Event Photographers: Do you know Peter Wolf?

Started Mar 7, 2006 | Discussions thread
Ted Marchut Contributing Member • Posts: 642
Re: No fancy electronics need for infringement

Michael Fryd wrote:

Which version of the patent did you read? ...

The version at the USPTO claims the patent is for "...A process
providing event photographs of a sporting event for inspection,
selection and distribution via a computer network"

Like I said, I scanned the whole thing. The first claim, which forms the basis of all the other claims, is on an entire process, which comprises the following parts:

1) taking photographs of at least one participant of a sporting event along at least one point of a course or field thereof;

2) associating identifying data with each photograph taken, wherein the identifying data is selected from at least one of:
a number corresponding to a number worn by a participant,
a participant's name,
a code acquired from a component worn by a participant,
a date and time, including hour and minute the photograph was taken;

3) informing the sporting participants of the identifying data;

4) transferring the photographs to a computer network server;

5) cataloging each of the photographs in a web-site server according to the identifying data;

6) accessing the server at a location other than the sporting event and searching for a photograph of a particular sporting event participant utilizing the identifying data;

7) displaying the photograph of the sporting event participant for inspection and ordering.

It is my (very limited) understanding that any process that does not include all of these parts is not covered by the patent. So, if you are cataloging by groups of photos (i.e. male 20-30 yr old runners, or whatever the divisions are, you do not violate the patent). If you are offering them for sale at the event, you do not violate the patent. And so on.

Where I am not clear, is whether the patent only covers the sum total of all of the claims. Claim 3 specifically states:

"The process of claim 1, wherein when the identifying data comprises a code acquired from a component worn by the sporting event participant, including the step of triggering a camera to take a photograph when the component passes a predetermined point. "

This piece is mentioned repeatedly in the patent document and seems to be central to what he has "invented" and the reason I mentioned this specific item is because it is the only thing that strikes me as unusual enough to hold up in court. If he is going to try to defend the broad scope of simply proofing and ordering online, even within the confines laid out in claim #1, he is going to have difficulty, I believe.

It is also worth noting that he claims far more than sporting events. In the first paragraph of the Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments, he states:

"The event can comprise any organized event, such as a dance or graduation ceremony, but is particularly suited for athletic events such as bicycling, marathon, triathlon, hockey and other organized sporting events."

I do not believe the patent will be enforceable, except possibly in cases involving trigger mechanisms and ID transmitters or whatever you want to call the system. Even then, I believe the technology may have been in place in amusement parks before his patent application (or was that just a concept I reviewed many years ago?).

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