360 tour lawsuit

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CLeary
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Re: 360 tour lawsuit

Post by CLeary » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:02 pm

This could get real messy! So companies like PTGUI and even our beloved Garden Gnome has sold us software that infringes on a patent? I don't get it. Where's Hopki?

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soulbrother
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Re: 360 tour lawsuit

Post by soulbrother » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:23 pm

soulbrother wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:36 pm
Just some thoughts:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5. Is this patent really valid worldwide?

6. @CLeary has mentioned already: So, whats about PTGUI, Hugin, Adobe Photomerge, Apple QuicktimeVR, Panoweaver, Panoramastudio, Panorama Factory, Microsoft ICE, Pano2VR, 3DVista, easypano, krpano and several more.

7. I will not pay for anything, I already had bought and am therefore allowed to use, due to the licence agreement of those tools.
7.a) If these software vendors would infringe any patents, then they must take the responsibility, not the users.
7.b) ...and hopefully that could be an argument that would be legally applicable...? But I am also not a lawyer...

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1uv3
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Re: 360 tour lawsuit

Post by 1uv3 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:28 pm

CLeary wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:02 pm
This could get real messy! So companies like PTGUI and even our beloved Garden Gnome has sold us software that infringes on a patent? I don't get it. Where's Hopki?
Lol, of course I can't say for sure.....I am not entirely clear on how international patent laws work. For all I know, since Pano2vr is not a U.S. company, maybe we are golden :-)
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soulbrother
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Re: 360 tour lawsuit

Post by soulbrother » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:37 pm

Since conspiracy theories are widely used, I also have one ready:
Could it be, that RTV is playing together with these "patent villains" in some way?

Should we check close for some possible business- and entrepreneurial similarities...

woohhhoooo....

;--)))

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1uv3
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Re: 360 tour lawsuit

Post by 1uv3 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:54 pm

soulbrother wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:37 pm
Since conspiracy theories are widely used, I also have one ready:
Could it be, that RTV is playing together with these "patent villains" in some way?

Should we check close for some possible business- and entrepreneurial similarities...

woohhhoooo....

;--)))
The same thing has crossed my mind as well :-) We should all dig in a little more. Even my wife thinks that these guys are just trolling around to strong arm people into paying the fee out of fear of going to trial and costing them thousands of dollars.
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1uv3
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Re: 360 tour lawsuit

Post by 1uv3 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:59 pm

and here is the US patent law for international claim:

"Since the rights granted by a U.S. patent extend only throughout the territory of the United States and have no effect in a foreign country, an inventor who wishes patent protection in other countries must apply for a patent in each of the other countries or in regional patent offices"

It doesn't exist unless the patent holder went to each country and filed for a patent there......so unless these guys had the foresight to file for a patent in Austria then their patent does not apply to us....HOWEVER not sure how that works for us in the U.S.A. that are actually using the software that may be infringing.

This all still seems a little fishy.
Last edited by 1uv3 on Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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iantresman
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Re: 360 tour lawsuit

Post by iantresman » Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:47 pm

The patent looks to be pre-dated (hence not novel) by the following:
  • 1998: Nayar S.K. (1998) Omnidirectional Vision. In: Shirai Y., Hirose S. (eds) Robotics Research. Springer, London
    See also paper dated 1997
    "A camera with a hemispherical field of view is presented. Two such cameras can be placed back-to-back"
    -
  • 1997: "Passive radar target", US Patent No. US4973965A
    "Two such lens-reflectors back-to-back will provide substantially omnidirectional operation [..] replace the Luneberg lens by a single spherical lens"
    Radar microwaves are analogous to light waves, but at just different wavelength. This patent is similar.
    -
  • 1994: "Method and apparatus for simultaneous capture of a spherical image", US Patent No. US6002430A
    "two back-to-back cameras capture first and second hemispherical images, respectively."
It also occurs to me that the camera manufacturers should have all the necessary patents in place.

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Re: 360 tour lawsuit

Post by iantresman » Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:56 pm

I also note that the patent in question summarises that it's novel aspect is in the reformation of the 360-deg image:
The system reforms the hemispherical images associated with the planar images taken by the fisheye lens, using specific laws of projection, corrects the radial and geometrical distortions as well as the color and light distortions and assembles the images into a complete spherical image, which is projected on a cube.
I don't know any 360-deg camera system that uses or requires this technique. This patent is not applicable to the 360-deg market. The only thing that comes close is the projection system from Broomx.

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1uv3
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Re: 360 tour lawsuit

Post by 1uv3 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:28 pm

iantresman wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:47 pm
The patent looks to be pre-dated (hence not novel) by the following:
Yeah it's almost like they simply copied and pasted a bunch of already patented ideas together and by the grace of God the patent office let it slip through the cracks.
This patent is not applicable to the 360-deg market
My wife said something similar so I sent an email to Real Tour Vision and also called and left a message for Jason Lavanture to see if he could shed some light on this.

Who knows......seemed for real after the initial research but the deeper we dig, the more things look a little off.

Feels like one of those stupid Facebook chain letters everyone falls for.
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1uv3
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Re: 360 tour lawsuit

Post by 1uv3 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:03 am

This patent is not applicable to the 360-deg market
Actually....it looks like it does apply. Anyone have a lawyer that can vet this out?

INFRINGEMENT OF U.S. PATENT NO. 6,754,400

6. Tour Technology Software is the owner by assignment of United States Patent
No. 6,754,400 (“the ‘400 Patent”) entitled “System and Method for Creation, Processing
and Visualization of Omni-Directional Images,” as amended and elaborated by Ex
Parte Reexamination Certificate 9844.

7. The ‘400 Patent is the product of a concerted effort to develop a technology
which would work, for example, to enable an individual at a monitor, for example a
monitor of a computer connected to a network such as the Internet, to explore an indoor
or outdoor location by viewing and optionally selecting and/or varying an angular
direction of view and being presented with an image corresponding to an image that
Case 1:19-cv-00245-RJJ-RSK ECF No. 1 filed 10/04/17 PageID.2 Page 2 of 11
would be visible to the individual if the individual were actually at the location and
looking at the scene at the selected and/or varying angular direction of view, for
example a continuously changing angular direction.

8. The object of the technology underlying the ‘400 Patent is thus to enable virtual
viewing and/or exploration of, for example, an indoor or outdoor location (such as an
apartment, home, hotel room, backyard, outdoor attraction or restaurant), in a manner
which will be accepted by the viewer as substantially realistic.

9. The invention of the ‘400 Patent enables such exploration to simulate realistically
the changing images that would be seen by a real person in the actual location as that
real person looks around, turning the head or moving the individual’s eyes, for
example, left and right, and up and down to explore the view.

10. The general idea of simulating a view of reality from different angles was being
discussed and to a limited extent implemented by many individuals and groups before
the invention of the ‘400 Patent was made.

11. Moreover, systems which were generally dealing with various aspects of virtual
reality displays were proposed.

12. However, realistically simulating the appearance of a location as it might be seen
by an individual at the location, as that individual changes his angle of view in the
normal course of looking around, is not merely a matter of presenting images
corresponding to a point of view and angle of observation . Moreover, the problem of
obtaining a realistic presentation is complicated when a series of images corresponds to
a varying angle of observation.
Case 1:19-cv-00245-RJJ-RSK ECF No. 1 filed 10/04/17 PageID.3 Page 3 of 114

13. To the end of improving then existing technologies, Richard Wilson, Jr., who, at
the time of the development of the invention of the ‘400 Patent, operated a business
doing website design for a wide range of different clients through his consulting
business in Queens, New York, began to assemble a team of computer specialists to
attack this problem.

14. Space was rented, people were hired, and work was begun in the United States
and in a programming unit, which Wilson set up in Romania.

15. All of this was funded by Mr. Wilson using his personal resources.

16. Despite numerous difficulties in pursuing this effort, Rusu Florin and Sever
Serban, working for and funded by Wilson from Wilson's personal funds, were
successful in developing and implementing an effective software based technology
useful, for example, for allowing a person at a remote location to connect to a server and
explore a remote space with enhanced realism.

17. Richard Wilson, Jr. then had a patent application directed to the new technology
prepared.

18. The application, entitled “System and Method for Creation, Processing and
Visualization of Omni-Directional Images”, was filed with the United States Patent and
Trademark Office on February 6, 2001.

28. In its decision, the United States Patent and Trademark Office further
determined that claims 3, 7, 10, 11, 13, 15, 19-22, 24-29, 32, 34-37, 39 and 40 which are
dependent on the amended claims were also patentable.

29. Such decision also found new claims 41-75, added to the ‘400 Patent during the
re-examination procedure, also drawn to patentable subject matter. A copy of the 9844th
Ex Parte Reexamination Certificate is annexed hereto as Exhibit B.

------------------------

Here is the complaint in it's entirety
patent-400-infringement.pdf
(161.89 KiB) Downloaded 8 times
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1uv3
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Re: 360 tour lawsuit

Post by 1uv3 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:12 am

Just had a lengthy phone conversation with Jason Lavanture from Real Tour Vision.

The email may not be the real deal, could just be someone attempting to extort individuals for money, however, Tour Technology Systems Inc. is most definitely beginning to wage war on the VR community. Jason's company was just the beginning.

So we possibly have two different things going on here:
  • 1. The email is a scam
  • 2. Tour Technology Inc. is beginning to file lawsuits on both companies and individuals alike.
Regardless if the email is a scam, the lawsuits are not.

For those individuals that are located outside the United States, you are safe.....unless Tour Technology Inc. has filed and been granted a patent in your country.

For those of us in the United States, we are potentially a target for the lawsuit because even though Pano2vr is outside the United States, the tech which is covered by a U.S. patent to create our tours IS BEING USED IN the United States which means that we are in fact infringing on the patent. This was explained to Jason by his attorneys as he was going through this lawsuit.

Jason's attorneys basically told him that every image stitched in the manner for creating a 360 projection and every image that is projected onto a cube face is covered and protected by the patent.......at least enough to warrant the filing of a lawsuit claim.

The problem is that even if you can prove that you are not infringing on the patent you are still out of pocket for all the court and attorney fees....which aren't cheap. Some patent attorneys charge over $1000 an hour....for even a phone call.

Jason also said that Tour Technology Inc. is beginning to contact our clients such as a hotel, or restaurants whom are having to engage their attorneys to find out what is going on.....and who do you think pays for those attorney fees? We do.

Hopefully Tour Technology Inc. doesn't start crawling the VR forums gathering info for their hit list.

To be continued.......
Last edited by 1uv3 on Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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1uv3
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Re: 360 tour lawsuit

Post by 1uv3 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:42 am

Her is something Jason Lavanture just posted:
Hello again everyone! I agree with Jürgen 100%. I suggest that someone back here google the company you get the letter from “Tour Tech. Software, Inc.” and find this link in the SERPS – https://casetext.com/case/tour-tech-sof ... -rtv-inc-1

Using the information provided there reach out to the attorney for the Plaintiff and ask about the validity of the letter. It makes sense that it would continue to amp up however as I talk to more and more photographers this is happening to, the Gmail account and the fact that the company has moved from NY to FL creates suspicion.

Word to the wise – use a burner phone when you call so you don’t put yourself under the spotlight and keep us posted back here! Here to help as much as I can.

Jason
https://ivrpa.org/forums/topic/being-su ... post-23200
Last edited by 1uv3 on Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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CLeary
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Re: 360 tour lawsuit

Post by CLeary » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:48 pm

Thanks for your thorough follow up 1uv3 - amazing detective work. Looks like you'll have a second career once Tour Technologies gets done with you :shock:

I've removed my 360 work from my business website but according to my analytics queries someone or many have been searching for 360 on my website - interesting! I wonder who...

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1uv3
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Re: 360 tour lawsuit

Post by 1uv3 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:40 pm

CLeary wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:48 pm
Thanks for your thorough follow up 1uv3 - amazing detective work. Looks like you'll have a second career once Tour Technologies gets done with you :shock:

I've removed my 360 work from my business website but according to my analytics queries someone or many have been searching for 360 on my website - interesting! I wonder who...
Haha!!! Thanks for the kudos!!

Hey, you should send the ttslicensing@gmail.com guy an email stating that you would like to comply so for him to send over the information so that you can make this right. Then he will send you over the info and we can all look at it to see if it's fake or if it's the real deal. He already had your info so no harm in you asking to take the next step.

What's your thoughts on that?
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1uv3
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Re: 360 tour lawsuit

Post by 1uv3 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:40 am

Ok, so I reached out to the Tour Technology Inc. attorneys and this is what they wrote back....
The letter is legit. As you know, I enforced these patents on multiple occasions and continue to do so, but Mr. Wilson is taking a more active role now. My understanding is that he's looking for relatively modest license fees, so talk to him and work it out. He is a good honest person and usually pretty easy to work with.



Please be in touch if you have any further questions.



Thanks

Tony Handal
So even the letter is the real deal.
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