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Patent on Stack Focus Rail System
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mawyatt



Joined: 22 Aug 2013
Posts: 1595
Location: Clearwater

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW on a slightly different twist.

Does Zerene support any of these other rail systems?

Cheers,

Mike
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mjkzz



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 946
Location: California/Shenzhen

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing I learned in the last couple of days is the "America Invents Act", it seems after March 16, 2013, 89% of patents become invalid in court, according to Forbes:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2012/11/15/a-powerful-new-weapon-against-patent-trolls/#739afdba5fe7
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mjkzz



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 946
Location: California/Shenzhen

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another colleague who I worked with back in 2008 told me focus stacking technique is (Edited: see note below) the same as z-stack image acquisition, and AUTOMATED equipment for z-stack existed for a long time!

[Edit] Silly me, quick wiki search yield this, according to Wiki, z-stacking indeed is same as focus stacking:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focus_stacking

Now the question: if the USPTO official knew this and knew there were a lot of automated z-stack equipment, similar to what patent claims to be, out there, would they still issue the patent as it is now? Maybe all the patent holders/owners are just like silly me who do not know that z-stack and focus stacking is the same.

Just saying . . .

[/Edit]


Last edited by mjkzz on Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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mjkzz



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 946
Location: California/Shenzhen

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

or maybe USPTO does not require patent applicant(s) to provide such critical information (z-stacking is focus stacking) voluntarily? or relevant information can be withheld from a federal official if not asked . . .?

or maybe it was forgotten to tell USPTO officials . . .


Last edited by mjkzz on Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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mjkzz



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 946
Location: California/Shenzhen

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

one last curiosity and a fundamental one, if it is so innovative about automated z-stacking, why none of the equipment manufacturers make a claim in form of a patent? Is it too trivial (obvious) or is it something else (no one is able to).
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rayB



Joined: 02 Nov 2011
Posts: 12
Location: NSW South Coast, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know of a studio owned by a good friend of mine that owns some Z-stack equipment that scans to a single frame of FILM. I think the gear originates from Switzerland. Not sure exactly how old it it is, but it certainly predates anything from Cognisys Inc.

As an aside, I'm currently in the process of putting a specialised photo studio together. Stacking equipment will need to be sourced from somewhere early next year upon building completion. With their attitude, Cognisys Inc should not be surprised to learn that they will not be considered to equip the lab then, or at any point in future.
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enricosavazzi



Joined: 21 Nov 2009
Posts: 1068
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As another example of prior art (more about the software method and process than the hardware), see my publication:

Savazzi, E. 2011: Construction and programming of an autonomous focus stacker. Computers & Geosciences 37: 1670-1676; New York.

And this is far from being the first description of hardware and software for focus stacking. I think I mentioned in this paper, for example, that commercial stacking software and hardware exists (as of 2011). C++ source code is included if you have access to the online journal. I am sure I looked at at least one commercial automated focus stacker hardware on the web among the inspirations for this paper, but I don't remember which company made it. I might have a little more information in my 2011 book Digital Photography for Science.

The above paper contains the following reference, likely relevant as prior art in focus stacking technology:

Bercovici, A., Hadley, A., Villanueva-Amadoz, U., 2009. Improving depth of field resolution for palynological photomicrography. Palaeontologia Electronica 12 (2), 12 /http://palaeo-electronica.org/2009_2/170/170.pdf (accessed 29 July 2010).

If one should be interested, it is likely possible to further follow the trail of references backwards in time.
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mjkzz



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 946
Location: California/Shenzhen

PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for more prior art evidence.

It is not my days recently, first I got this patent stuff thrown at me, then someone filed complaint to ICANN regarding all of my website domain names. Fortunately, I was able to respond to all in time except my personal domain because, honestly, I do not remember what information I filled 20 years ago and it has not had any problem for 20 years. The domain is down but I will eventually get it back online.

But all my personal and important communication are going through email account of that domain, so I have not received any more letters from that law firm.

In any event, I do not think that patent can stand in court at all, so I am ready to fight.
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g4lab



Joined: 23 May 2008
Posts: 1432

PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps it is time to organize a Cognysis boycott. I find those kind of business practices repellant.
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Choronzon



Joined: 21 Feb 2010
Posts: 379
Location: Chicago USA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sadly, legal battles, especially ones like this are not about who's right or wrong. They're about who can go the distance financially.
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g4lab



Joined: 23 May 2008
Posts: 1432

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would imagine that they aren't going to go the distance financially because it can't be a feasible strategy. It seems more likely to me that they are just bullying and bluffing.

Attacking someones domain anonymously is a loathesome and Cowardly act.
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mjkzz



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 946
Location: California/Shenzhen

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, there is the financial side of it . . . so let me point out something.

That patent really does not have a chance in court, but as many have pointed it out, it could just be a scare tactic, particularly to those who are not in the trade for long. Yeah, I was scared initially.

But the best use of that patent is to scare sales/retail channels not to carry or drop such product in the USA because they are not in the trade (not in the sense of trading) and do not want to fight.

Say for example, hypothetically, someone with deep pocket decides to copy my design, they probably can manufacture it at large scale and bring down the cost and retail it for 150USD complete with all necessary hardware and software. But to move such large quantity of merchandise, they need sales channel and that is where this patent is probably very effective.

Shenzhen is home base for many Chinese photographic manufacturers and I do have afternoon teas with some of the owners occasionally. Talking to them, the trend is they are all eager to break out of the business of making simple things. But if they see an obstacle such as patent, they will think twice to venture into an opportunity, unless, hmmm that obstacle is gone, and I am sure they would want to see that obstacle gone.

Just saying . . .
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rayB



Joined: 02 Nov 2011
Posts: 12
Location: NSW South Coast, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have read that RRS too have recently resorted to such tactics as outlined in your 3rd paragraph.
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mjkzz



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 946
Location: California/Shenzhen

PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, this is what a patent can do and the value of that patent regardless of its validity.

With all the evidence, possible withholding information, my own research work I did back in 2008, all other prior arts found, and since the patent has clause trying to have broader claims, which is a double edged sword in patent, more prior arts were found. I think there are enough reasonable argument to start the invalidation process of the patent, ie, request for reexamination without even going to court. But that requires money that a deep pocketed entity might be able to afford, not me, unless forced to.

I am sure RSS has their own valid patents, at least in terms of form factor and design, but I doubt they can prevent others from selling quick release system that do not share any resemblance.

Anyways, this is way off topic of this forum website, so take it easy with this matter.
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Dave Koerner



Joined: 17 Jan 2018
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just curious - did you ever come to an agreement with Cognisys over this?

It appears that you are still selling your product in question as a stacking photography kit.

I've considered marketing a similar kit, but put it on hold due to the potential for litigation. I agree that the patent does not appear to be valid, but yet it still stands.
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