Amazon has just been granted a patent on the method for using:
- A white seamless background
- An elevated platform
- Rear-facing lights
...in order to make the entire background and platform disappear without the use of green-screen techniques.
That's a fine approach, but it certainly does not look patent-worthy to me. If we can find examples of this technique being used before November 2011 ("prior art"), then we can help invalidate the patent, and possibly prevent photographers from being sued.
I have various links regarding the patent:
- A lay summary: http://www.photographybay.com/2014/05/05/amazon-patents-studio-photography-on-seamless-white-background/
- On Google: http://google.com/patents/US8676045
- On the USPTO: http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?Docid=08676045&idkey=NONE
- On the Patents Stack Exchange: http://patents.stackexchange.com/questions/6543/how-can-amazon-claim-to-have-invented-an-then-ask-for-a-patent-on-a-standard-us. The USPTO is using this Stack Exchange to help find prior art for bad patents.
I think this issue is worth the attention of the Photo Stack Exchange community.