Lawsuit alleges Apple lifted idea for iChat video backdrops

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Comments

  • Reply 61 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post


    I don't believe that they can patent the entire idea if keying off of a static background. Especially when no one holds a patent on the basic idea of chroma key. They can patent their particular software or technique for achieving this. But they cannot hold a patent and say no one can develop their own code for achieving the same effect.



    The patent doesn't work that way.



    You always start with the broadest claim. In this case, the broadest claim (backdrop) is not possible, so you scale back to the next broadest claim (backdrop over static background).



    And the method doesn't have to be the exact coding - the description just needs to be enough that someone else can do it accordingly.



    Look at all the Apple patent filings. They are no better or worse than this one (or the others which is used to sue Apple). Everyone plays the same game.



    More importantly, whichever patent we talk about (from Apple, IBM, MS or anyone), it would be obvious to anyone in the field 10 years from now. I have to repeat this point again and again - you have to rewind your mind back to when the patent was filed. The patent office (and court) don't look at present days. They look at whether it is a valid patent WHEN IT WAS FILED.
  • Reply 62 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macpractice View Post


    This one could actually get quite interesting. Patent 5,764,306 was expired for a little over a year based on a failure to pay maintenance fees. The patent has been reinstated, but the law provides for 'intervening rights' when an alleged infringer takes action based on the expiration of the patent.



    The timing seems highly relevant - the patent was apparently expired between June 9, 2006 and June 13, 2007. Did Apple rely on the expiration during this time period as it developed the new iChat for this fall's Leopard release? If so, 35 U.S.C. s.41(c)(2) might apply and might provide a basis for Apple to continue using the technology.



    Can't say I'm surprised that such a crucial point was left out of the lawsuit. As long as Apple keeps good documentation about their development, which I would guess they do, they should have no trouble shooting this down.



    Obviously, StarFX's technology was making them a boatload of money since they failed to renew their patent. Then again, it would be easy to make a boatload of money by suing someone for patent infringement, if the patent wasn't expired. Looks like StarFX is about to learn a valuable, be it painful, lesson.



    If anyone needs to be sued for blatantly lifting ideas from others, just look at Windows.
  • Reply 63 of 81
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Quote:

    You always start with the broadest claim. In this case, the broadest claim (backdrop) is not possible, so you scale back to the next broadest claim (backdrop over static background).



    Of course their is a lot of gray area in this as the reason it ends up going to court. But I haven't seen a patent upheld for any entire vague concept where one company gets to dominate one product. Someone invented everything first. That person or company is able to patent their way of doing it but they cannot monopolize an entire industry by preventing others from developing a competing product that accomplishes the same task.



    Goodyear could not patent the entire concept of the rubber tire, Sony could not patent the concept of the personal audio cassette player, Adobe could not patent the entire concept of the digital image editor.



    Quote:

    Look at all the Apple patent filings. They are no better or worse than this one (or the others which is used to sue Apple). Everyone plays the same game.



    Apple's patents are probably as much defensive as offensive. Apple did not patent the iPod user interface and was later sued by Creative.



    Google, Apple lawsuit you see pages of suits against Apple. I don't see Apple bring many suits against other companies. Except where there is an extreme breach such as Real hacking into Fairplay.
  • Reply 64 of 81
    smeesmee Posts: 195member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by purpleshorts View Post


    You'd think the people would have had enough of silly lawsuits

    I look around me and I see it isn't so

    Some people want to fill the world with silly lawsuits

    And what's wrong with that?

    I need to know

    'cause here I go again...



    I will sue...

    I will sue...



    I see my idea command a hefty fee, they got it free...

    Ah, they stole it all, and it belongs to me... the ligatee



    Patents don't come in a minute

    But if they do you'll make a haul

    Wait til the moment they begin it

    And then you sue them,

    Oh yes you sue them,

    It isn't silly at all...



    (apologies to Sir Paul McCartney)



    Omigosh, thats so funny! Did you write that?

    Your good.
  • Reply 65 of 81
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post


    Okay, I won't go so far as to say that all corporations steal, but Apple has been known to "borrow" a few ideas. Remember Konfabulator? Apple lifted that right up and dropped it in Panther. And they got away with it. No lawsuit, no nothing.



    -Clive



    Remember Desk Accessories? Konfabulator was shamelessly plugged as the way to get these back since Apple had not delivered them in OS X. Did Apple sue over that. No. Now that we have suitable muddied that case do you really still want to try to beat that broken drum?
  • Reply 66 of 81
    johnqhjohnqh Posts: 242member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post


    Of course their is a lot of gray area in this as the reason it ends up going to court. But I haven't seen a patent upheld for any entire vague concept where one company gets to dominate one product. Someone invented everything first. That person or company is able to patent their way of doing it but they cannot monopolize an entire industry by preventing others from developing a competing product that accomplishes the same task.



    Goodyear could not patent the entire concept of the rubber tire, Sony could not patent the concept of the personal audio cassette player, Adobe could not patent the entire concept of the digital image editor.







    Apple's patents are probably as much defensive as offensive. Apple did not patent the iPod user interface and was later sued by Creative.



    Google, Apple lawsuit you see pages of suits against Apple. I don't see Apple bring many suits against other companies. Except where there is an extreme breach such as Real hacking into Fairplay.



    Goodyear invented rubber tire? Where did you get that? Good year was founded in 1898. The rubber tire patent was obtained by Robert Thomson in 1846.



    Sony didn't patent Walkman because someone else did it first. The inventor did sue Sony (and settled for a "few million euro").



    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/06...n_patent_case/



    You cannot patent a software concept. You can patent the particular ways to do the eidting. Do a search on uspto.gov and see how many patents Adobe has (443). Keep in mind, Adobe is a software company so most (if not all) of them are software patents.



    Adobe did patent the timeline view (5999173). If one day, they decided to sue the maker of all the other video editing software, don't be surprised. Actually, I have personally heard this concern from someone working at one of Adobe's competitors.



    Apple did file patent app for the iPod interface. Creative filed a few months earlier, and Creative was the inventor of organizing music by tag information anyway, and won a nice 100MM settlement.



    Do you really think Apple is just being nice with its patent holdings? Well, when a big fish send a letter to a small fish "stop using my patent", what do you think happens? There is a reason why you only see big companies get sued. The small fish will simply comply without making any noise. Use a little common sense please.
  • Reply 67 of 81
    gustavgustav Posts: 826member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by johnqh View Post


    People need to start reading those patents before talking.



    It does not use blue screen/green screen. It is about recognizing a static background.



    The only difference between blue/green screen, is that Apple is doing it on a pixel by pixel basis and comparing it with the pre-sampled background rather than green (or blue). The method is exactly the same as digital blue/green screen.



    Here's how Apple does it:

    go to pixel 1:1

    if pixel = sampled background pixel then

    substitue with video backdrop pixel

    else

    leave pixel

    go to pixel 1:2

    ...



    Weather maps check to see if the pixel is green or blue, rather than the sampled backdrop pixel. This is why it screws up when you move the camera, or if you are wearing something that is the same colour as the background.



    This case has no merit whatsoever.
  • Reply 68 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macpractice View Post


    This one could actually get quite interesting. Patent 5,764,306 was expired for a little over a year based on a failure to pay maintenance fees. The patent has been reinstated, but the law provides for 'intervening rights' when an alleged infringer takes action based on the expiration of the patent.



    Very interesting. If this doesn't work, Apple can have Disney reduce U.S. patent terms to ten years.
  • Reply 69 of 81
    nceencee Posts: 857member
    Ok, so if Apple to do this willingly - then they should pay up!



    NOW if the case gets thrown out, and or in a trial, they win, then it HAS to be, that the other party HAS to pay ALL legal fees, and money for time wasted i.e. judges / courts, jury, everyone. Hell let's make it so that whatever a person makes per hour in their job, is what they get paid for being on the jury, and the losers pay all of these fees.



    You can believe that if a case heads to a jury trial, it will be settled out of court more often, if it's in a person / companies benefit.



    This should help to keep the number of lawsuits down to a minimum.



    Every case goes to trial, and loose pay up ? win and smile all the way to the bank



    At least this way folks would think twice about suing, and lawyers, would think (well sort of think) twice about taking on a case.



    Skip
  • Reply 70 of 81
    If you look up the Trinity globecaster by Play (dubbed the first internet TV station in a box) you will see it had active chroma keying in 1998 or so. The original Trinity box had virtual sets as early as 1994-5. The globecaster had the same capabilities plus the ability to send video/audio streams across the internet. You essentially could have multiple net-casting studios pushing video to consumers PCs. You could make it two-way (or more) with extra boxes. That seems enough like chat to make it prior art.



    This device was made during the first internet boom/bust. It was limited only because bandwith concerns and routing technology was out of its hands and there really wasn't DSL penetration across the US.



    The company spun off from Newtek (the Video Toaster guys) and made on of the tiniest NTSC barcode generators around.



    There also were a couple of "push" internet technology startups hanging around the edges of Siggraph and NAB during that time. A couple allowed you to push voice/video across the internet as long as you loaded the player on your PC although I only remember that the globecaster had the ability to create/load virtual sets and actively composite live speakers with the sets.
  • Reply 71 of 81
    This process was a patent issued to Quantel Limited of the U.K. in 1992 called "Image keying generator for video special effects." It replaced the need for blue screen chroma key backgrounds by using a snapshot of an existing piece of video that to subtract the subsequent differences within the scene and artificially creating a key mask. It worked pretty well if the images weren't noisy and was used extensively for special effects such as vehicle and people removal on street scenes or cleanly inserting foreground objects into existing video without the need for chroma key setups.



    In a nutshell, this is called prior art.
  • Reply 72 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wally View Post


    Or most Sci-Fi channel shows....



    A tv show or weather broadcast is not a chat software.. even apple faithfull cannot be this dense.
  • Reply 73 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 1337_5L4Xx0R View Post


    Well, Apple did lift it. The technologies been around for... how long?



    I'm all for suing Apple if it is justified. I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest that in this case, it's not.



    Technologically, there's no difference between blue screens and multicolour screens. They work the same way.



    I can't patent a Yellow Screen. Or can I ?!!?!11



    Edit: Whoops, didn't RTFA. It sounds like this company has patented compositing! Holy expletive! They own 3D graphics, compositing apps and real-time video editing! GTFO.



    It's justified because the company has a patent on the process. You better hope the limb you are going out on is strong enough to hold your weight. As to whether you can patent a yellow screen.. you can patent anything the patent office will grant. Go ahead.. patent the yellow screen, the patent office will either accept or reject your patent. What should the company do?... say to themselves.. gee, we have this patent but cause a few people other there think we shouldn't have this patent, lets not defend it cause those apple fanatics, they will pay our shareholders when we not making any money.. yeah, this company is so concerned about apple fanatics opinions that they will willfully not defend a patent they have. If i was apple, i'd buy the company or try to invalidate the patent.
  • Reply 74 of 81
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wnurse View Post


    A tv show or weather broadcast is not a chat software.. even apple faithfull cannot be this dense.



    Yes and no. It's not as if the principle of an effect is suddenly different because it's used in a different setting.
  • Reply 75 of 81
    johnqhjohnqh Posts: 242member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Divebus View Post


    This process was a patent issued to Quantel Limited of the U.K. in 1992 called "Image keying generator for video special effects." It replaced the need for blue screen chroma key backgrounds by using a snapshot of an existing piece of video that to subtract the subsequent differences within the scene and artificially creating a key mask. It worked pretty well if the images weren't noisy and was used extensively for special effects such as vehicle and people removal on street scenes or cleanly inserting foreground objects into existing video without the need for chroma key setups.



    In a nutshell, this is called prior art.



    That patent filing is the worse I have ever read - obsolute legalise which is impossible to understand. However, it does sound like a prior art - although I think the filing is about doing it the analog way, without digital processing.



    However, recent supreme court ruling has said that just doing something in digital is not enough for the "novelty" requirement.



    So, I am switching my position - this lawsuit will fail.
  • Reply 76 of 81
    wnursewnurse Posts: 427member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    Yes and no. It's not as if the principle of an effect is suddenly different because it's used in a different setting.



    The effect is possibly achieved differently. They are not patenting the effect, merely the technique of achieving the effect. That's why a comparison between a weather report and chat software is useless. Example, Vonage lost a case to verizon for patents relating to VOIP. Verizon did not claim they invented VOIP (of course they didn't) but vonage method of VOIP was infringing on Verizon patents. I'm not a lawyer (i'll be the first to admit that) but it seems everyday, mac fans are proclaiming themselves to be lawyers. Eveyone seems to know if a patent is valid, it's almost like everyone thinks idiots work at the patent office.. that the people at the patent office do not have law degrees. The patent is valid because the patent office granted it!!!.. the only way for apple to beat this is to show they are not violating the patent and if they are, perhaps to persuade the patent office that they shouldn't have granted the patent in the first place.. i find it hilarious that people (example johnjh) can read a patent and claim that the suit will fail... that's funny. The suit will pass BECAUSE THE PATENT WAS GRANTED.. didn't mean to shout.. just emphasizing.. just because the patent is a bunch of legalese or you do not know why the patent is granted is irrelevant to the case. Regardless of whether apple agrees with the patent or not does not grant them the right to violate it!!!. I know of no court that would allow a company to willfully violate a patent because



    1. It's a bunch of legalese so the company itself determine they can violate the patent (without asking anyone)

    3. The company disagrees with the patent and well, cause the C.E.O is popular, means they should be allowed to violate the patent (after all, this is a popularity contest).

    4. It's a small company that owns the patent and they probably want money.. who cares about the validity of the patent.. it's ok to violate cause it's a small company that owns the patent.. besides, small greedy company with people who probably worked 16 hrs a day in some garage.. how dare they try to make money from their sweat and blood.. Apple is almost as big as Microsoft (bigger than IBM).. if Microsoft can bully companies, then damnit, apple has earned the right to detemine what patent they can willfully violate and which they cannot. Also apple has earned the right to take a poll of their fans to determine the validity of a patent.



    I'm sure (I could be wrong) that a patent ruling has never taken in account, any of the reasons listed (1-4).
  • Reply 77 of 81
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Not all patents stand up to further review.



    Many of us feel this one shouldn't.
  • Reply 78 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dfiler View Post


    Not all patents stand up to further review.



    Many of us feel this one shouldn't.



    Have you ever been to a forum where Apple fans felt the patent of the company suing apple was valid?. I find it astonishing that every time apple is sued for patent violation, the patent is assumed invalid by apple fans. I've never been to a forum where anyone even remotely admitted that the patent might (i didn't say "was"... just "might") be valid. Clearly, apple fans think idiots work at the patent office. Strangely enough, if microsoft is sued for patent violation, the patent is assumed valid and everyone seems to think the patent office have smart people working for them.. very odd. Of course, if apple were to sue for patent violation, then the patent is valid (even though the same idiots working at the patent office approves apple patents). Frankly, i find truly amazing that the same people at the patent office can be idots one day (if they granted a patent to a company suing apple) and geniuses the next day (if they grant apple a patent). I wonder what their performance assessment looks like.
  • Reply 79 of 81
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wnurse View Post


    Have you ever been to a forum where Apple fans felt the patent of the company suing apple was valid?



    Yes



    It sounds like you have an axe to grind, unrelated to the discussion at hand.
  • Reply 80 of 81
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dfiler View Post


    Yes



    Do you remember specific instances?



    Quote:

    It sounds like you have an axe to grind, unrelated to the discussion at hand.



    It might be, but many of the points are valid. Apple fans can be quite reflexive about anything that threatens their favorite company.
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