For those interested in the whole YogaGlo video patent kerfuffle, here’s a take on things that doesn’t involve karma, the yamas or anything else yogic.
It’s a Washington Post blog:
But the fact that opponents of the patent had to look for prior art is a sign of just how dysfunctional the rules for approving patents have become. Finding prior art is how you prove that a patent fails the law’s novelty requirement: If others were practicing the invention long before you came up with it, it’s not patentable. But novelty isn’t the only criterion for patent protection. A patent must also claim something that is non-obvious and a “process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter.” YogaGlo seems defective on both counts.
People have been setting up video cameras at the back of rooms for decades, and realizing that you could set up a camera at the back of a yoga studio is hardly a major breakthrough. But the courts have tended to interpret the obviousness requirement narrowly, requiring fairly specific evidence that the idea would have been obvious at the time it was invented. So a concept that would have seemed obvious to most yoga instructors (or, for that matter, most people who own a video camera) was ruled non-obvious by the patent office.
It concludes with this:
But the culture of the patent office, shaped by decisions of the patent-friendly appeals court that governs patent law, tends to give applicants the benefit of the doubt. The Patent Office is steeped in the culture of the patent bar, which generally sees more patenting as a good thing. And rejecting patents can get examiners bogged down in never-ending arguments with applicants, who have a virtually unlimited opportunity to refile rejected applications.
As a result, the Patent Office routinely grants patents that most people who aren’t patent lawyers think are obvious —or not really an “invention” at all. Like setting a video camera up at the back of a yoga studio and pushing “record.”
So it isn’t just you if you think the YogaGlo patent seems pretty dang silly.
I’m going to spend the weekend patenting yoga blogging, I think. Await my lawyer’s letter, fellow bloggers.
Posted by Steve