• YogaGlo Update

    Posted on December 19th, 2013 1:00:47 PM YogaGlo 126 comments

    As you may have heard, YogaGlo recently received a patent for one very specific way to create yoga class videos for online streaming. Although we issued a statement containing the facts about this patent a few months ago, many yoga organizations, publications, blogs, teachers and students continue to share false and misleading information about what it all means. The misplaced disdain that has been directed toward us, our teachers, and parts of the yoga community is extremely unfortunate and has created fear within the yoga community.

    It has been difficult for us to watch this situation unfold and we have been concerned by how quickly misinformation has spread across the Internet. We think it is important to set the record straight about a few things. We have incredible teachers at YogaGlo who share their life’s work, positively affecting the lives of students all over the world and it would be irresponsible of us to not protect the platform through which they deliver their teachings. We hope that you will take the time to read this post, which is an attempt by us to provide you with an explanation of what we patented and the reasons for doing so.

    What Is the Patent Protecting?
    The patent covers only one of many ways an online yoga-related company or individual teacher might create a class for online streaming. In fact, several elements need to be present in the same video for a class to be in conflict with our patent. Meaning, for the overwhelming majority of you, the patent will be completely irrelevant.  Only a handful of companies in some of their classes have copied all of the critical elements in our patent.

    The critical elements of the patent include:

    • a line of sight corridor between the rear area of a class and the instructor in the front of the class;
    • an image capturing device located in the rear area with an unobstructed view of the instructor, to provide a participatory view through the line of sight corridor;
    • students in a class, facing the instructor, distributed across the classroom between the instructor position and the image capturing device wherein the students do not block the corridor.

    Again, all of these elements must be present in the same video for our patent to be relevant.

    It would be extremely unlikely that anyone would “accidentally” create a class this way. Many wonderful online yoga-related companies and individual teachers are thriving by offering online yoga classes that are developed in a different way, in their own style. Some people prefer their perspective to ours.

    A Visual Representation of the Critical Patent Elements
    Below are a few visual examples of what our patent protects. Note, there are many other ways companies and teachers can create yoga classes that do not look anything like YogaGlo’s classes:

    Spreading False Statements
    Many organizations and individuals have made and continue to make statements that over-generalize the nature of our patent, and thereby, misinform people about the contents and effect of our patent. These organizations and individuals have made the following false statements:

    • YogaGlo has sued third parties for patent infringement, which is not true. We have not sued any company or individual for infringing our patent and always work towards amicably resolving any disputes.
    • YogaGlo has patented the filming of all yoga classes from the back of the room or having the teacher in the front of the room, which is simply not true. All of the critical elements must be present (such as a line of sight corridor and the placement of the camera giving a participatory view). The majority of videos out there do not infringe. It’s not only about filming from the back of the class – that element alone would not infringe our patent.
    • YogaGlo will now try to shut down any business or individual teacher that films a yoga class, which again is not true. There are many ways to film a class as evidenced by the many videos that currently exist that do not violate our patent.
    • Any yoga teacher who tries to film and stream or post online will infringe this patent, which is not true. Given all of the critical elements that need to be present in a yoga video, it is our opinion that a company would have to knowingly and intentionally structure their classes in such a way to infringe the patent.
    • YogaGlo is attempting to stifle competition by restricting its competitors’ abilities to distribute videos of yoga classes, which is not true. YogaGlo is only trying to protect its own style of videos; we do not intend to enforce the patent unless a third party has used all of the critical elements of the patent.
    • YogaGlo is trying to patent yoga. This is, again, not true. Our patent is only enforceable if all of the critical elements are visually present in a video.
    • That a film or documentary may violate the patent, which is not trueA video containing the critical elements would likely only be appropriate for a yoga video.

    Why We Felt This Patent Was Necessary
    We strongly believe there is a difference between observing a yoga class and feeling as if you are part of a yoga class. Our goal was to create a look and feel throughout the entire user experience that would come as close to replicating an in-studio or in-class feel as possible. After a lot of experimenting (and being told our idea was completely crazy), we settled on a specific format and design that we felt created the in-class experience for at-home users.

    In fact, we were told that our filming perspective would never work, and that people practicing at home would not want to see people’s backs to the camera. Many felt it was strange that we were setting up a stationary camera without capturing several angles simultaneously. Experts suggested multiple cameras, dollies, special lighting, a different treatment of the audio and more, but we didn’t want any of that for the class experience. Ultimately, we decided that filming from this very unique perspective would give YogaGlo members the best possible in-class experience, along with high quality instruction, ultimately making it an inextricable part of our products and services.

    As awareness of our site and class offerings grew, several yoga-related companies asked to meet with us. Several companies offered to buy us, invest, license our technology, or hire YogaGlo to film their classes. When we declined, a few grew unhappy with us. Some of these very same companies are now actively complaining about our patent, calling us bullies, and sharing false information to stoke fear within the yoga community.

    A small portion of the yoga community has commented that to even pursue a patent is “un-yogic.” However, by protecting our company, we are bringing yoga under the basic standards of integrity that apply to businesses, and, in turn, creating more legitimacy for yoga rather than treating it as an outlier. Yoga should be included in the mainstream of our legal system – no special pleading, no extraordinary privileges; just everyone playing by the same rules of integrity. We chose to follow the standard and transparent legal process that exists for companies to protect their services.

    It has been interesting to read comments about how what YogaGlo patented “has been done for years” and that the patent is an “obvious” improvement of existing filming perspectives when it was not obvious to anyone when we started and so many people early on told us that our approach would not succeed.

    Spreading the Fear
    The most troubling comments we have received during the past few months relate to the overwhelming hate that a subset of the yoga community has unleashed upon our teachers. If you disagree with our approach in this patent matter it is worth discussion and welcomed, but disagreeing with us should not equal swearing, making disparaging comments and threats of violence.

    A lot of this type of behavior has stemmed from organizations and publications that have used incendiary and false statements to create a frenzy.

    For example:

    • Richard Karpel, President of Yoga Alliance, stated in September: “YogaGlo’s patent application can serve only one purpose: To manipulate the legal system in order to suppress competition by bullying other online yoga-instruction businesses and individual yoga teachers into submission when they use a similar method of recording and presenting online classes.” In October, Mr. Karpel said, “This is an important policy issue for Yoga Alliance. If YogaGlo receives this patent, it could prevent other yoga instructors — including the yoga teachers and schools that are members of our organization — from distributing video recordings of yoga classes in a format they desire without first paying a licensing fee to YogaGlo.” Last week, Yoga International interviewed Mr. Karpel and noted: “At this time, Karpel doesn’t see huge implications for the community in general.” In our opinion, Mr. Karpel has significantly modified the tone of his statements.  By commenting on our patent with the most inflammatory language first, only to soften that language over time, Mr. Karpel’s initial statements caused a frenzy within the yoga community. Ultimately, if Yoga Alliance “doesn’t see huge implications for the yoga community,” it is unclear why it has spent so much time commenting on the topic.
    • Further, Richard Karpel, President of Yoga Alliance stated: “Yoga Alliance is committed to representing the yoga community’s interests in this matter by resisting YogaGlo’s intention to restrict its competitors’ ability to distribute video images of live yoga classes.” The use of the phrase “distribute video images of live yoga classes” is an over generalization. As we’ve outlined above, our patent addresses a specific way to create a yoga class and cannot possibly cover all “video images of live yoga classes,” nor was that our intention. In our opinion, this phrase is misleading and was designed to create fear among the Yoga Alliance members. Unfortunately, it has led to many quoting this false statement in social media.
    • In addition, Richard Karpel, President of Yoga Alliance, stated: “The YogaGlo patent affects everyone and 99.9 percent of the yoga community is opposed to this patent.” As we’ve outlined above, instead of affecting “everyone” this patent only applies to a select few who we believe have intentionally copied our videos. To state that 99.9 percent of the yoga community is opposed to our patent is not only misleading, it is false.  In our opinion, these inaccurate and overly broad generalizations, especially when being done in the name of protecting yoga teachers, is irresponsible.
    • Yoga International has issued several misleading statements including the most recent one issued on December 11th that makes it appear as if YogaGlo required Yoga International to take down yoga classes. When we spoke with Yoga International in early September, we identified a small number of videos that we felt were very close to ours. Although we sent Yoga International a letter advising of our patent and requesting a conversation, we never asked that it immediately take down any of these videos.  In fact, during a prior conversation with Yoga International, we said that if the patent were to issue, Yoga International could keep the videos on its website until it had a chance to re-film the classes using a different style.  It’s misleading to issue a statement that suggests YogaGlo forced Yoga International to take down these classes when our last communication was to try and amicably resolve our concerns.
    • An article was published with the title “YogaGlo Sues Mom & Pops” which was later changed to “YogaGlo Now You Can Go” only after it had been widely shared in social media, without acknowledging the misstatement or issuance of a retraction.  As stated above, YogaGlo has not filed a lawsuit against anyone for infringing this patent.

    While we will not share the long list of published misinformation about YogaGlo or the patent, we did want to share a few examples of comments that we felt were primarily made to stoke fear within the community. We encourage anyone concerned with this issue to carefully re-read the past statements about this and note the possible motives and rhetoric being used to create confusion and doubt where statements of fact could have allowed for an honest dialogue.

    Moving Forward
    It is our hope in moving forward that this incident will help to create a clear understanding rather than serve as fuel for confusion.

    Everyday we receive comments of how YogaGlo is touching and changing lives across the world. Our team does not take these messages for granted. They encourage and inspire us. Providing and protecting our service has been difficult at times but it is done with absolute integrity, with the goal of ensuring safe, quality yoga for everyone. We are grateful to all our YogaGlo members and the yoga community that have been supportive of our teachers and us.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. We hope it helps you understand our perspective and intentions.

    Derik Mills


    126 responses to “YogaGlo Update” RSS icon

    • This is a classic case study in how to destroy your business. Your pathetic bleatings trying to defend the indefensible only make it worse. This is not a patentable idea. It’s an entirely natural way to film an instruction class- not necessarliy just yoga- and will have been done countless times this way before your absurd patent application. I think you have allowed weasel lawyers to lead you into PR disaster and I suspect and hope that at some point in the coming year, you will be brought to your senses, either by falling subscribers and/or a successful challenge against this hugely anti competitive measure.

    • I am disgusted by your greed and arrogance.

    • Jodi McLaughlin

      I am a lawyer and think this is disgusting. Unsubscribed.

    • I agree with Gillian too.

    • While I do like the set up of the classes, that is not what brings me back to Yogaglo time and again. It is the quality of the teachers. If you were to take away your teachers (for me specifically Kathryn Budig, Dice Ida Klein and Noah Maze), I believe Yogaglo would have a difficult time staying in business. From my perspective, the focus should be less about the angle of the camera and more about being grateful for quality instructors that make Yogaglo what it is. People can make or break an organization.

    • 105 comments so far, only one is positive. Have a long hard think about that! A dumb idea will always be a dumb idea no matter how you spin it. I’m sure you are beginning to have regrets. It’s not too late to fix this mess you made.

    • Mainly Missouri

      YogaGlo’s lawyers have also made it unnecessarily tough for a variety of companies to register a trademark that contains the word “Glo” in it, even when they are not even remotely related to the yoga business. YogaGlo has filed several requests to delay those trademark registrations, despite the fact that YogaGlo has no right to challenge the trademarks’ validity. This is a dirty company.

    • Caroline Haydon

      The problem is not others, it is your patent. It is difficult to see how the integrity of any business could be improved by issuing a patent which is palpable nonsense. If you set up a camera ( sorry image c apturing device) you would indeed like it to have a line of sight to the teacher. You would like an unobstructed view, that’s rather the point of filming the teacher. To try and specify an arrangement of an unknown number of people and a teacher flies in the face of common sense and should be unpatentable. I believe in the UK, where this I am sure will be received with incomprehension when it becomes known, this would not be allowed a patent. You are not protecting your teachers but tarring them with the brush of unethical behaviour – yours. It is very kind of you to allow Yoga International time to re-film – why should they? You have been very ill advised by lawyers or those to whom you have turned for advice and you threaten your own business. 99 per cent of yoga practitioners may not object but the majority on this thread of more than 100 certainly do, 14,000 plus have signed a petition at Care2 against this, and word spreads. I have really enjoyed your site, but because of the teachers and ease of use of site, not the camera angle on the classes. Many have been single shot classes. I find it grates rather to hear words about ‘setting intentions” and ‘ honouring yourself’ from a website capable of this sort of behaviour, so I have discontinued my membership and will find another online service. Very sad, but this sort of anti-competitive behaviour shouldn’t be rewarded or encouraged in any community.

    • Derek, you are very lucky this is the Yoga industry. If this was any technical industry related to e-learning or any other thousands of video content delivery fields out there, they would laugh at this patent and add it to the ever growing list of what is wrong with America and society as a whole. The problem is the Yoga industry is generally considered to be more forgiving for these kinds of mistakes – if you fess up about it early and let the community weigh in to drive the future. This isn’t about a small subset of users who are vocal about this decision. It’s about a blatant attempt to expose the truth about what it all boils down to – money. Try and put that head to head against what Yoga is supposed to stand for, and you end up with a result that is literally as anti-Yoga as it gets. You leaked the truth too early. Better luck next time.

    • You should not have sought a patent. You should not have been granted a patent. You should not seek to enforce that patent. 2 of these are on you. 1 can still be corrected. Do what is right.

    • Today I was shocked when I read that. This is a ridiculous patent. I am with Yogaglo due the excellent teacher and with my favorite style – Iyengar Yoga. Now I think about to cancel my subscription.

    • There is nothing unique or innovative about your classroom set up; there was no reason to patent it other than to troll your competition. I hope your students leave in droves until you come to your senses and abandon your patent. You should not have been granted a patent on this.

      Are you a patent company or a yoga company? To quote Agent Smith, “One of these identities has a future. The other does not.”

    • Your company appears entirely blind to the reality that the profit motive (and need to control and exclude other companies from filming in a particular way) implied by your patent is fundamentally in conflict with the spirit of yoga. Your attempt to rationalize you decision is beyond absurd. You really should be ashamed of yourselves.

    • I am kind of amazed you would put out so much effort defending your patent. Call it what it is, an action motivated by greed. your website is a business, and an extremely profitable one at that, I imagine, and you do not want others to make a profit off your idea. Even if that could possibly mean that other awesome yoga teachers could teach to the masses,too, because your model is a good one, your businesss doesn’t want that to happen. It is greed, pure and simple. At least have the dignity to own it.

    • I just want to say that what yogaglo has achieved deserves credit. I have taken videos and online classes in the past that never worked as well as what yogaglo has created. I am also a technology entrepreneur who understands how quickly the inventions of others are absorbed into a community who end up copying it, perhaps unwittingly, but merely because they have been shown

      Now this is not yogic, that’s true. But so it copying it, absorbing the invention without a nod to the creator, and going blithely on your way. After all what do the other companies seek except to create exactly what yogaglo has done? So their motivations are not so pure really either.

      Now the horse has left the barn and there will be little yogaglo can do to stop copiers. Just like Apple, there will be copies. (And they won’t be as beautiful, but people will buy them anyway). So the only thing to do is to continue to innovate and to stay ahead of the pack, in this case in the arena of presenting online yoga. To do that yogaglo needs to provide a safe and stable home for its instructors. And to have enough profit to keep the company future in tact.

      So I would say, honor what this company created. I rely upon it everyday. And I want to see them stay ahead of the curve and do even better. I don’t think the world will benefit from a lot of people who want to borrow their innovation and perspective for their own purposes without giving credit, and in business credit means remuneration. Stealing is also unyogic. Worse to take without pay, without credit is parasitic. It also discourages innovation. So everyone go out and innovate. Copying is easy. Inventing is hard.

    • Derik, I believe in what you have started with this venture and I have hopped in a few classes in SM and in the comfort of my home with my subscription. I think that trying to make this a sustainable source of income to help keep these quality instructors and videos is all well and good, and I understand the patent as a “branding” move, but if cease and desists or lawsuits begin my membership ends. I am hopeful that won’t come for both of us. Keep up the quality work, I am thankful for it thus far.

    • I am a new subscriber and a lawyer, and this does not pass the smell test.

      Please reconsider.

    • This is so stupid. Why would you bother. It makes me think about cancelling my subscription, which is a shame because I love the classes. It seems totally against the yogic philosophy to own a way of doing something. It’s never to late to rescind it. I truly hope you do. There is no shame in making a mistake. We learn from them. Please stop this ridiculousness.

    • It is so hard in this corporate driven world to get a breath of fresh of air. One can barely get out from under corporations in America. Yoga in America is generally a fashion show and is absolute prey to capitalism. And now YogaGlo succumbs to the corporate model. This is a totally ridiculous and unnecessary patent. I LOVE the teachers on YogaGlo. I’ve been practicing with this site for 3 years about and I have loved loved loved it. I have even taken classes on other sites but would never have canceled YogaGlo DUE TO THE TEACHERS on the site being so great. (Seriously, you guys are awesome) Not the camera angle. I would love to meet all of them in person and take one of their classes. But instead of taking the occasional class on another site, it feels like I kind of just want to cancel my subscription and go somewhere else. Don’t be a douche bag, Mr. CEO. Please, rescue some of your dignity.

    • This is dissapointing. Pathetic. Greedy. I don’t care if you are a yoga provider or a widgets manufacturer, have the courage to compete and offer a quality product. Hiding behind patents in such a ridiculous way reveals this company’s lacking of even a shred of integrity.

    • Derik, I believe in YogaGlo and have referred many many friends, colleagues and patients. What brings me is the quality of teacher, not the line of sight. Wanting to help the teachers and making this sustainable is laudable. Doing it in this way is not. Keeping the quality is what will keep me and others coming, and keep you afloat. I subscribe to other sites that use the same approach with the same three “critical” (some may say obvious) elements who were likely doing it before or as long as you. (I hesitate to name names because I fear for them.)

      I will keep following. If I read of lawsuits or “cease and desists”, the right thing for me will be to look for another site and discontinue membership and recommendations. I will keep this situation in my morning meditation. Please consider this and turn the situation around. The universe is infinitely creative and there is a better possibility to achieve what you are longing for. I wish you well. Namaste, Nancy

    • Just a question.
      If I film a Yoga class, and want as well the teacher to be seen in the film it needs a place to locate the Cam and an aisle in the middle to film.
      Traditional student faces the teacher in a Yoga Class.
      There are allready hundrets of youtubes like this.
      I think this patent is absurd.
      To me it appears as a greed for money of licenses with something patented that never shoul get a patent.
      The way you are acting with this patent to me doesent appear as Yoga Style.

    • Austin Ritter

      : (

    • Now the word of your patent has also reached me. I feel so dissapointed and I don’t understand your way of justifying it. I feel sad to have to leave Yogaglo, because of your good teachers! I hope you withdraw your patent soon, this business really makes me angry. Love and peace to you all!

    • Don Baumgarten

      In the end it is a business. The teachers are amazing here. Focus on the teachers. People are you really sooo mad you would leave this yoga website… Sorry but the teachers make me stay vs having a rite ou sego to leave!

    • The idea that a patent “protects” is false. I work for a company that is heavy invested in its IP and have written several patent applications myself. Patents have only one use, and that is to block a competitor from using (i.e. making money from) an invention or innovation created by the patent inventors. As we say at work, a patent is a “sword” not a “shield”. These facts make the above statements about protecting YogaGlo and its teachers through a patent appear disingenuous. Cease and desist letters can be countered by another companies lawyers making assessments that the YogaGlo patent is part of the “prior art” and therefore invalid. I think however, most yoga companies/studios would be too intimidated to stick up for themselves in this way, which really means that YogaGlo is just being a bully. In any case the only way that YogaGlo could stop a competitor is to sue them because it is the only way to determine if a patent is really valid and not part of the “prior art”. I think it is unlikely that YogaGlo would do this because the outcry from the yoga community would be even greater than it already is, and because there is ample evidence that their method of filming has been used for yoga classes before.

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