If this isn't proof enough that the U.S. patent system is a joke, then we have no idea what will. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) handed down a patent to Amazon that allows the company to own the idea of taking photos in a while background.
Surely, this is crazy and couldn't be real. Sadly to burst your bubble pal, but it is. So, if you're a professional photographer, be sure that you could get sued for taking photos of a person with a white background. This patent should have never been passed since taking photos in a pure white background is not something pioneered by Amazon.
Amazon's so-called technique is called Studio Arrangement, and it is designed to eliminate the need of much post-production work.
Since this technique is not unique, it means that millions of people around the world are breaking the law. The big question we need to know is if Amazon is willing to sue photographers using this technique. Chances are; it wouldn't turn out well for the online retail giant, especially if photographers can prove they have been doing this long before the patent was filed.
"Prior art solutions for achieving such a result for capturing images and/or video of objects set against a true white background include solutions that often involve some type of image retouching, post processing, "green screen" techniques, or other special effects and image and video manipulation to achieve the result of an object set against a true white background," according to the patent.
"Accordingly, as will be described herein, embodiments of the present disclosure provide a studio arrangement in which an object can be photographed and/or filmed, and the images and/or video captured by the camera achieve the effect noted above without any image manipulation due to the particular arrangements of the subject, camera, lighting and background. "
We can only hope that what Amazon is doing here is only a ploy to prove how easy it is to gain a patent on the most obvious of ideas. Because if Amazon truly goes ahead with taking full ownership of this idea, then that should speak a lot about the company.