"Our patent application clearly outlines that the
“look and feel” of a YogaGlo online streaming class
is comprised of the following elements that all must be present in conjunction with one another: position of
camera, position of the teacher, position of the mats relative to the camera and the teacher, an open corridor down
the middle, the teacher must be facing the camera,
the students must be facing the teacher, etc. We are
not seeking to patent a camera angle. We are not
seeking to patent the placement of a teacher in a
room (online, offline, in your private studio, in
your public studio). We are seeking to patent this
one very particular combination of elements for a single online class."
So the next innovation will be an open corridor on an oblique line from a back corner to the instructor. And then another with an open corridor from the back middle to the instructor at a front corner.
Oh, the innovations to come! I feel like I'm living in the future!
I wrote a comment on the op site.  Apparently Disqus holds posts like this for moderation, though. Maybe because of the link.
It's good news, I guess. The more constituencies that are threatened by patent abuse, the more likely the system will be reformed. Since we as computer programmers are the top targets for this scam of a patent system, any allies we get should encourage us.
And yoga practitioners are more influential in Congress than computer programmers. Heck, illegal aliens and terrorists are more popular with Congress than we are.
 This one:
Good News, everyone.
First the bad news, though. Even if this patent is invalid, it will cost around a million dollars to fight a lawsuit against it. If YogaGlo sues you, your best bet is to pay whatever they ask, unless you have a million dollars laying around that you don't need. Validity or invalidity doesn't matter.
The good news is that there's a bill before Congress that can make things better. Today, unjustly accused patent infringers have no way to get their legal fees paid by their accusers even when they win. You just lose your million dollars in fees. If Congressman Goodlatte's "Innovation Act" (H.R. 3309) becomes law, the accusers will have to pay your fees if you win. That will put an end to most lawsuits based on invalid and frivolous patents.
The best thing of all is that you can do something about it! The Innovation Act has passed the House of Representatives and President Obama has been asking for reform legislation, but the fate of the bill in the Senate is in question. Senator Leahy, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, has introduced the Patent Transparency And Improvements Act (S. 1720) which has some provisions from the Innovations Act. Unfortunately, the Leahy bill does not include the loser-pays provision that would protect small business people and yoga teachers.
Call Senator Leahy's office and ask him to put a loser-pays provision in S. 1720 like the one in Congressman Goodatte's H.R. 3309. Then call your two home state senators and ask them to support a loser pays provision in S.1720. If you're a Vermonter, Leahy is your senator, so mention that you're calling from his home state. Constituent calls really matter. You will reach a smart, professional aide in your senator's office who will take down your message and your senator will hear about it. It only takes a couple minutes.
No problem. I am as well. I believe you need to include prior art with the re-examination request. I will be submitting yoga videos, at least from the 90s, such as (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUgtMaAZzW0) that certainly raise questions whether the patent is valid or not.
What about any kind of exercise video that's filmed as if someone is virtually in the class? I can't believe this kind of thing can be patentable AT ALL, but the next worst thing is substituting [Yoga] for [X] a hundred times and also patenting those. Frivolous, bullshit patents.
This clearly shows Yogaglo and the people there did not gain anything by practicing the Yoga they are preaching. They don't have any idea of what Yoga stands for. If Patanjali had patented his Yoga sutras , we may not even be aware about this great practice.
I think that is what has my righteous indignation stoked much higher than the average absurd patent trolling news. I just can't fathom how someone who is supposedly "business minded" in this field could think it was a good idea to patent this, much less to start sending C&Ds to non-profits.
I don't know Derik, however I imagine he must have found value in yoga to start a business in it - to at least see the potential and value it has for others - and as a viable way to make money. Nothing wrong with that. Though patenting something is fear-driven (or it's for protective purposes, though they sent out cease & desist orders already AFAIK), or it's purposely repressive in forcing someone else to not be able to express themselves in a certain way. If it's fear-driven, I don't blame him - our capitalistic system is designed so that if you fail at earning enough money to pay yourself, then you can't survive - and that's a lot of pressure and reason for fear. If it's to purposely repress people from expressing themselves in a certain way - which I highly doubt it is - then I would have a problem with that.
Who would you rather buy shoes from: someone who obsesses over making great shoes, or someone who obsesses over making money by any means possible, and has decided that shoes are the optimal means to that end?
At best, pure business type are a necessary evil, doing the dirty work that enables people to make a living by offering genuine value. But at worst, they are soulless parasites leeching out every ounce of passion and creativity for a cold, hard buck.
Yoga at its epitome is a lifestyle, a way of life - a philosophy of how to live. Business politics and yoga a lot of the time don't mix - that's the simple answer. Lots of business-minded people run businesses ... I'd imagine most do or are in charge of them. There can be issues though when heart or compassion isn't included in it. Example: Do you make money by hurting people or allowing people to get hurt? Is that a good business to be in or a bad one? What kind of people do you think would make money in that type of business? People with heart and empathy or more on the business-minded-lacking-empathy side?
YogaGlo's own website predates its original filing on Aug. 27, 2010
I was filmed in a Yoga class in 2007 using this technique. I don't have access to the video and am no longer in contact with the instructor, but I remember it happening and then saw the footage with my own eyes. I hope she reads this article and sends in the video as prior art!
I'm glad to see this. It's hard to explain to non-techies just how pathetic the patent system has become with regards to Apple v. Samsung and WiFi patent trolls, but everyone can see how absurd this patent is.
The position of a camera and people in a room is patentable now! What next. Where does this obscene urge come from to file absurd, obnoxious, predatory patents that do absolutely nothing except stifle innovation? Why can't businesses compete on their own merits and the value they provide the world? I wonder if they realize the harm they're causing--not to mention what they're doing completely violates yogic principles. They should retract the patent and issue an apology to the entire Yoga community.
When will enough be enough and our patent system finally reformed to prevent this frivolous, grotesque, and utterly wasteful behavior?
I'm no patent expert, so why did we go from a "first to use" system to a "first to file" system?
It seems that if we were still the former, this wouldn't be an issue, correct?
There were obviously people before YogaGlo using this camera angle, otherwise they wouldn't have gotten the cease and desist. Now businesses (focusing on legal instead of product, which is one of many big misses with our current patent system) can and often must file patents to ensure someone doesn't come in after them and patent something they've been using for years.
Anything public can be used to invalidate a patent.
The first to file only refers to two inventors patenting the same non public (or public in the span of a year) invention. Anything public for more than a year cannot be patented because there's prior art (obviously).
So if you want to ensure someone don't sue you for a patent, you just have to publish everything you've been using.
Of course this is a lie, because there's always a patent that you can be sued, because even if you can invalidate said patent (even with another patent), you will still have to pay a lot of money.
"First to file" refers to a different technical timing issue.
It has always been the case that public use or description of an idea was supposed to make it impossible to get a patent.
That's a dead letter today. The patent office will eventually approve just about anything if you're persistent enough and use a thesaurus to make your claims seem a little different.
For instance, an East Texas jury just awarded a $2 million dollar verdict against NewEgg for using public key encryption in SSL. The patent was applied for in 1989. Whit Diffie, of course, invented and published public key encryption in 1976 and testified at the trial. The judge told the jury that the Patent Office was entitled to the presumption of validity over Mr. Diffie.
I guess it was chosen to "streamline" the process of assigning a patent to someone (first come, first served). Unfortunately that doesn't necessarily mean it's a better process, because now, as expected, the trolls (or corporations with a lot of money for filing dumb patents) will be the ones to take advantage the most from it.
Unless the judges presiding over the inevitable lawsuits are complete fools, I don't see this patent ever holding up. The position of a camera inside a room is neither an invention nor patentable, and attaching a new word to an old (and pervasive) methodology does not magically constitute novelty -- in this case, appending "yoga" to "streaming video and audio over the internet."
And somehow there are still people who believe patents protect the little inventor from being robbed blind by big businesses.
The worst thing that can happen to an innovator is not that somebody copies your precious thing, is that they (trolls or not) sue you first, that you can't even compete. Even if the patent is bogus and you hope to theoretically win the legal battle you'll go broke from even trying.
When I got into my first IP battle I was blown away by how a couple of people, who actually didn't even have a patent, could just threaten enough to ring up like $40K in bills. Luckily it ended before that, at a cost of only like $10K, but still. Just wow the system is crazy right now.
Also, America doesn't have a "loser pays" system, otherwise known as the English Rule. Both parties are responsible for their own costs whether they win or lose under the American Rule. This means that just the threat of a lawsuit is an automatic expense, and winning in court also means losing, just losing less severely. This is generally why parties are so keen to settle, even if they believe they could win in court so as to limit their losses.
It took a while for me to understand why the threat of a lawsuit is so terrifying in the States. It seemed absurd for both parties to pay even if one is clearly in the wrong. I still don't understand why people are defending this system or only changing it piecemeal for certain cases (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_lawsuit_against_publ...).
Here in Germany, losers pay and the cost for lawyers is calculated by the amount the argument is about. This way, you can't bankrupt someone by winning a minor argument in court using extremely expensive lawyers.
This is why software patents are such an evil. If you've been granted a software patent it's fairly easy to shake down someone that's allegedly infringing because it's cheaper to pay the amount demanded than it is to litigate. For this very reason, a tactic used by some patent trolls is to go after small companies that they know can afford the "license fee" but can't afford to fight back in court. Lodsys are well-known for this.
Some companies with deep pockets are now fighting back at patent trolls to make it as expensive for them to do business as possible, and possibly even invalidating the patent in question. Regular ol' software companies obviously can't afford this, as it comes with price tag in the millions.
The survey data cited in the post is from 2001. The post also says: "If you are looking for experienced patent attorneys at a reputable firm you should anticipate hourly rates to be somewhere between $275 to $400 per hour in areas outside major metropolitan areas and somewhere between $400 to $800+ per hour in major metropolitan areas."
FYI, patent litigators, who handle infringement claims and validity challenges, generally charge significantly more than those who do patent "prosecution" (that is, prepare and file patent applications and shepherd them through the USPTO examination process).
Unsure how reputable this source is, but suggests that discovery alone (i.e. getting all the pre-trial evidence / arguments in the open) can be upwards of several million dollars depending on the size of the lawsuit. Obviously its smaller for something like these Yoga classes - but if the process is 10-30k, and you're only bringing in 10k a month, it could easily put you in the red.
I wonder how feasible it is to represent yourself in this kind of case where you could walk into court with self gathered prior art. Is it only lawyer fees that you're paying or are their costs paid directly to the court also?
Is it possible to sue the patent office itself for crass incompetence?
Here's the claims, and they are mental:
1. A system for automatically producing a video representation of a yoga class configured so a remote viewer enjoys the experience of being in a real yoga class, the system comprising: a studio having a front area and a rear area; an instructor position located in the front area and facing the rear area; a line of sight corridor disposed between the rear area and the instructor; a plurality of students at student positions, facing the instructor position, distributed across the studio between the instructor position and the image capturing device wherein the student positions do not impinge upon the corridor; an image capturing device for capturing video located in the rear area disposed to provide a participatory view from a height of about three feet by capturing through the line of sight corridor, an unobstructed video of the instructor in the instructor position including images of the students disposed along the sides of the line of sight corridor; and sound capture equipment to capture at least audio of the instructions given by the instructor disposed in the instructor position to the students disposed in the student positions.
2. The system according to claim 1, further comprising remote control systems whereby the image capture device pans and zooms.
3. The system according to claim 1, further comprising means for recording the video.
4. The system according to claim 1, further comprising means for streaming the video via the Internet.
5. The system according to claim 1, further comprising means for adding music to the audio.
6. The system according to claim 1, wherein the instructor position includes an instructor's mat and each student position includes a student mat with each student mat disposed normal to the instructor's mat.
7. The system according to claim 1, wherein the corridor becomes wider near the image capture device.
8. A method for automatically producing a video representation of a yoga class configured so a remote viewer enjoys the experience of being in a real yoga class, comprising the steps of: providing a studio having a front area and a rear area; placing an instructor position at the front area of the studio, the instructor position disposed to face the rear area; locating an image capturing device for capturing video in the rear area at a height of about three feet to allow for a participatory view disposed to provide a participatory view from a height of about three feet by capturing an image of the instructor in the instructor position; laying out a line of sight corridor between the image capturing device and the instructor; distributing a plurality of student positions, facing the instructor position, across the studio between the instructor position and the image capturing device wherein the student positions are distributed so as not to impinge upon the corridor; capturing at least audio of the instructions given by the instructor disposed in the instructor position; and capturing a video of the instructor through the line of sight corridor, which video includes images of the students disposed along the sides of the line of sight corridor.
9. The method according to claim 8, further comprising a step of remotely controlling the image capture device.
10. The method according to claim 8, further comprising the step of recording the video.
11. The method according to claim 8, further comprising the step of streaming the video via the Internet.
12. The method according to claim 8, further comprising the step of adding music to the audio.
13. The method according to claim 8, further comprising a step of placing an instructor's mat in the instructor position and a student mat in each student position with each student mat disposed normal to the instructor's mat.
14. The method according to claim 8, further comprising a step of increasing the width of the corridor near the image capture device.
Exactly. Just as with legislators and judges, there is no incentive whatsoever for a patent examiner to exhibit competence. They get paid the same, win, lose or draw. When they screw up, it's always somebody else's problem.
I sometimes think that the people in the patent office decided to just pass the stupidest shit as deliberate sabotage in a noble attempt to destroy the system from the inside by making it all seem utterly ridiculous. And they decided that 30 years ago but unfortunately nobody was paying attention and now it just seems normal.
The claim says images must be captured "from a height of about three feet." Put your cameras at five feet or two feet and feel bad for these folks paying tens of thousands of dollars to own "about three feet."
This would be a situation where you have to look at the body text, not just the claims, because they could under certain circumstances file an amended claim set, so long as the new claims are anticipated by the body text.
Note: I'm not a patent lawyer, but have a handful of patents and have helped my employer with addressing patent related issues.
That's a great point. If a broader claim is both supported by the specification and they could get it past the prior art, they could try for broader reach in a continuation patent application. To do so, though, they'd have to file the continuation before this patent issued. Checking USPTO records, it appears they did not.
Unfortunately, you are wrong. There is a continuation pending - you can look it up at http://portal.uspto.gov/pair/PublicPair under application number 13/220,621. The claims in this application appear to be broader than those that were issued. They can also file any number of continuations they want off of this pending application.
Not to distract too much from how terrible the subject matter of the patent is, but can someone explain why they decided to put the "system for" claims separate from the "method for" claims? There is some small fee associated to each claim, so why aren't each of these claims written as "a system or method for ..."
Subjunctives are considered to be unclear in patent claims. Both claims can be lost by finding a citation that only has the system, or only the method.
The system here is basically a normal video presence system. But the claims specify the camera is at ~3 feet (whilst a normal video presence system will have the camera at average eye-level). That's the only part that might be hard to find a good citation against [in the allowed time] IMO.
The yoga parts are all non-technical elements so they add nothing.
Given the system is all well-known tech the method is all you've got.
That said the claims have a ring about them of not having been done by a highly skilled patent attorney.
There's only a fee once the number of claims exceeds a certain number. Having duplicate "means" and "method" patents is pretty common. A general benefit of having multiple related claims is that some can stand even if others are knocked down.
But let's not bash Yogaglo; it could be a defensive patent for all we know. In a land where ridiculous patent grants are the norm, businesses have an incentive to file patents to protect themselves from patent trolls.
What deserves our ire is the patent system.
Edit: Thanks for the correction pizza234. The article was not accessible (server HNed I guess). And I assumed that the patent was granted recently enough that benefit of doubt can be given to Yogaglo.
> On September 23rd, Yoga International broke the news that they (among others) had received a cease-and-desist letter from another website which also offers yoga videos for streaming (soon revealed to be YogaGlo)
You don't need a patent to be defensive. You only need publication. You can get that publication with an A document (published but not examined/granted) if you wish, there are cheaper ways; write it down and have it notarised.
Is my understanding mistaken that the new patent laws in the US don't treat unpublished findings as prior art, as part of first to file, so a notarized undisclosed design doesn't count as a public application or publication of the invention?
I think everyone here should post a comment on their announcement telling them how absurd this is. What it means for our nation as a whole, not just yoga videos. Keep the comments clean though, no reason to go all road rage on them.
I posted this comment, it will never make it through moderation, but someone will have to read it.
This patent is absurd and has disastrous potential for our already broken patent system for all industries, not just instructional fitness. This just goes to show you how delicate your company is that you feel you need to patent the camera angle that you use when filming a live event. How about stop wasting money and time on frivolous patents and start working on making your product the best in the industry. You will make more money and ultimately have a happier customer base than going around bullying your competitors. GG.
If you're a subscriber, as I was, you can go into your account settings and "Suspend Indefinitely" your account from being charged. There is also a comments section. I'm betting they'll pay a lot more attention to those comments than to ones on a blog post or Facebook, so suspend your accounts if you have them, everybody!
> the camera used to record online yoga classes must "provide a participatory view [which means ‘a view observed by a participant in the rear of the class,’ according to YogaGlo] from a height of about three feet."
Well there ya go, just make a video from the second row instead of the back row!
Isn't there technically a requirement that patentable ideas must be "non obvious" increments on prior art? This is a concept that is obviously subjective but seems to be completely ignored by the patent issuers.