Bad patents and abuse of
the patent system hurt small businesses, innovators and the
Help us support Patent
Reform in Congress.
Support HR 9 and The PATENT Act!
We were sued for infringement of three weak and overly broad
patents that never should have been issued. It took ten months and
drained $100,000 from our small business to defend against
the outrageous allegations. In the end, a Federal Judge
ruled in our favor and declared the three bad patents invalid.
We won our case, but at a crippling legal expense. Now we
take our fight to Congress to support comprehensive patent
reform to break the financial model which has mad patent abuse
profitable over the last decade.
A bit of background on the case:
An individual filed received the first
of three vague and overly broad patents related to event photography
starting in 2006. He immediately turned those
patents into tools of financial intimidation against
small businesses across the country. These
patents failed for a number of different reasons to meet the requirements
for patent protection by the US Government, but it didn't
matter. One after another, businesses were bullied
into paying absurd "license fees" for processes they had
developed themselves. When confronted with the high
costs of legal defense, one by one, they each agreed
to pay the fees demanded. Like the others, Capstone had
done nothing wrong and had never stolen anyone's intellectual
property. Nonetheless, we were sued on December
31, 2013 for infringement.
Despite severe financial pressure, we
decided not to settle and instead to fight these bad
patents. We spent ten months defending our
company and racking up tremendous legal expenses. We knew it would cost more, but
it was right to fight these patents and end this abuse
once and for all. 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 General
Manager 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. 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 have
joined Application Developer Alliance,
United for Patent Reform and
Consumer Electronics Association to
support Congressional efforts to get tough
on patent abusers. I have met with the offices of more
than 30 Members of Congress to address the harm that patent abusers
do to small businesses and our economy.
Please write your Congressmen
and tell them to End Patent Abuse now by voting YES on HR-9, the
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
WTIC NewsTalk 1080 Interview
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!)
Op Ed by Michael Skelps
My First Trip
Lobbying Congress, May '15
My Second Trip
to Congress, July '15
First Patent: '875
Third Patent: '035
Rejected 6 times?