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Archive 2014 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography
  
 
blhenson
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


It looks like Peter Wolf is at it again, pushing his so called patents for event photography. It seems that Capstone Photography is looking to fight this guy instead of giving in. I wonder what it will finally take to win against this guy.

Interview with Capstone Photography owner:

http://www.wfsb.com/story/24879800/photography-company-the-victim-of-patent-abuse-owner-says



Mar 06, 2014 at 03:33 AM
Carl Auer
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


A joke.


Mar 06, 2014 at 04:40 AM
ian408
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


He reminds me of an attorney who would buy shares in a company solely to sue when the price made any sort of of downward spike.

He would file a class action case against the company whose share price declined then immediately offer to settle. One company fought him and won. It didn't put him out of business but he definitely thought harder going forward.

The only way people like this are going away is if more people refuse to cave in and fight instead. The chances of this happening are slim since it costs so much money to defend and photographers aren't wealthy enough to afford it. Pretty sad when your main source of income for a photography business is the courts.



Mar 06, 2014 at 06:36 AM
Carl Auer
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


It reminds me of an old Seattle tv show similar to Saturday Night Live called Almost Live. They had a "In the Headlines" section and once they said that Nike had copyrighted Air and every time we take a breath, we now owed Nike a nickel.



Mar 06, 2014 at 04:29 PM
shaneroper
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


So, if you would have been the first person to realize that adding was the simplest way to figure out the sum of two numbers and patented the idea no one else could use that process even though it's common sense? That is so stupid, I mean if he copied the software that did it I could see it but, just because there is only one way to really track that many people and he owns the process seems completely dumb..Almost makes you not want to continue shooting..hope I don't copy someone camera settings for taking a picture at a night football game…


Mar 06, 2014 at 05:23 PM
Scroggins
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


What a joke.


Mar 06, 2014 at 06:04 PM
knight13
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


Just contributed to his legal fund myself. I hope he stands his ground and wins.


Mar 06, 2014 at 06:13 PM
blhenson
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


Yeah I think campaigning for help from the photography community is a great idea. If enough people were to contribute they may stand a chance to win this one. I think it is a worth while effort and have contributed myself.

Here is the website address to the campaign for anyone else who is interested:

http://www.endpatentabuse.com/



Mar 06, 2014 at 06:54 PM
Carl Auer
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


I am waiting for him to attack Getty, AP, Corbis or another major wire that "uses" his copyrighted deal. I would like to see him go up against a company with teams of lawyers that would put him in his place.



Mar 06, 2014 at 09:42 PM
karrphoto
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


Not sure about SmugMug, but ZenFolio you can do that as well, assuming you put the keywords in your files before you upload, you can search by name, number, <xyz> data as long as it's in the files ITPC data.

Add to that, Getty, AP, or any other online photo service for that matter. I wonder if he's has a big enough pair of brass ba##s to take on the giants, probably why he's going after the small(ish/er) companies.



Mar 07, 2014 at 03:41 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



James Broome
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


I wouldn't consider SmugMug a 'smallish' company, but they settled with Wolf as well.


Mar 07, 2014 at 03:20 PM
Aqualung
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


I do assignments for Capstone, will be contributing to Michael's fund...

Chris



Mar 07, 2014 at 04:09 PM
hensonnd
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


I am shooting an event with Mike this weekend. I will be giving him a donation in person. There is no reason someone should be able to get away with something like this!


Mar 07, 2014 at 09:47 PM
Graham Crowthe
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


Here's a way round this maybe?!.
Race officials issue bibs with 3or4 coded numbers/symbols on the bibs (as well as the "offical" race number) which the runner can use to view his picture on the other's web sites?, the event photographers "invest" in these bib codes creating reveniew for the bib printing etc & not breaking this arseholes Patants .
I have to add I know little of Patenting law in the US but in the UK such a patent has to be very spercific given the genre so only patent would apply to "the Official Race number". Kind regards Graham.



Mar 09, 2014 at 07:28 PM
FotoCrazy
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


I have been for the past 15 years and continue to actively make my living by taking event photographs just like Capstone Photography. I developed some techniques in 1999 that streamlined the event photography process over the methods used since the 1970’s. These techniques were patented and the USPTO issued those patents to me in 2006.

These patents have stood up against all efforts to show prior art or invalidate them. Many event photography companies including the largest in the industry have licensed with us.

We made attempts to contact Michael Skelps, the President of Capstone Photography several years ago. He never returned our calls and continued to infringe on our patents. Capstone Photography contracted with events in our county here in CA and took business away from us. It caused us hardship while Capstone Photography boasted in being the largest event photography company in the country.

Capstone Photography may assert their process is obvious or different and outside the scope of our patents but our attorneys have determined that Capstone Photography infringes on my patents and Capstone’s Attorney has so far not demonstrated to us how their processes are different and outside the scope of the patents.

I was issued additional patents in 2010 and once again Capstone Photography blatantly infringed on those patents and caused us hardship. The details are described in our claims against Capstone Photography.

I find it interesting that many photographers like Mr. Skelps vigorously defend the copyright laws that protect their pictures from being used for commercial gain by anyone else. However, Mr. Skelps does not seem to recognize patent laws that protect intellectual property like the patents he is blatantly infringing on.

We are reasonable in our licensing expectations and settle for fees that have virtually no effect on our licensees doing business as usual. Generally the infringers have to overcome an emotional or pride issue of accepting that someone invented and patented “their” idea. Usually the amount of attorney fees reaches a pain threshold that forces the infringer to settle. Frequently the infringer will then face maximum, even treble damages and the plaintiff’s attorney fees.

The problem comes in when someone tries to avoid licensing with us and we have to file a lawsuit. According to the latest AIPLA survey, litigating a patent case with damages under $1 million by a 1-3 person firm averages $255,000 just to get through the end of discovery, and $623,000 dollars to take the case through trial. (2013 AIPLA Econ. Survey, p. I-133). Mr. Skelps from Capstone Photography has retained a major law firm (http://onellp.com/ ) in Los Angeles with at least 20 attorneys.

Generally infringers are unaware that the inventor has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and many man-hours developing the patented idea. Marketing research, software and hardware development plus the cost of patent applications and executing the patent through the USPTO are all very costly.

I am very sorry to see Mr. Skelps head down the path he has chosen.

I immigrated to the United States after narrowly escaping from Communist East Germany in 1960. I am a law abiding citizen trying to build a business and raise a family. I expect others to obey the laws of this land as well. Mr. Skelps has caused me hardship by infringing on my patents.

FYI:
http://youtu.be/2_tKbYysS8k

http://youtu.be/zvXVPctP2jQ

http://www.amazon.com/Because-I-Can-Paul-Cooper/dp/B0029J3Z2A



Mar 29, 2014 at 01:30 AM
kzoockof
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


As an organizer (via a company) of races and marathons in the midwest, we do not use "Bibs". We use racer identification numbers. I have not read the patent, but if it specifically states "bib number" as what is protected, the patent would not protect against searches of "racer identification numbers".

Additionally, upon the completion of our events, we make available a spreadsheet of finishes by racer identification number, name, place and finish time. This spreadsheet is offered via a commonly used data/spreadsheet program (used on a huge majority or personal and business computers) and is available to anybody upon request (frequently even via download). Such spreadsheets are searchable and sortable (numerically and via alpha basis) and can be used by photographers to upload to their sites for providing searchable (as is licensed by the software manufacturer). Links could obviously be added to any and all photos from within such a software program and since ownership of this common program is owned by the user of it, they are protected by using all of the tools that software program offers in conjunction with their purchase of said software.

From the photographers perspective, this may require additional data entry for photos that contain images of multiple people, but such a task could simply be automated with the use of said software's integrated macros and populated as such from a spreadsheet perspective - again a feature of the actual software. The photographer is thusly using the purchased software (90% of photographers probably already own the software), and in this case, Mr. Wolf's claim would be against the much larger software manufacturer as the user of the software is already protected as such by the purchase of said software and its inherent capabilities.

Added with edit: the data that is released by the "company" is made available for the use of racers, the media and any interested party. The initial intention in releasing the data was for the ability of racers to get their official times and finish place as recorded by the official organizer of the event. This is no different than what has been practiced in the horse racing industry going back 100+ years in which upon completion of a race, data was provided identifying the finish time, finish place, horse/jockey number, horse name, jockey name, specific race, race track, date. Of course once digitized could be found with any of said pieces of data.



Mar 29, 2014 at 02:00 PM
FotoCrazy
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


kzoockof wrote:
As an organizer (via a company) of races and marathons in the midwest, we do not use "Bibs". We use racer identification numbers. I have not read the patent, but if it specifically states "bib number" as what is protected, the patent would not protect against searches of "racer identification numbers".


Thanks for your comments but you should really read the patents. You can google them. Just search on Patent followed by the patent number 6,985,875; 7,047,214; 7,835,947; 7,870,035. They are in plain English and can be understood by anyone. Most people think that patents are bad and stifle innovation and competition. Quite the contrary, patents allow innovators to spend money and time to develop new ideas without the fear that once they developed those new ideas and put their money and time into it for someone to simply take their idea, run with it and take advantage of the inventor. Using technicalities, like you describe, to circumvent the patent is unfair to the inventor. By the way, patent laws pretty much prevent such circumvention.

Patents allow the inventor to make investments and then enjoy the fruits of their invention for a period of time before they become public domain. Without patents innovation would be stifled because most inventors are poor marketeers and the inventor's time, energy, creativity and investment would be taken advantage of by good marketeers. Inventors would be discouraged to invent without patent protection. Patents allow the little guy to have some control over his/her invention. It's a great system when you think about. No wonder it is spelled out in our Constitution. Most inventors (including myself) charge a reasonable royalty for others to use their invention. Enforcing the patents gets ridiculously expensive.

Put yourself into an inventor's shoes. You come up with a clever new way of doing something and everyone just takes your idea and you are left in the dust. The most simple and obvious ideas are sometimes the greatest invention of them all. Haven't you ever said: "I wish I had thought of that - that is clever."

I personally abhor "Patent Trolls". Those are people who try to exhort money from anyone who uses the patents they own but their own profession has nothing to do with the patents.

Peter Wolf



Mar 29, 2014 at 03:47 PM
FotoCrazy
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


Graham Crowthe wrote:
Here's a way round this maybe?!.
Race officials issue bibs with 3or4 coded numbers/symbols on the bibs (as well as the "offical" race number) which the runner can use to view his picture on the other's web sites?, the event photographers "invest" in these bib codes creating reveniew for the bib printing etc & not breaking this arseholes Patants .
I have to add I know little of Patenting law in the US but in the UK such a patent has to be very spercific given the genre so only patent would apply to "the Official Race number". Kind regards
...Show more

Hey Graham, thanks for your input on this subject. Circumventing the patent on technicalities is unfair to the inventor. Patent laws generally prohibit such tactics. BTW that's why it is important to have someone write the patent who knows what they are doing. It is very expensive to execute a patent properly.

Some of the greatest inventions in healthcare and technology come from the US because of the great patent laws in this country. Patent laws allow an inventor to put money and effort into inventing something without the fear of it just being taken away by some bully company. The forefathers of this country recognized the importance of good patent laws and put it in the Constitution. Not sure if the UK can say the same about their patent laws.

BTW, calling me despicable names without really knowing who I am is pretty bad. Shame on you.

Peter Wolf



Mar 29, 2014 at 04:02 PM
FotoCrazy
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


Carl Auer wrote:
A joke.


Hey Carl, please read some of my most recent posts and tell me it's a "joke". You probably wouldn't be shooting with the camera gear you have if it weren't for patent laws. Companies go out on a limb investing millions of dollars to come up with clever new ways of building cameras. Why shouldn't they have some patent protection.

I recently picked up a Sony SLT-A65V camera with a "Translucent Mirror". No more mirror flipping out of the way. Clever, clever, clever!! I've been a Nikon guy for many years but this little Sony is a fun camera.

Peter Wolf



Mar 29, 2014 at 04:19 PM
kzoockof
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Peter Wolf / Capstone Photography


Since patents are very specific in nature, it is common practice to "circumvent" them. There are many products that exist, legally, that are slightly different, but perform a similar end result to another product that is patented.

The patent does not prevent the use of searchable data bases, quite the contrary. Nor does your patent prevent a person and/or business from using the ability to search data bases. The purchase of software from a company that manufacturers it, includes the full ability to use that software and it's inherent abilities.

There are weak patents, easy to circumvent and other patents that are hard to circumvent. The easier ones are typically weak to begin with as other products existed prior to the patenting that perform the same general function, as is the case with yours. Microsoft, basic computer languages (SQL) and numerous others deliver the "same" results. A basic understanding of a program as simple and long toothed as MS Excel can be performed for the exact same function. Now, it is certainly possible that MS pays you a royalty, but I suspect this is not the case.

So for photographers that photograph races, I would simply use an existing program to allow for the function of searching and sorting for multiple types of data. With the purchase of that software and its implementation on your website, you are covered by the licensing agreement covered under the purchase of the software.

For the record, I am a strong believer in the reasons, purposes and protections of patents. Having worked many years in equipment design and manufacturing and patenting various processes and machines, there is a good reason for it.

The flaw with a "process" patent is that once one person beats it, others can use the same defense and court ruling and counter sue the plaintiff for harassment, especially if you are using the same methods and practices that the successfully won defendant had used.

There are ethical business people and very unethical ones. What has become common in today's world (USA especially) is a litigation based patent battle geared towards profits purely through lawsuits.

I think it boils down to a person or business hiring a contractor and doing their due diligence. I would never hire a vendor who has a history of frivolous lawsuits. I would never hire, recommend and support the contracting or hiring of a company like Peter Wolf on this basis alone. Why would I want to put my hand into a bee's nest and transact business with a company that I feel is unethical, litigation happy, etc. . . Doing so only invites the potential of being subject to this type of person's or company's passed historical actions - which many may consider unscrupulous.

I know when/if I were to encounter a decision in the hiring of a vendor to perform a specific function, I would not support, and I would argue against, such a decision for a vendor having historical precedence that I consider unscrupulous. For those others that may be considering hiring a vendor like this, I would strongly warn to do so at your own (and very high) risk.



Mar 29, 2014 at 05:38 PM
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