A non-yogi take on the YogaGlo video patent: Sign of ‘dysfunctional’ rules

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

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

5 thoughts on “A non-yogi take on the YogaGlo video patent: Sign of ‘dysfunctional’ rules”

  1. A few weeks ago I went to the YogaGlo studio to be filmed in a class. The setup was not done in a whimsical manner of placing a camera and recording a class. Thought went into the process of lighting, sound, external noise, even showers for us Ashtangis among other things which I thought was smart and novel. There are some things that one keeps secret as a means to maintaining legitimacy of dare I say value of hard work. YogaGlo however, should understand that their content is where their value is with a minor value on camera angles and other things that they probably paid lots of money to make just right. They should realize the fine but piercing line that perception and social media plays into tainting their hard earned brand. Let’s hope they resolve this situation quickly and not go down a path of denial that they will prevail. Penny wise pound foolish doesn’t work in the UK nor America.

  2. I’ve seen a few of their videos too. I guess, if you put the camera in the back of the room, behind everyone, and there is a clear path to the front of the room where the instructor has a side profile, then maybe you are copying them. I personally would never take this approach if I were to film my classes. I like the approaches of numerous others like “YogaToday” where you are up close to the instructor and they are taking a mirroring approach, maybe with partners showing various modifications. There are too many examples to pick from.

  3. Now what if you are filming a class in a cave in the Himalayas? If you shoot from the back of the cave towards the opening is this infringing on the patent? What if there is a Dhooni between the teacher and students does this count? Or are they patenting the camera angle? ” If you sue someone over infringing on your ability to make money from yoga bad shit is going to happen to you” ~ Sri Brhama and Sons Barristers and Solicitors

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