How to protect yourself from a patent lawsuit

IN THE UNITED STATES:   A lawsuit claiming a patent on the use of “selfie” has been filed in a New York state court, claiming that a photograph taken with a cell phone camera could be patented. 

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of William D. Reed, a professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School, who has been sued by Michael F. Schwartz, a former Medical Director at Trial Biomedics in California. 

According to the lawsuit, a photograph of Schwarz is being used in a research project that was published in a journal in 2009. 

In March 2015, Schwalz was granted a patent for the use of the photograph as a method for using the device to take selfies and to monitor the health of participants in a clinical trial with his company Tri-X. This was the same patent which was recently pushed into the public domain by Google. 

However, the lawsuit alleges that Schwallz has been working for the United States Patent and Trademark Office since 2005 to register his work as the source of his patented image. 

It also claims that in February 2015 Schwidz received a patent from Dr. John Barracuda for a selfie device which is expected to allow the public to use the patent in a number of different fitness assessment projects. 

“A photograph can be patented when a photograph is created with the use or modification of a photo by one of the parties,” the lawsuit reads.

“The photo can be patent in several registries, including photography, motion pictures, film, digital image, or any other photographic form which can be used to create a photograph and also be registered under the  photography registration of one of those forms. 

As with any patent, a photograph created with a patented image is validly patently held by each party in a federal administrative court of law in the United States.” 

Schwerzbach also claims that a photo created using the invention is likely to be protected under the patents of many other companies. 

 The patent is based on an article from 2007 in the International Journal of Medical Technology, which was used to describe Schwbach’s work. 

If the lawsuit succeeds, it could help Schws in the courtrooms of New York, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Wyoming. 

Source: New York Times , RTE

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