved on.




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Gary_Evans
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Aug 25, 2014 08:58 |  #20

groundloop wrote in post #17116238external link
Most photographers or photography related companies will simply cave in and pay royalties rather than spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to fight it out in court.

Admittedly I'm not in the US but 100% of photographers I know who use bib recognition software simply ignore Peter Wolf and his patent


Gary
www.myeventphoto.co.ukexternal link
www.garyevansphotograp​hy.co.ukexternal link

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groundloop
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976 posts
Joined Jun 2012
Aug 26, 2014 13:35 |  #21

OK .... I've looked through the 3 patents in detail. IMO there's some language in each of the patents that should make it possible to avoid infringement. Rest assured though that I'm not a lawyer and all of this is just my personal opinion. I have one patent under my belt so I know a bit about how patents are written, my boss has about a dozen patents so he knows even more and he agrees with me on this (but he's not a lawyer either).

"informing the sporting participants of the identifying data" - This MIGHT be a stretch, but it would seem that if the photographer or organizer didn't notify participants that their photographs are going to be sorted by bib number (or time, or name) they wouldn't be infringing. In my mind the organizer or event photographer would simply put a link to a page containing the photos, but since nobody ever specifically told the participants "your photos will be sorted by bib number" it's not infringement.

"utilizing an electronic device to create a field in the selected digital photograph and associate visual advertiser indicia within the field". Don't put advertiser indicia (indicators) in the photo file and you wouldn't be infringing.

"utilizing an electronic device to create a field in a corner or margin of the selected digital photograph and associate visual advertiser indicia,including an advertiser name or logo, within the field" - Again, don't put advertiser information in the photo and you won't be infringing.


I'll add that the sort of crap in these patents, and the patent trolling being done by Mr. Wolf, just really ticks me off because it cheapens the accomplishments of engineers and inventors who have worked hard at legitimate inventions.




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banquetbear
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Wellington, New Zealand
Aug 26, 2014 15:07 |  #22

Gary_Evans wrote in post #17116302external link
Admittedly I'm not in the US but 100% of photographers I know who use bib recognition software simply ignore Peter Wolf and his patent

...if those photographers aren't based in the US then they have every right to ignore him. But if they are in the United States, and if they have been contacted by him, most either end up paying or changing their business model.

Here is a message from Smugmug, alerting photographers that they may be liable for licence fees:

http://help.smugmug.co​m ...get-started-with-selling-external link

Check out any of the major US based marathon photo sites and they are all paying a licence.

My point is a simple one. This whole thing sounds absolutely ridiculous. And it is. But it is also very real, and for event photographers in the United States, not something that can be ignored. Most that tried to fight gave up at the first hurdle. Some very very big companies are paying this licence fee. I doubt Capstone are going to have the resources to fight this and like others before it will either succumb to paying the fee, change their business model or go out of business. The best way for event photographers in the US to change this is to give them your support.


www.bigmark.co.nzexternal link

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groundloop
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Aug 26, 2014 19:56 |  #23

banquetbear wrote in post #17119251external link
..... The best way for event photographers in the US to change this is to give them your support.

Here's the website that's collecting donations to fight this:

http://www.endpatentab​use.com/external link




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Dan ­ Marchant
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Where I'm from is unimportant, it's where I'm going that counts.
Aug 27, 2014 05:40 |  #24

Has anyone actually found a case of prior art that could be used to overturn the patent?


Dan Marchant
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groundloop
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Aug 27, 2014 06:41 |  #25

Dan Marchant wrote in post #17120345external link
Has anyone actually found a case of prior art that could be used to overturn the patent?

According to the patents the filing date for the earliest one was 2000, surely event photographers were selling photos online before that weren't they?

Also, the other two patents (which say essentially the same thing) were filed in 2005 and 2010.... seems like he's thinking ahead to always having a source of income.




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Dan ­ Marchant
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Aug 27, 2014 12:47 |  #26

At least one of the patents was for an automated way to search for an image in an online database by bib number. Now unless someone can show that they had such a system prior to that then he will win his case.


Dan Marchant
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Luckless
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Aug 27, 2014 13:54 |  #27

Dan Marchant wrote in post #17120959external link
At least one of the patents was for an automated way to search for an image in an online database by bib number. Now unless someone can show that they had such a system prior to that then he will win his case.

The sounds an awful lot like a rather basic database call... Something that has existed in similar form to what we still use today since the mid 70s.


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Dan ­ Marchant
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Where I'm from is unimportant, it's where I'm going that counts.
Aug 27, 2014 23:22 |  #28

Luckless wrote in post #17121068external link
The sounds an awful lot like a rather basic database call... Something that has existed in similar form to what we still use today since the mid 70s.

This is a patent case, similar/sounds like isn't good enough. We would need to be able to prove that someone was doing the same process prior to the patent holder filling. Searching a database isn't enough to get the patent thrown out. Someone needs to have been doing the same process, including clients being able to do online searching by bib number. As the internet didn't exist in the 70s I don't think you will be able to show prior art.


Dan Marchant
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Gear Canon 5DIII + Fuji X-T2 + lenses + a plastic widget I found in the camera box.

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groundloop
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Aug 28, 2014 09:50 |  #29

Dan Marchant wrote in post #17121990external link
.... As the internet didn't exist in the 70s I don't think you will be able to show prior art.

But it existed in 1999 when the first of those three patents was filed.

ALSO, you don't necessarily need to have a patent ruled invalid to win an infringement case. In general, If ANY condition made in the patent claims isn't met then you're not infringing. The Claims are at the end of the patent, and are all that really matter.




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Photo509
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Thousand Oaks
Sep 29, 2014 22:15 as a reply to groundloop's post |  #30

Forum contributors, PLEASE read the patents in question and try to understand some of the legal and technical details before judging the validity or anything else associated with the patents. Wrong information is misleading and confusing. Mr. Skelps is fueling misinformation on these forums and websites he has published.

The invention occurred and was filed with the Patent Office in 1999. No one has ever found any prior art before that date – including the USPTO. Unfortunately the patents didn’t issue until 2006 and by that time many event photography businesses used the invention including Capstone. A patent owner can’t really do much until the patent issues. So, for six long years I sat there and saw my ideas being used and couldn’t do a thing.

Once the patent issued we contacted some event photography companies and several, including the largest in the industry, MarathonFoto, licensed with us immediately. Some refused to license and we filed our first law suit against 8 infringers, including Brightroom. Within a short time they all settled and/or licensed with us. There were a few more lawsuits and the end was the same – they settled and/or licensed.

I contacted Michael Skelps at Capstone in 2008 and we had a cordial phone conversation. I personally followed it up with a polite email explaining the situation. He didn’t respond! We contacted him again in 2011, he didn’t respond. We filed a claim against Capstone in 2013 and he had to respond through attorneys. That is a VERY expensive way to communicate.

Recently I personally contacted him again by phone and email but Michael Skelps doesn’t respond. Michael seems to be fixated in fighting until the bitter end. It makes absolutely no sense, especially from a business point of view.

I believe Mr. Skelps has a really bad case of pride or stubbornness and he may very well go out of business and bankrupt before conceding that he could be wrong or resolve our differences.

I don’t wish anyone to go out of business or bankrupt but Mr. Skelps will NOT communicate. What can you do if someone doesn’t want to talk or communicate accept through his lawyers? The noose is tightening more and more around his business and personal finances. Can anyone talk some sense into Michael? I really hate to see what he is doing to himself.

His recent filing of a Motion For a Judgment on The Pleadings is a feudal and VERY expensive way to invalidate the patents. We have filed a response and his motion will be denied. PLEASE, someone talk some sense to Michael and tell him he doesn't have to go down this road. Doesn't he realize that even if the patents were invalidated he would still be stuck with the legal fees. Are bragging rights that valuable? I don't think so. Michael, call any time if you want to talk: (805) 492-0562

On a more positive note we are making some headway in developing really slick automated cameras. Here are some preliminary specificationsexternal link.

We recently tried out the new system at a bicycling eventexternal link and captured every biker climbing a hill in the morning and flying down the hill at nearly 40 mph in the afternoon. No easy feat with cameras and fill flash.

Peter Wolf


Peter Wolf
www.photocrazy.comexternal link
www.brandedsportpictur​es.comexternal link

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Article: patent troll sues photographer for infringement on patent for workflow
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