There is an update to the YogaGlo patent fiasco and it comes by way of the increasingly outspoken and all growns up Yoga Alliance. You may recall YA made it their business to start an online petition (currently at over 13,000 signatures) calling for YogaGlo to withdraw their patent application, which was essentially requesting official ownership of special ““method and apparatus” of recording yoga classes which many of us thought was just outright absurdity. Apparently, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) kind of agreed.
According to a recent YA post by CEO Richard Karpel, YogaGlo has actually filed not one but two similar, almost identical patents and have already received notice that both “have been rejected as being unpatentable.” So YogaGlo was already told no dice before they sent Yoga International the cease and desist letter that ignited this firestorm.
Here’s what YA found out about the rejections:
In their rejection notices, the USPTO asserted that at the time of their “invention,” YogaGlo’s patent claims were obvious to individuals with ordinary skill in the art. The first application was rejected on July 3, 2013, and the rejection was based on a combination of a yoga patent application published in 2002 and later abandoned, and other “prior art” (the legal term for information available before a patent application is filed that can be used to invalidate a claim). The second application was rejected one month later, on Aug. 5, 2013, based on the same combination of factors.
Yoga Alliance also asserts that last week’s response and update from YogaGlo regarding the patents is misleading and inconsistent with what the patent application actually claims.
“We are not trying to patent how a teacher might film instruction for their students in their own studio or how one might wish to film a DVD,” the YogaGlo team said on their website.
“Our patent application deals very specifically with online streaming yoga classes, and in that, it deals with only one of many possible ways to film online streaming yoga classes,” the post explained.
The September 25 update continues in an effort to clarify YogaGlo’s stance and reasoning behind the patent:
So what is the YogaGlo way of filming classes? Our patent application clearly outlines that the “look and feel” of a YogaGlo online streaming class is comprised of the following elements that all must be present in conjunction with one another: position of camera, position of the teacher, position of the mats relative to the camera and the teacher, an open corridor down the middle, the teacher must be facing the camera, the students must be facing the teacher, etc. We are not seeking to patent a camera angle. We are not seeking to patent the placement of a teacher in a room (online, offline, in your private studio, in your public studio). We are seeking to patent this one very particular combination of elements for a single online class.
There is more than one way to film and stream an online yoga class. Many wonderful online yoga businesses film their classes differently and are thriving. Many online yoga customers prefer their look to ours. We aren’t trying to patent how they film their classes. We are simply trying to patent our way of filming online classes.
But, YA sees this as an important policy issue, and something they’re against, whether the method is patentable or not.
If YogaGlo receives this patent, it could prevent other yoga instructors — including the yoga teachers and schools that are members of our organization — from distributing video recordings of yoga classes in a format they desire without first paying a licensing fee to YogaGlo.
But even if the claimed idea is patentable, Yoga Alliance would still be opposed to the application, for the same reason the yoga community erupted in anger when they heard about it: The idea of recording a yoga video in a classroom setting, no matter how specifically limited by the patent claims, is not what most of us think of as an “invention.” The fact that a company like YogaGlo could “own” that idea shocks the conscience.
Yeah, shock might be the right word for this whole thing. Then again…nope.
Meanwhile, other online yoga class providers are urging people to vote with their dollars, like Be More Yogic, who’s giving away a free month to yogis who mail in a copy of their YogaGlo cancellation, reports YogaCityNYC.
- What the Hell is Going on at Yoga Alliance? Everything You Need to Know Right Now
- Yoga Alliance Starts Petition Urging YogaGlo to Withdraw Patent Application, Stop ‘Bullying’
- Firestorm After YogaGlo Moves to Patent Online Yoga Class Setup