Amazon patents taking pictures of stuff on a white background



On the upside, they provide a nice lighting diagram for DIY photographers.


Did they also issue Amazon a patent on being a dick? Seems like they have that down cold.


They can sue me for infringing on their patent. Then they can sue that other person over there. And then the one six doors down, and the one across the street, and…


Are they trying to prove a point about the patent system or are they really going to chase down every product photographer out there who has been doing this for years?


Amazon may not, but someday they may sell the patent, and that lucky corporate person may!


They’re making it clear the Patent Office isn’t about what it’s supposed to be about. Just another sign of the end times, people…

The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.

Now it’s obvious to even an idiot that the Patent system is just another weapon corporations are wielding against humanity.


The real money is in a patent on regrettable selfies.


There’s all kinds of unnecessary specificity in the patent itself–indicating particular F-stops, and even the order in which to turn on the studio lighting for example. So it’s unlikely that a person would ever actually infringe on this patent even if they were setting out to replicate pretty much exactly the effect that this studio set up is intended to capture.

Which again raises the question: if it doesn’t exclude anyone else from doing basically the same thing, and it’s presumably unenforceable, what the hell is the point of filing it?

I’m guessing the answer has to do with aggressive management directives that all possible patentable methods be patented defensively so that they can’t be taken away from them by other patent-happy clowns.

The modern patent regime is a game theory thought experiment broken through into nasty reality. Kind of like nuclear proliferation in the cold war era.


Amazon will lose a lot of customers if they keep on this type of bent. Too many people who know that to restrict things as basic as this through a patent is to offend a very large number of influencers in society. Amazon’s hubris seems to have grown significantly.

Well, colour me surprised…


The subject appears to be standing on a platforce. Surely, that’s patentable.

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Having this patent is kind of like having a concealed basement room with a dentist’s chair and lots of power tools hanging from a clown mural-- there might be an innocent explanation but let’s face it, no there isn’t.

A patent this puny isn’t going to be any use against Apple or Google or anyone else who can afford to go to court. But it might be very useful against, oh I dunno, a $200-a-week vendor you needed to trample on for some reason.


Hmmm … power tools, clown mural, dentist chair …

Quick, someone do a patent search! I think we have a new idea!


Am I going to have to disclose my prior art on this?

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I don’t think that Amazon has any intention on actually using this against anyone. They know if they tried to sue, they would lose. However, owning a patent on it also prevents someone else from coming in and trying to sue them over the same thing.

Amazon probably won’t be getting into the patent trolling game, and are probably protecting themselves against getting "one click checkout"ed again.


That seems to be how patents work, though. It doesn’t mean they’re necessary for infringement. Notice for instance the particular f-stop is written as part of a claim where it is added on top of a more general claim that doesn’t mention it.

I gather the idea is that you cover as much as possible but still give every particular, both since you need to show how it can be done in practice and just in case more general claims don’t hold up. That’s why they never say much about what the patent is about, just what it could be about.

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USPO? They are guys who will let you patent Math(s) aren’t they?


A rather rude patent attorney has gone through the diyphotography comments, thoroughly making the point that this is an extremely narrow patent that doesn’t really prevent any of the broad techniques covered in the patent…so what was the point of getting the patent? It seems like one of those by-lawyers-for-lawyers games that makes America and the rest of the world just slightly shittier than it used to be, because why not make some money making America worse, but someone in the chain must have had a reason for doing it; it wasn’t an algorithm-generated patent with no human hands. So what was it?

Is there some “guide to successful Amazon marketing” book they’re trying to go after?


Saying the patent is on “taking pictures of stuff on a white background” is about the same as tesla sells its cars because it has four wheels. The patent, which is limited completely by the claims, is about something much much narrower than simply taking a photo from a white background. Claim 1 requires a certain iso, multiple cameras, light ratio between the cameras, specific fstop, and a platform at a certain height. I’ve read multiple people saying the patent claims a commonly known and widely used technique. I’ve seen several people asked to show an example that is covered by the claims. I’ve seen nobody provide such an example.

The PTO rejected the patent on the first office action. Minimal, literally the smallest amount of effort, shows that in fact there was some due diligence. The file history is on line - the depth of this diligence is easy to check. Yet most of the posters and Cory (disappointingly) are willing to jump to the worst possible conclusions about the people at the USPTO and Amazon without apparently knowing anything about the actual patent and its history. Which would be understandable if that information were not readily available on the Internet - thus it is just depressing.

If this really is a “common studio technique” then the patent will be easily proven worthless. The system does in fact work very well and exactly like that. I suspect that instead this is an extremely narrow set of claims that result in a likely novel but not infringed patent and that Cory and others here are unintentionally exaggerating its scope and legitimacy out of, pardon me if it seems harsh but I believe it to be the right word, ignorance.