Amazon Patents “Photos Against a White Background”

amazon-dot-com-headerYou knew that the US copyright system was broke. You knew that the US trademark system was broken. Today, here’s proof that the US patent system is also broken.

Online retailer Amazon has been granted a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office for the company’s signature photos of products against a white background. Yes, you can patent that.

While photos against a white background sounds like a patent that abuses the system and maliciously attacks other companies that also take photos against a white background, it’s a lot more intense than a camera on one end, a white background at the other and a product in the middle.

amazon-photo-patentThe patent covers specific light locations, positioning of every object (including lights, background, camera and the photo’s subject), the film speed, the shutter speed and camera’s aperture size (f-stop). Given that the patent is so specific with how Amazon handles their product photography process, it’s not really the patenting of photos against a white background but patenting how Amazon takes their photos against a white background.

The only problem is that because of how specific the patent is, it will be almost impossible for Amazon to enforce it. A similar effect can be achieved with a different film speed or different product positioning or just good old-fashioned Photoshop work. While it seems like you should get all uppity about this patent, I don’t think there’s going to be much teeth to it. Then again, I didn’t do very well in the photography portion of my high school photography course. My theory mark kept me in the 80s there.

Sources: India Times, CNET

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About Steve Murray

Steve is the founder and editor of The Lowdown Blog and et geekera. On The Lowdown Blog, he often writes about motorsports, hockey, politics and pop culture. Over on et geekera, Steve writes about geek interests and lifestyle. Steve is on Twitter at @TheSteveMurray.

Posted on May 26, 2014, in Tech and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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