Amazon Granted Patent For 'Photography Against White Background'

29 May 2014

Amazon recently patented an idea that could change the landscape of photography as we know it today.

The world’s largest online retailer came up with an unprecedented technical innovation that has never been attempted before … taking a photograph of an object against a white backdrop.

Well, not really, but you can re-read that last bit all you want, this isn’t a hoax. The wise old folks at the US Patent and Trademark Office saw it fit to grant Amazon a patent for a standard technique that’s used everywhere from fashion photography to product shots and stock photos.

Why Amazon filed for the patent in the first place is a bit of a mystery – they’re not doing a very good job of convincing anyone that a technique that’s been used and abused is something they suddenly came up with, nor is it likely that they’re going to start demanding pay from unsuspecting instagrammers taking selfies in front of freshly whitewashed walls (we hope).

Amazon may have filed the ridiculous patent to make sure that no one else’s photos, no matter how similar, looked 100 per cent identical to their own or maybe like so many other massive corporations perpetually filing for patents in the hope that one of them sticks, they just got lucky. After all, why teach a man to fish when you can patent fishing and just eat everyone’s fish?

The move has understandably infuriated photographers and enthusiasts who have expressed their feelings and anger online through a petition on which asks the US Patent and Trademark Office to take back Amazons patent right to photography against a white backdrop and more importantly to “stop handing out patents to corporate trolls” – a humble request, I think, we can all agree with.

Over 25000 people have already signed the petition, which you can sign here.

Words: Diya Gupta



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