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Yoga Alliance Statement on YogaGlo Patent Forfeiture

October 31, 2014

UPDATE as of 3:30 p.m. ET:
After we published our statement this morning, which noted that last month YogaGlo filed an amended claim for essentially the same patent they were forfeiting, the company posted an update on its website. The update states they “are not seeking another patent” and ascribes the amended claim to a mistake made by their outside law firm.

We assume this means that despite their announcement on Monday, YogaGlo will no longer focus their efforts on “narrowing (their) protections” and will abandon their attempts to defend the “look and feel” of their classes and treat them as intellectual property.

This is great news for the yoga community and for yoga practitioners everywhere because it means that individuals and organizations are now free to use any system and method of recording a live yoga class without fear of reprisal. To follow through on their commitments, all YogaGlo must do now is file an official disclaimer of its issued patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and officially abandon its pending application.

This is also great news for YogaGlo because they can now focus completely on doing what they do best: Spreading the power of yoga through their unique combination of great yoga teachers, excellent marketing and savvy use of online technology. Thank you YogaGlo!

Posted 9:05 a.m. ET:
When Yoga Alliance® learned last fall that YogaGlo had applied for patents claiming ownership over a particular system of recording online yoga classes in a live classroom setting, we announced our opposition on behalf of the yoga community. We opposed the applications because we didn’t believe the system qualified as an invention that deserved patent protection. Like many others, we considered the idea of recording a live yoga class to be an obvious concept.

So we asked YogaGlo to withdraw their applications. They declined our request despite the 14,000+ online signatures we collected from individuals in the yoga community who also opposed the patent. The U.S. Trademark and Patent Office (USPTO) subsequently approved one of YogaGlo’s applications and granted a patent.

Yoga Alliance’s mission is to spread the power of yoga, one person at a time. Despite this particular dispute, we believe YogaGlo has done excellent work to further that mission by creating a great product that spread the power of yoga to millions of people around the globe. We also have great respect for the excellent yoga teachers who are associated with the company. We simply have a disagreement with YogaGlo over this particular legal issue.

Earlier this week, YogaGlo announced they decided to forfeit the patent. Although we applaud the company for taking the initial step of surrendering their existing patent, we were disappointed that they also declared their intention “to focus (their) efforts on narrowing (their) protections.” We will continue to oppose any effort to seek legal protection for a system of recording online yoga classes because we still believe it is unwarranted.

To defeat YogaGlo’s claims in the patent they have now forfeited, Yoga Alliance had compiled a Citation of Prior Art. This legal document contains examples of similar systems that were claimed in patent applications submitted by other organizations before YogaGlo filed its application, or that were in public circulation at least one year prior to that filing. We believe these examples of prior art would have invalidated YogaGlo’s now-forfeited patent. We are also confident they will help to frustrate the company’s continuing effort to seek another, narrower patent.

YogaGlo knew we had compiled these examples of prior art when they announced their decision to forfeit the original patent.

Last month, they filed a Request for Continued Examination on their other patent application, which was submitted in 2011 but has been rejected by the USPTO. In their Request, YogaGlo amended the claims from the original application by providing details about the width of the corridor between the students in the live yoga classes they record. Apparently, this is what they meant when they announced their plan “to focus our efforts on narrowing our protections.”

In their announcement, YogaGlo claimed they were forfeiting their existing patent in response to concerns “about how broad the patent seems to be and that it may prevent filming in general.” For the record, that has never been Yoga Alliance’s concern. We also believe that statement is disingenuous in light of other facts we need not dwell on here. For now, the record is clear that we have consistently stated we oppose YogaGlo’s effort to secure any patent because their system of recording yoga classes in a live classroom setting is an obvious idea, not an invention that deserves patent protection. Describing the width of the corridor that allows the camera to capture an image of the teacher does not alleviate that concern.

The bottom line is that for the moment YogaGlo no longer has a patent protecting its system of recording online yoga classes, and Yoga Alliance will resist their efforts to pursue one.

It’s also important to stress that Yoga Alliance fully supports intellectual property rights, including valid patents. Patents are designed to encourage innovation by granting inventors legal rights that permit them to protect their original creations. We simply don’t believe the patent YogaGlo seeks does that.

 


Related Articles

YogaGlo Patent Issues Today, But Is It Enforceable? - December 10, 2013
Over the last two months, we have been monitoring YogaGlo’s quest for a patent that would prevent competitors from recording online yoga trainings in a particular classroom setting without paying YogaGlo licensing fees...

An Update on YogaGlo's Patent Application - October 11, 2013
We now have over 13,000 signatures on our online petition urging YogaGlo to withdraw the patent application it filed claiming ownership over a particular “method and apparatus” of recording yoga classes...

Yoga Alliance Statement on the YogaGlo Patent Situation - September 25, 2013
Yoga International announced that it had received a cease-and-desist letter demanding that it discontinue the practice of providing online yoga instruction utilizing a visual recording of a standard yoga classroom set-up...


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