After a ten month ordeal and about $100,000 in legal expenses,
Capstone Photography is pleased to announce that a Federal Judge
has ruled in our favor and declared three patents are ineligible
for patent protection under 35 USC Section 101. The
lawsuit is over and Capstone has prevailed. Thank you for
all of your support.
A bit of background on the case:
An individual named Peter Wolf filed for and
received three patents related to event photography. We
understood that these
patents failed for a number of different reasons to meet the requirements
for patent protection by the US Government. Capstone did
nothing wrong, and never stole anyone's intellectual
property. Nonetheless, we were sued on December
31, 2013, and we spent the last ten months defending our
company and racking up tremendous legal expenses.
We were not the first to be sued.
Before us, the patent-holder
had already contacted or
sued more than a dozen companies. When confronted with the high
costs of legal defense, one by one, they each agreed
to settle with him. Despite severe financial pressure, we
decided not to settle and instead to fight these bad
patents. We knew it would cost more, but we knew
it was the right thing to do. Though many of our
larger competitors had taken the easy way out, we stood
up on behalf of the many hard-working and talented
photographers who suffer financially from these bad
On October 28, 2014 a Federal Judge ruled in our favor
and declared all three patents invalid. We are
grateful to be vindicated by the courts, as we knew we
would be. The photography business is now better
for these rulings, open to free and fair competition
that is the basis for our American economy.
Standing up for our industry comes at a tremendous cost.
Aside from the emotional distress and taking away time and
energy from growing our business, our legal expenses are around
$100,000. Externally Capstone may seem like a big company,
but we're a very small business consisting of the owner (Mike
Skelps) and three hard-working employees plus a team of talented
contract photographers. We took a great risk to put this
much money into the case. Although we're committed to dig
out from under these expenses ourselves, we hope that many of
you who are on our side will
to help us offset some of these expenses.
In 2015, our mission takes on a broader role. We are
uniting with "Application Developer Alliance" and "United
for Patent Reform" to support Congress' initiative to get tough
on patent abusers. We will have Op/Ed pieces running in
local papers. I have written and will continue to
communicate to Congress the dangers of patent abusers. At
the request of the House Judiciary Committee, I am sending video
testimony about our ordeal. Please write your Congressmen
and tell them to End Patent Abuse now!
Federal Judge Rules Patents Invalid
Beau Berman Reports Victory for CT Biz
Photo Patents Declared Invalid
Judge Nixes Photo Patents as Abstract
Novelty Not Relevant But Claim Scope Is
More Patent Claims Held Invalid
TechDirt (must-read comments!)
KameraBild (Anyone know Swedish?)
The Hidden Tax On Your Internet
WFSB Follow Up: CT Man Fights & Wins
Digital Grin (excellent overview)
Miranda (must read comments p.3-7)
Another Fred Miranda (great stuff)
Patents Finally Overturned
SportsShooter: Don't Shoot the Messenger
SportsShooter: Photo Companies Sued
SportsShooter: Any Updates?
SportsShooter: Company Suing
Flickr: Patented Event Process
Coming to a Business Near You
Photography on the Net
Another Photography On The Net
Photo.net: Patent -- Any News?
Photography Review (LOTS of interesting comments!)
First Patent: '875
Third Patent: '035
Rejected 6 times?