>Join with the IVRPA to Save 360 VR
Your ability to make a living with 360 VR photography, possibly even
**to **create such images for personal use, is in jeopardy. This is
real. We need to act. We need to stop this.**You can help.**More on how
below, but first some background: **(Or Donate Now
What is this all about?
You may have heard of the infamous '400 patent. ( US Patent 6,754,400 ).
Anyone with knowledge considers it junk. It's almost as if they just
copied Quicktime, iPix and various common virtual tour practices, wrote
them down and claimed they invented it all -- in 2001. They sent it off
to the US Patent office never acknowledging the existing "prior art."
The patent examiners never noticed it so they gave them the patent.
An outfit called Tour Technology Systems, LLC (TTS) now owns the patent
and is using it to demand money from our clients including hotels,
builders, realtors, media companies, anybody who uses 360 images and
tours. TTS's lawyer sends them a letter saying their use of 360 virtual
tours infringes TTS's patent and demands significant money for their
continued use or they will take legal action.
Clients freak out. It is, after all, a real patent. Even when clients
learn that they are protected, for instance IPix customers are protected
by the IPix patents, it doesn't matter. The cost of defending against
the '400 patent is too great. Sometimes they get mad at /us/(the
photographers and tour producers)for putting them in this situation.
Usually they take down the tours rather than pay the ransom and swear
never to use 360 VR again. And they often warn others in their industry
to do the same. One photographer I know recently lost a client worth
$50,000 because of this.
The more you read the more outraged you will be. Just Google "Patent
If you haven't lost a client over this prepare yourself. By our
estimation there are easily dozens of photographers who have been hit
financially and many times more seeing the threat to their clients.
Anthony Handal, lawyer for TTS, tells us he is just getting started.
What if you don't sell your 360 images? There is nothing to stop TTS
from going after PTGui, KRPano, Pano2VR, FPP, EasyPano... any software
that produces 360 images since the technology they all use is ostensibly
covered by the '400 patent. /It is just a matter of time./
What can you do?
The effort needs funds and helpresearching and preparing documentation.
IVRPA (International Virtual Reality Photography Association) is
sponsoring the move to stop the '400 patent. Work done so far by our
lawyers makes us confident that we can succeed. But it will take money,
some $20,000. Therein lies the problem. TTS knows that the cost and time
of challenging their patent is too great for most companies. It is
easier and cheaper to just fold.
If we all band together to finance this we can all reap the benefits. If
we don't... expect a hit -- maybe a huge hit -- to your pocketbook and
passion one way or another. It's just a matter of time. Your choice:
Together we win. Separately doing nothing we all lose.
IVRPA is contributing what it can to this effort but there is no way the
organization can do it all. We just aren't that big. We need your help
to make this happen, IVRPA member or not.
*Donate Now* <http://ivrpa.org/patent
Put this into perspective, if you lose just/one/ client, /one/ 360
virtual tour job, how much will that cost you? How much would you pay to
prevent this? *
*Documentation:* We need proof that methods and technology covered by
the '400 patent were in use before the patent was submitted (Feb. 6th,
2001). We already know the pre-existing patents. Software manuals,
magazine articles, books etc that describe all this would be great if
they were clearly published before the '400 patent application . Please
contact Scott Witte <mailto:patent@...
> if you have these.
*Your Stories: *Have you or your clients been affected by the '400
patent? We need as much intelligence as possible about what Handal is
doing, who is he approaching and what have been the result, especially
any settlements made. Please contact Scott Witte
> directly with this information.
Please. Let's all do our part! If you can, a significant part.
(Note: If you prefer, and especially for large contributions, you may
wire money directly into the IVRPA Patent Fund account. Contact Scott
> for more information.)
IVRPA board member
Coordinator, patent committee.
On Behalf of the IVRPA Board of Directors
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