Saturday, May 28, 2011

Spurious Patent Threatens VR Technologies

According to the IVRPA, an incorrectly granted patent now threatens all creation, distribution and use of all and any virtual tour technology and images, whether for commercial or personal use. Dated June 2nd 2004, the '400 patent (US Patent 6754400) places a potential strangle hold on all virtual tour photographers, developers of panoramic image software, any company displaying these images and any person pursuing this as a hobby.

The IVRPA sate that the patent also covers the use of any lens combination, any method of creating and storing such images digitally, use and generation of hotspots within panoramic images, use of mouse to manipulate images. The company holding the patent has already sued VT producers and clients using the images, shutting a few down.

Every aspect covered by this patent is had been previously published. Back in 1998, 6 years before the issue of the '400 patent,
Professor Helmut Dersch developed Pano Tools and released the code under the GNU General Public License and there are commercial agreements as far back as 1999 that cite the use of VT technoligies, like this one with Microsoft, no less.

It seem remarkable, therefore, that the US Patent office should have granted the '400 patent, but the industry is now in the costly position of having to contend this ridiculous patent. Arrogant attempts to starnglehold the industry have been tried before, most notably the failed attempt by iPix.

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