I chatted for 3-4 hours today with a patent lawyer who plays on the same cricket team. He agrees on the premise that it will be extremely difficult to invalidate the patent. Personally looking at the patent I can see how it's methods are different enough from all previous patents in the same area.
The Ipix patent for example has no mention of removing radial distortion from the image nor does it mention seam blending options. These differences are far more than needed to make the '400 patent valid based on any pre-existing patent.
Half the problem seems to be a large number of people responding have a fundamental lack of understanding of why the patent system exists. This in itself is very worrying.
The patent system was created to offer inventors government protection for their inventions. In return the inventor would publish in the public domain the specifications, methods or processes within the invention.
One of the MAIN purposes of having these in the public domain was to ENCOURAGE and ALLOW other inventors to improve on existing inventions. From reading existing patents and looking at the prior art unfortunately it seems like the '400 patent is an improvement on what went before. Just because patent '400 has fisheye input and cubic output doesn�t mean it infringes on anything.
What becomes difficult is providing the correct prior-art to debunk the patent. Simply coughing up QTVR images from 1995 proves nothing. What you need is interface examples and applications proving the existence of multi-band blending and error corrected blending. Thinking back to 2001 the only blending I can remember for spherical output was basic feather blending and pixel value averaging.
Unfortunately I think the only way to get one up on these guys is to force their hand somehow and have them take someone to court for infringing the patent. This will NEVER happen as they know their claims are bogus.
In the UK the letters that they're sending would be classed as harassment and you could in-turn take them to court. It seems like this isn't the case in the US.
I have one more email to compose later on regarding the claims these guys could make and win. After that I'm done.
On 1 May 2011, at 19:08, Scott Witte wrote:
> You have obviously spent a lot of time pouring over this patent, which
> is appreciated. You have your interpretation but as you can see from
> discussions here (not just with me) those interpretations are anything
> but certain no matter how sure you may be of them yourself. None of us
> are patent lawyers, although David clearly has the most real world
> experience with patents. Personally, I'm more willing to go with the
> studied opinion of well respected patent lawyers than anyone here,
> including my own.
> You continually suggest better, cheaper solutions like an informative
> website and a form letter from a lawyer. All this has been thoroughly
> evaluated and often tested, such as the lawyer letter. It doesn't work
> nearly as well as you think or as we hoped. No matter how reasonable,
> logical or obvious the alternatives may seem, the real world experience
> demonstrates that. One reason it took so long getting to this point was
> because of our due diligence exploring the alternatives.
> You still seem to think we are making some uninformed knee jerk
> decisions without considering alternatives. I hoped my and other's
> contributions would have demonstrated the contrary. I'm sorry it hasn't,
> but I'm getting the impression there may be nothing that can convince
> you otherwise. Is that correct?
> Regarding the single fisheye video surveillance, you are probably right.
> It apparently was two fisheyes and mentioned as an application so it may
> not have much applicability to the iPix patent I was thinking of. (It
> has been nearly a year since I read this through myself.)
> In the end, arguing the merits of the patent is counter productive. It
> is how the patent is being used and the effect that is having and will
> continue to have on our industry and incomes that matter. That is why it
> needs to be dealt with.
> Scott Witte
> Member, IVRPA
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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