On March 18th the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted a patent to Amazon covering a specific method to achieve the common photographic technique of capturing an image of a subject against a plain white background.

Patent No.US 8,676,045 B1 describes a setup using multiple lights and a white backdrop to produce a photo that looks like nearly every product shot you’ve ever seen. However, while cynics might cry foul, rather than attempting to patent the classic seamless background setup technique, Amazon instead appears to be protecting a specific studio setup that - crucially - results in images that don’t need retouching to eliminate shadows. 

Amazon creates a huge number of product photographs every day and some commenters have suggested that this patent (originally filed in 2011) is essentially protective, and represents the company's attempt to shield itself from attacks from patent trolls who might attempt to patent a similar setup and use it against the company in the future.

You can see the patent on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website for yourself. 

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