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Join with IVRPA to Save 360 VR Photography!

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  • Scott Witte
    Join with the IVRPA to Save 360 VR Photography! * Your ability to make a living with 360 VR photography, possibly even **to **create
    Message 1 of 53 , Apr 27, 2011
      <http://ivrpa.org/patent>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
      <mailto:patent@...> 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
      Witte <mailto:patent@...> for more information.)

      Scott Witte

      IVRPA board member

      Coordinator, patent committee.

      On Behalf of the IVRPA Board of Directors

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Matthias Taugwalder
      Hi all Sorry for jumping in this discussion so late, but I did not have time any sooner. Note: The following remarks represent not an official, but my own
      Message 53 of 53 , May 1, 2011
        Hi all

        Sorry for jumping in this discussion so late, but I did not have time any
        sooner. Note: The following remarks represent not an official, but my own
        personal opinion.

        Scott is not at all acting on his own or making this up. His is taking care
        of this on behalf of the board of directors of the Internatioal VR
        Photography Association (IVRPA). This includes among Scott also G. Donald
        Bain, Willy Kaemena, Carlos Chegado, J├╝rgen Schrader, Jan van der Woning and
        me, Matthias Taugwalder. See http://ivrpa.org/about/bod

        Although the patent is valid only in certain parts of the US (ask Scott for
        details), we felt that there is a need to support the affected
        photographers. As Scott already pointed out the main problem is that client
        with VR tours on their websites get these cease and desist letters. Then
        even pay the requested fee or remove the tours from their website.

        Yes, the patent is ridiculous - we don't have to discuss that. But it
        somehow got approved, those letters are sent to clients and this is
        affecting photographers in the US right now. Our intention is to show some
        solidary with them and help to get rid of this patent.

        Of course, if you have another opinion about this topic, feel free to post
        it here in a objective and decent way - or just overread this thread. We
        don't force anyone to participate.

        Thank you very much to all that support our intentions and of course to
        Scott for his continuous work on this topic.

        Have a nice weekend and greetings from Switzerland,

        Matthias Taugwalder
        President of the International VR Photography Association (IVRPA)

        Matthias Taugwalder

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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