Patents and yoga???

This week, I read something I found shocking.

Yogaglo took out patent 20120162419 for streaming online yoga classes. Part of the patent is:

  • a studio having a front area and a rear area;
  • an instructor position located in the front area and facing the rear area;
  • an image capturing device for capturing video located in the rear area and disposed to capture an image of the instructor in the instructor position;
  • a line of sight corridor disposed between the image capturing device and the instructor;
That layout is consistent with most classrooms, churches, etc, and in fact duplicates most distance learning set ups and multi-site churches who video services so it seems ridiculous to patent it, but it gets worse. Yogaglo then sent a cease and desist letter to other organizations who have online videos for yoga classes.

For those of us studying yoga, it is about more than the workouts and poses done in classes. It violates the code of ethics in the Yoga Sutras which includes ahimsa (non-harming) and aparigraha (non-greed). It even violates asteya (non-stealing) because it is taking ownership of something that doesn't belong to them...the format and video sharing of group classes.

As a "yogi with a day job" in marketing, I understand intellectual property.  I also understand that companies often operate in a vacuum and that they don't know how they are perceived in the marketplace unless customers tell them. If you practice yoga and find this action disturbing, then let the company know by sending feedback on their website or commenting on their facebook page.

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Maira Gall